Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Corny Dog Recipe of the State Fair of Texas

On our recent visit to Dallas we had the opportunity to spend some time at the State Fair of Texas.  We were staying with our much loved aunt and uncle who made the suggestion and thought we might like the experience.  They seemed excited so we caught the bug and went with them for a day at the fair.

The Texas Star
The Fair is held at the Fair Park in Dallas next to the Cotton Bowl Stadium.  Beginning the last Friday of September each year, the Fair extends for another 24 days.  One of the favorite attractions is Big Tex, a 55 foot talking statue that has been an icon for the Fair since 1952.  While possibly not as iconic individually but definitely so as a food group are the State Fair of Texas fried foods.  Each year releases additional foods that have gone through the fryer and into the hall of fame adding the theoretical feet (not just inches) to the hips of State Fair attendees.

The competition to offer the most creative or best tasting new food item brings out some interesting cuisine.  And yes, we did our part in taste testing and adding to our own hips.  Here are some of the recent years Award winners at the Fair.

2013 Most Creative
Fried Thanksgiving Dinner
2013 Best Taste
Deep-Fried Cuban Roll
2012 Most Creative
Deep Fried Jambalaya
2012 Best Taste
Fried Bacon Cinnamon Roll
2011 Most Creative
Fried Bubblegum
2011 Best Taste
Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack
2010 Most Creative
Fried Beer™
2010 Best Taste
Texas Fried FRITOS® Pie
2009 Most Creative
Deep Fried Butter
2009 Best Taste
Fernie's Deep Fried Peaches & Cream
2008 Most Creative
Fried Banana Split
2008 Best Taste
Chicken Fried Bacon
2007 Most Creative
Deep Fried Latte
2007 Best Taste
Texas Fried Cookie Dough
2006 Most Creative
Fried Coke
2006 Best Taste
Fried Praline Perfection
2005 Most Creative
Viva Las Vegas Fried Ice Cream
2005 Best Taste
Fried PB, Jelly and Banana Sandwich

I really liked the Chicken Fried Bacon.  I love bacon and frying it in a chicken batter may sound weird and nasty to some … not to me!   Loved, loved, and loved the Chicken Fried Bacon.

Chicken Fried Bacon !!!
The undisputed leader of the fried food pack and the most sought after item at the Fair is the Corny Dog.  When my aunt first mentioned it I just thought she had an odd form of saying corn dog and thought nothing of it.  That is until we got in the long line at the Corny Dog concession stand.  It’s what Texans call it all the time apparently.  Not surprising though when you find out that the Corny Dog has been a much beloved staple of the State Fair since 1942 making it a possible birthplace of the American Corn(y) Dog!  Don’t you love being part of history?

In 1942, Dallas native Neil Fletcher set up shop with his corny dog recipe and began a Texan tradition.  The recipe is considered top-secret but there are several that are considered close to the original.  Following is the best advice that I can offer.

The Corny Dog Recipe

Batter Ingredients
1 cup Yellow cornmeal (do not use stone-ground!)*
1 cup All-purpose Flour
4 tsp Baking Soda
¼ cup Sugar
¾ tsp Salt
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
½ - 1 cup Water
Pinch of cayenne pepper**

*Do not use a course ground cornmeal or your corny dog will feel like sandpaper on your tongue.
**Some say this is included in the original but while I may like that extra kick I don’t think it’s in the Fletcher Corny Dog.

Other items you will need
8 Hot dogs***
Peanut oil for frying
8 Wooden skewers or Popsicle sticks
Quart jar
Fryer, cast iron skillet or a Dutch oven

***Just because you will add a batter and fry does not mean to skimp on the quality of the hot dog.  Using a low quality hot dog will make your corny dog taste cheap.  Be sure to use a high quality stiff dog that won’t fall over when you hold it up.

Run a wooden skewer through the middle of each hot dog leaving at least two to three inches of skewer at the bottom to hold it.  Place these aside for now.

Hold your water for last.  Place the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Add the water a little at a time and mix thoroughly until it is a little denser than pancake batter.  Do not over mix the batter or the corny dog will end up too rubbery.  Pour the finished batter into a quart jar for easy dipping of the hot dog.

Let’s start with the idea that you want a perfect golden brown corny dog.  Now heat your oil to 365°F.  If you are deep frying then you’ll be doing it the way the Fletchers do at the State Fair.  If you don’t have a fryer and are using a cast iron skillet then be sure to flip it as it turns golden on one side.  You will need about three inches of oil and fry it for about three or so minutes per side.  Remove corny dog with tongs allowing it to drain spare oil.  Let cool on paper towels and serve hot.

The finished Corny dog is ready to eat.

Happy Texans eating their Corny Dog with mustard.
Ketchup just won’t do on a corny dog but if you’re less than 18 it is hesitantly accepted.  Yellow mustard is the only way a true Texan will eat their corny dog.

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