Corn dogs

Which came first, the (hush) puppy or the (corn) dog? It’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation that has lots of folklore-fuelled beginnings around the very early 20th century and is almost certainly apropos of African-American cooks of the Deep South. At any rate, the lil’ puppies found a friend in a frankfurter and the two have been inseparable ever since. A fairground favourite in the States, the corn dog consists of a hot dog speared on a stick, dipped in a thick cornmeal batter and fried until golden with a signature fluffy interior beneath its crisp jacket. In Australia they call these Dagwood Dogs (or Dippy Dogs), where they dip the whole thing post-fryer into ketchup, rather than the more popular Stateside serve of an alternating two-tone drizzle of ketchup and yellow mustard. A note on cornflour vs: cornstarch: in the UK, cornflour refers to the thickening agent that’s called cornstarch in the US.

Makes 6 large or 12 small

sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
120g fine cornmeal
80g plain flour
1 large egg
175ml buttermilk
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp caster sugar
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground white pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)
¼ tsp baking soda
6–8 large skinny frankfurter-style sausages and 6–8 skewers
a small dish of cornflour (cornstarch), to coat
yellow mustard


Heat the oil in your deep-fryer to 180°C.

Prepare your batter by adding the cornmeal, flour, egg, buttermilk, salt, sugar, paprika, white pepper, garlic powder (if using) and baking soda into a mixing bowl and whisking vigorously to combine, then transfer to a tall glass, measuring jug or big NutriBullet beaker, any of which provide the height that enables enviably easy dippage to completely coat the dogs.

Pat the hot dogs dry on kitchen paper. If making small corn dogs, cut each one in half to make two, but if making large ones, just keep them whole. Skewer each one with a wooden or bamboo skewer three-quarters of the way up through the centre, taking care not to veer off and tear through the side.

Put the cornflour in a wide, shallow dish or tray, then dredge each of the sausages through it, coating completely and shaking off any excess – this helps the cornmeal batter to stick. Set aside on a plate, ready for dipping.

When ready to dip and coat, holding the wooden skewer, submerge each sausage head-first into the batter, twisting gently to coax the batter to stick, then gently and slowly twisting as you pull the skewer up and out of the glass or jug to reveal a completely coated corn dog.

Working quickly, gently lower the battered corn dog head first into the hot oil (rather than into the fryer basket, which should already be submerged), hovering the top in the oil for a little bit to get it accustomed and then lowering it in. At this point, give the submerged basket a rigorous shake to ensure the newly arrived corn dog doesn’t stick to the bottom. Repeat this process as you fry in batches of two to four, depending on the size of your fryer, for 3–4 minutes in total. About two-thirds of the way through the cooking time, you may want to use tongs to turn the corn dogs gently to ensure they colour evenly.

When the corn dogs are an even golden colour you’ll know they’re done, so lift them out one by one or together in the basket, drip-draining any excess oil. Allow to further drain and cool on a wire rack set over a baking tray lined with kitchen paper as you continue with the next ones.

Enjoy immediately with ketchup and yellow mustard, your choice of condiments or just as is. If you’d prefer to make hush puppies (and please your vegetarian pals!), we suggest upping the quantity of both cornmeal and flour by 50g each and stirring a small 200g tin of sweetcorn (drained) through the batter for extra texture. A very finely chopped spring onion wouldn’t go amiss in that mixture too for a little allium kick if you don’t mind the green speckles through these gorgeous blonde bites. Drop generous tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil (at 180°C) and fry until lightly golden, turning once during frying.

From Blasta Books 2: HOT FAT by Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon

Illustration by Nicky Hooper

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