National Corndog Day……yes, it does exist.
According to the National Corndog Day website, “National Corndog Day coincides with the Saturday of the final 32 teams in NCAA basketball tournament (this year it’s March 20th).” True, I can’t say that I am an avid college basketball fan but I am a huge supporter of any themed “food” day. So, in honor of this esteemed event, we made corndogs. 🙂
Ironically, I typically don’t enjoy corndogs—except for the ones served at Disneyland…mmm, those are amazing. Usually the batters are either too thick or don’t have enough flavor to them. But some time ago I came across an episode of Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” where he had such an interesting take on the corndog batter. And this particular holiday was the perfect reason to give Alton’s version a try.
We also decided to step up our game by making a homemade ketchup (or is it catsup?). It’s so easy to make without using any preservatives that I wonder why more people don’t do it. Plus, you can add just about anything to make a kicked-up ketchup……peppers, horseradish, curry powder, etc.
As for the corndogs…..wow, they were amazing. The batter had the perfect level of crispiness and was still crunchy 20-30 minutes after being fried. The textures that the canned corn and jalapenos gave were fantastic—which helped the batter to not be too thick or “doughy”. Alton used chopsticks to spear the hotdogs but I ended up using a few sturdy wooden coffee stirrers—courtesy of my local chained coffee shop 🙂 My one warning if you do decide to give this recipe a try (and I truly hope you will) is to be EXTREMELY careful when dropping the corndogs into the hot grease. Due to the whole corn kernels in the batter, the oil was popping like crazy! Definitely proceed with caution and wear a long sleeve shirt in case you get a little residual splatter. Lastly, when you drop the hot dogs in the oil, try and hold it in the grease with a pair of tongs for a little while before letting them go. If you don’t, the hotdogs will settle on the bottom of your pot and the batter will stick to the pot and not your hotdog. It happened to me and it was No Bueno.
These little bad boys will become a regular in mi casa for game days, movie nights—and any other time I can find an excuse to make them. You can probably cut the hotdogs in half, too, should you choose to make mini-corndogs.
So to you my friends, HAPPY NATIONAL CORNDOG DAY!!!
From Alton Brown
1 Gallon Peanut Oil (I used 1 quart of canola oil)
1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 (8.5-ounce) Can Cream-style Corn
1/3 Cup Finely Grated Onion
1½ Cups Buttermilk
4 Tablespoons Cornstarch, for dredging
8 Beef Hot Dogs (I used Hebrew National)
Pour oil into a deep fryer or large heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the jalapeno, corn, onion, and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once, and stir only enough times to bring the batter together; there should be lumps. Set batter aside and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Scatter the cornstarch into a dry pie pan. Roll each hot dog in the cornstarch and tap well to remove any excess.
Transfer enough batter to almost fill a large drinking glass. Refill the glass as needed. Place each hot dog on chopsticks, and quickly dip in and out of the batter. Immediately and carefully place each hot dog into the oil, and cook until coating is golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. With tongs, remove to cooling rack, and allow to drain for 3 to 5 minutes.
6 Ounces Tomato Paste
2-3 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar (to taste)
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Water
1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small food processor, combine all ingredients until well incorporate. Refrigerate ketchup for 30 minutes before serving.
Note: For this particular batch, I added 1 teaspoon of prepared horseradish.