Summer is coming and summer needs hot dogs. I don’t make the rules I just follow them. The problem is that most commercial hot dogs aren’t very flavourful and have a soft rubbery texture. You can do a lot better. I did by making my own. I named them after our property. Allow me to introduce you to Passing Wind Estates Hot Dogs.
Before you try and make any cured sausage, there is some information you need.
You must keep everything cold when making sausages. There is a risk of the fat and meat separating if the meat gets warm and the resulting texture would be awful. Make sure all ingredients are very cold and put your bowls, beaters and stuffer in the freezer until ready to use. If you are not doing anything with the meat, put it in the fridge.
Trust me, meat grinds, stuffs and mixes better if it is all cold.
If you are curing and smoking your sausage as you do with hot dogs, you will be using curing salts. These salts go by many names, Prague Powder #1, Instacure #1, pink salt and many more. The name doesn’t matter. Just make sure they have 6.25 % potassium nitrite and the rest is salt.
The curing salt inhibits bacteria growth in meat and lets you smoke it for a long time at low temperatures without the meat spoiling. However, if you don’t use enough curing salt, it won’t inhibit the bacteria growth and you may get food poisoning. On the other hand, if you use too much, the nitrites can make you sick. You must use the exact amount of curing salts per kilogram or pound of meat.
That being said, if you go step by step it is safe and will give you that distinctive cured flavour.
I like a blend of pork and beef in my hot dogs. I like the flavour and texture of the blend. It just so happened that lean ground beef and ground pork were on sale. The meat being on sale had nothing to do with me deciding to make hot dogs now. The cheque is in the mail.
Any sausage requires a certain amount of fat or they will be dry and coarse. As it was lean beef and pork that was on sale, I added some pork fat trimmings I had from prior smokes. If you can get regular ground beef or pork, you likely wouldn’t have to add any fat.
Another option is to use pork butt in your mix and grind it yourself. It has lots of fat and will give a good result.
What you are looking for is 20 to 25% fat but don’t sweat it. As long as you have a reasonable amount of fat, you will be fine.
So, go for about equal parts of beef and pork with a reasonable amount of fat.
When you have your meat together, weigh it all. You need the weight to calculate how much curing salt and seasonings to use.
For each kilogram of meat you need the following seasoning ingredients:
- 22 grams kosher salt
- 3 grams Prague Powder #1
- 8 grams sugar
- 7 grams minced garlic
- 10 grams dry mustard
- 7 grams paprika
- 3 grams ground coriander
- 2 grams white pepper
- 310 grams crushed ice
- 2 ml Sriracha sauce (optional)
- 27 ml light corn syrup
If you are into pounds and ounces, here are the seasoning amounts for each pound of meat:
- 0.36 ounces kosher salt
- 0.05 ounces Prague Powder #1
- 0.13 ounces sugar
- 0.11 ounces minced garlic
- 0.16 ounces dry mustard
- 0.11 ounces paprika
- 0.05 ounces ground coriander
- 0.04 ounces white pepper
- 5 ounces crushed ice
- 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Mix the salt, Prague Powder #1, sugar, garlic, mustard, paprika, coriander, and white pepper together.
Roughly mix the seasonings, meat and ice together. Run this mixture through the fine plate of a grinder.
Add the syrup and Sriracha to the mixture and beat it for four to five minutes with the paddle of a stand mixture. Depending how much you are making, you might have to do this in batches. Refrigerate any meat you are not mixing and then put all batches on a tray and mix thoroughly.
Put the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour to chill again.
Use a dedicated sausage stuffer and 32 mm collagen casings and stuff the meat mixture into the casings. Some collagen casings need to be soaked in warm water first, others don’t. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction.
Measure the sausages into six inch lengths and pinch/twist the casings at the six inch measure. Cut at the twist to make individual hot dogs.
Put the hot dogs in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I fired up my A-Maze-N pellet smoker with hickory pellets and lit it up. I put it in my Weber Genesis grill with the hot dogs and let them cold smoke for 3 hours. If you don’t have a cold smoke generator, you can skip this step, the hot dogs just won’t be as smoky.
If you smoker will go low enough, smoke at 140 F for one hour, increase to 150 F, smoke for another hour, 160 F for another hour, 170 F for another hour and continue at 180 F. If not, smoke at 180 F . Either way, bring the sausage to an internal temperature of 140 F. You can do this in an oven but they won’t have that great smoke taste. My pellet smoker won’t go lower than 180 F so I smoked at 180 until the internal temperature was 140 F. It took about 3 hours.
Plunge the hot dogs into a cold water bath and then let them sit for two hours on a rack. This lets a great colour form.
At this point, you will really want to cook up and eat a hot dog. Don’t do it! They need to sit for a day to let the smoke flavour to even out.
The next day, I threw one on the Weber Genesis grill and cooked it up.
You could go to the store and buy a hot dog or you could make these. These have a great rich flavour with bright spices and a real great texture and chew. Yes, you could buy a hot dog or you could serve your friends the best hot dog they have ever had. The choice is yours!
The Old Fat Guy