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?