Food on a stick season is really the best season in Minnesota. It doesn’t last very long – a mere couple of weeks, but the sky seems brighter, the days seem happier and gosh darn it – people are nicer. It has to be the haze of fryer oil that wafts from Snelling Avenue rolling down among the denizens of this fair city making their eyes roll back in their heads as they shamble along in trancelike disarray whispering things like, “mini donuts,” “Sweeeeet Martha’s cookies with milk,” “cheeeeeeeeese curds,” and, of course, “Pronto Puuuups.”
While I’m with them on the mini donuts and to a certain extent cheese curds – Pronto Pups are just disappointing at best. Yes, they have quite the cult following because everyone sees them as this treat that they had to have when they went to fairs as kids. Well, this kid grew up in Chicago and that dog don’t fly. Granted, for ages I was way to snobby to even condescend to go to the fair, but eventually, curiosity won out and I now join the throngs of people who pass through the gates every year. There really are throngs. “The Great Minnesota Get Together,” as it’s called, is believed to have more people pass through it’s gates daily than any other fair in the nation. (Although, Texas has more over all people.)
Even though, I would go every year, I didn’t really eat there until a couple of years ago when Kyndell was in New Orleans shooting the Katrina aftermath and Mr. Kyndell was left all by his lonesome to think up all the terrible things that could happen to her. What gets your mind off your troubles? The fair does, that’s what. So, that’s where we had dinner every night for a week. I became a convert to the ways of fair food. For the most part, it’s chock full of good eats.
Except for the Pronto Pups. Every year I trick myself into trying one, and every year the inferior quality of the dog and the lack of flavor in the corn bread just makes me mad – and I throw a tantrum in the midway with crying and foot stamping and gnashing of teeth and swear up and down that I’m going to just make my own, then. Well, I finally did.
I created the hot-dog-love-child of chorizo and a really fine beef dog. Then, I just slid that dog into some sweet honey corn bread and fried it on up. Sweet, spicy, hot… oh baby, let’s get it on. We can make our own state fair right here.
Sexy Hot Sweet Corn Dog (Baby.)
Love Child Dog
4lb chicken thighs, skin on, deboned
1 1/2 lbs hamburger or ground beef
2/3 c powder milk
4 T ancho powder
2 1/2 T chipotle powder
2 T garlic powder
1 T salt (possibly more upon tasting)
1 T cumin
1 T dried oregano
1 T paprika
1 T white pepper, ground
1 T Amesphos
3 t mace, ground
2 t sugar
1 t pink salt
2 T wine vinegar
2 T cider vinegar
3 T water
sausage casing or aluminum foil
Stick chicken thighs in the freezer, and freeze for 15 minuts or so. Grind em up using the grinder attachment for kitchen aid mixer, or a proper meat grinder. Stick chicken back in the freezer and combine the spices. Add the spices, liquids and beef into the chicken and cook off a small patty to test spices. (Return meat to the freezer while testing.) Adjust spices according to your tastes, keeping in mind that the heat will diminish once the sausage is done – so if you want it quite spicy, add more.
Run the meat through the grinder twice more and stuff into casings. Or if you don’t have any casings you can shape it into a roll and roll it up in aluminum foil. (Apparently, this is called a chub.)
Smoke or roast sausages over low heat until the sausages are completely firm – no give, but before they burst. (Bursting is bad.) Once, they’re done you can go ahead and make the cornbread coating and make them immediately, or save them for later.
Sweet Honey Corn Bread
3/4 c buttermilk
3 T honey (or more if you like things sweeter)
2/3 c corn meal
1/3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
Mix liquid ingredients together and whisk in 1/3 c cornmeal. Whisk cornmeal for a few minutes to cream it a bit. Whisk together dry ingredients and add them in to wet slowly.
Transfer to a tall glass, leaving about 1 1/2″ free at the top of the glass.
flour or cornstarch
lots of peanut oil
Make sure that dogs are hot enough to eat. If they aren’t steam them until they are.
Heat enough oil to cover at least half the dog to 350°f – 375°f.
Insert popcicle stick into dog. Roll dog in flour or cornstarch. Dunk dog in cornbread. Swish dog around a bit and pull out making sure the dog is covered. Slide into oil and cook until very brown. Flip over if necessary and cook on the other side.
Serve and enjoy!