With the approach of July 4th, I thought it would be fun to make my own homemade hot dogs. I had a recipe and instructions to loosely follow, available time since it was raining outside and my mother-in-law as my assistant. I read the instructions, took stock of the spices on hand and then went to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients needed.
- ¾ Pounds of Ground Pork
- ½ Pound of Ground Chuck (Beef)
- ¼ Pound of Pork Fat
- 2 Teaspoon of Ground Paprika
- 1 ½ Teaspoon of Salt
- 1 Teaspoon of Dry Mustard
- 1 Teaspoon of Minced Garlic
- ½ Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
- ½ Teaspoon of Ground Coriander
- ½ Teaspoon of Ground Mace
- ¼ Teaspoon of Ground Cardamon
- ¼ Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon of Light Corn Syrup
- Collagen or Sheep Casings
Prior to bringing any of the ingredients together, I chilled the meat in the freezer for an hour. In ¼ pound batches with the food processor I ground the Pork Fat, Ground Pork and Ground Chuck into a fine paste (15 – 20 seconds). Once all the meats have been ground smooth I thoroughly mixed them together. If you need to add an ice cube or two to bring the meat to a paste then add the ice cubes to the food processor.
In a separate bowl, add all of the dry ingredients including the minced garlic and mix together.
Separate the finely ground meat into three equal portions and add one portion back to the food processor. Top the ground meat with a third of the spice mixture and third of the light corn syrup and operate the food processor for 10 seconds. With a spatula fold the ground meat and mixture into itself and run the food processor for another 10 seconds. Remove the combined ground meat and spice mixture into a separate bowl and repeat these steps for the remaining two portions.
Once all of the ingredients have been brought together, cover the bowl and allow the hot dog mixture to chill for 2 to 4 hours. The mixture must be thoroughly chilled because the mixture is more a paste than ground meat making the stuffing of the casings much more difficult.
You are then ready to use your sausage stuffer to make the homemade hotdogs. For this attempt, I used 21mm (small diameter) collagen casings. My thought was to peel off the casing once the hotdogs had been initially cooked.
Once the casings have been stuffed then you are ready to cook the hotdogs. Although everything that I read said to boil to hot dog links in salted 180 degree water for 20 minutes, I thought I knew better. My concern was that I was using collagen versus natural casings and afraid that the collagen would dissolve in the water prior to the meat setting. In addition to this, because this was my first attempt in using collagen casings, I ran long lengths instead of the customary six inch links. Boiling eighteen to twenty-four inch links seemed a little difficult.
After the hotdogs steamed for 15 minutes, they were removed from the steamer and allowed to cool. Once cooled, the casings were removed.
I pan fried two of the links and ate them with ketchup and mustard. The homemade hotdogs had the flavor one expects from commercially produced hotdogs, but because I steamed them, the fat that been thoroughly mixed with the finely ground meat had rendered out of the casing making the hot dog dry. The texture of the meat was good, and I think that if I had used natural casings and boiled the hot dogs I would have been more successful. It was a fun experiment and worthy of another attempt.
Regardless, I will be bringing these homemade hot dogs to the July 4th Pool Party that I have been invited. I am sure that there will be none remaining at the end of the party.
The recipe and instructions that I loosely followed were from Bruce Aidells’ Complete Sausage Book.