Saturday, September 18, 2010

Corn Dogs - It's Fair Food Time

The Tennessee Valley Fair winds down tomorrow but there is one last night of lights on the midway, screams rushing by on rides, and the smell of fair foods.

In her article about fair foods last week, KnoxNews Food Writer, Mary Constantine said, "A dip dog was high on my list. After all, what's the sense in visiting the fair if you aren't going to sample the ultimate carnival food?"

I couldn't agree more with Mary. The corn dog (called dip dogs in East TN) is the king of fair foods. So after Trevor's 2 1/2 hour football practice this morning, I whipped up our favorite corn dogs for lunch. That was one hungry and happy boy.

There are a million and one corn dog recipes out there. The thing that seems to separate this from most is the use of yellow mustard (instead of dry mustard) in the batter. Don't worry if the batter looks a little too yellow, it will cook out fine.

Mini corn dogs
Mini Corn Dogs
Source: batter based on a recipe in my Try Soon queue that had no source info :(
Makes 16 mini corn dogs

Batter Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika (I used my homemade paprika)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1 egg
2 tsp vegetable oil

8 beef hot dogs, cut in half
16 bamboo skewers

Mix the dry batter ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in the liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly, then allow to sit for a few minutes.

TIP: The reason for cutting the hot dogs in half is so they will fit better in most home deep fryers or a pot. It just makes them more manageable.

TIP: If you only have 10 or 12" bamboo skewers, don't hurt your kitchen shears trying to cut them to size. Pruning shears work like magic.

Preheat a deep fryer or dutch oven with 2" deep of oil to 375f.

TIP: Make sure you wipe the dogs dry before dipping them. This will minimize those eruptions in the crust where it breaks open during frying.

TIP: It's easiest to dip the dogs in something tall and narrow. A pilsner glass is perfect for this.

Dip the dogs and twirl for a few seconds to let the excess batter slide off.Place gently into the hot oil and allow to fry for 2 minutes for a texture that is golden brown and a little soft or 3 minutes for a darker and crispier crust. It's a preference thing.

mini corn dogs
While yellow mustard is traditional for corn dogs, I had mine with Blues Hog Honey Mustard BBQ sauce which was excellent. I want to try the batter using the Blues Hog the next time just to see how it does.

So what is your favorite carnival, festival or fair food?


  1. I love a good corn dog...and this batter looks absolutely PERFECT! Wish I had one now =)

  2. Yummy! And all this time I thought corn dogs only came from fairs or from a box ;-)
    My favorite fair/carnival food has to be funnel cakes. I've tried to make them at home but it was such a huge mess that I decided that's just one of those things we have to crave until a fair or carnival comes along!

  3. Oh man. Homemade corn dogs. I didn't know such a thing existed. It is probably a very good thing that I don't have a deep fryer. Very good for my waistline that is. And my thighs.

  4. In west Michigan these are call Proto Pups. They are wonderful and people line up for them. I always knew they should be simple but now I know just how simple. Thanks and they looks very tasty.

  5. Love the corn dogs but I have to say funnel cakes are my favorite fair food... maybe not exactly food but still my favorite. Thanks for the tip on halfing the dogs! I have an electric turkey fryer and the corn dogs fit but what an ordeal to fill that big boy. The small fryer is a lot less work and oil.

  6. so you cut the hot dogs in half...because it makes them more manageable. Yeah. That is just too rife with innuendo. I'm not even gonna go there.

    Can you believe I've NEVER had a corn dog? Too true. Do you think I could make them with sausage instead of hot dogs. I actually...don't eat hot dogs.

  7. Honestly...corn dogs are a favorite. Too bad they are so bad for you! They are the best naughty treat when it comes to fair food. We gotta try this soon!

  8. YUM Fair food - some of the best experimental food I've ever tried started at the fair. Last year there was this amazing recipe with krispy kremes and chicken that I'm trying to replicate.

  9. My favorite fair food - CORN DOGS!! Loved how you prepared these and the tips you shared (cutting the dogs in half, using the long glass for battering, and saving my kitchen shears). There will be corn dogs in my future!

  10. Yum, I really want to make these, but mostly I want to eat them!

  11. Your corn dogs look great and they're definitely the best fair food. Way to go with making them yourself!

  12. The town where I grew up in Kansas hosted the Kansas State Fair and you bet I had my share of delicious Corn Dogs when I was growing up. Love them. Thanks so much for this recipe and the "hints" to make things go smoothly. Gotta make these since I haven't had a corn dog in over 20 years. I'm assuming the 1/3 C. sugar will sweeten things up like I remember? Great post Chris.

  13. By the way, this would make a great Tailgating Time link up!

  14. I love me some corn dogs! Too bad no one else in my family does - it means I'm deprived or have to eat them all myself! I always go for the funnel cakes or zeppole.

  15. I love, love, love corn dogs but rarely eat them. Yours look perfecto!!!

  16. I can smell the hot greasy/sugary air from here. State Fair hater here.

  17. I was glad to see you used the pilsner glass for dipping the looked like an awful drink :D

    Corn dogs are perfect for tailgating!

  18. Love the tip of using the pilsner glass. It is the perfect shape so that you do not need a ton of batter.

  19. What a fun idea - and the dipping method is genius! My guys would be so happy to see corn dogs around here.

    I don't usually eat fair food with the exception of those gimongus smoked turkey legs (who can resist that?)

  20. Hello! I just found you by Googling "dip dog east Tennessee". My husband looked at me funny a few years ago when I told him in East Tennessee we called corn dogs "dip dogs". It's good to be back in Tennessee and the land of dip dogs!

    You have a great blog!


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.