I’ve lived most of my life in the Northeastern United States, but there are always those moments when I am reminded that I really hail from the Midwest. Case in point: I still can’t get over the fact that there are adults in this country who have never eaten a corn dog. What’s more, many of the New Englanders I’ve known actually consider corn dogs to be carnival fare. I mean, really? What planet did you grow up on? Where I come from, deep frying is just another cooking technique, and corn dogs are just another main dish.
I firmly believe that eating at least one corn dog should be on everyone’s bucket list, and fortunately for you, these suckers are super easy to make. You’ll need some wooden skewers or sticks. A deep fryer will also make your life a bit easier, but it isn’t necessary, provided you have a deep, heavy-bottomed pot and a food thermometer and an equally deep, abiding love of third-degree burns.
If you’re ultra-committed, you can try your hand at making your own “hot dog” style seitan sausages … but since this is kind of goofy food anyway, you really shouldn’t feel bad about not making it entirely from scratch. I’m sure most of you are well-acquainted with the many varieties of veggie dogs out there, but since I am very much not stoked on LightLife, I’ll give a shout-out to Field Roast frankfurters, which I think come closer to being “real food” than any hot dog I’ve ever encountered, vegan or not.
Finally, I know someone’s going to ask, so I’ll tell you upfront that yes, I’m sure these would be just fine baked, too. Perusing the Web, it seems like the most popular way of making baked corn dogs is in mini muffin tins: place a dollop of the cornmeal batter in a greased muffin cup, drop a chunk of hot dog in the middle, cover it with more batter, and bake ’til golden. That said, a little deep-frying never killed anyone. If it did, they would’ve locked up my grandmother (who, last, I checked, had four deep fryers to her name) decades ago.
- oil for frying (try peanut, corn or canola, but not olive)
- 6-12 wooden skewers
- 6 vegan hot dogs
- ¾ c plus ¼ c flour, divided
- ¾ c cornmeal
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ c plain, unsweetened plant milk
- a tall drinking glass
- ketchup and mustard for serving
- In a deep fryer (or a deep pot), heat several inches of oil to 375F.
- If needed, slice hot dogs in half (width-wise). You'll want to do this if your deep-fryer has a relatively narrow opening (and is relatively shallow), simply to ensure that you'll be able to fit the corn dogs. Remember, you'll be frying the length of a hot dog plus a couple of inches of wooden skewer, so plan accordingly!
- If needed, cut down your skewers to a comfortable length. You'll want each one to be a few inches longer than the length of a hot dog.
- Gripping a hot dog in one hand, carefully but firmly thread the skewer through the hot dog with your other hand, stopping about an inch from the end. Repeat until all hot dogs are skewered.
- Generously dust hot dogs with ¼ c flour until they're entirely coated. This will help the breading stick.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together cornmeal, ¾ c flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Whisk in milk; the texture will be similar to pancake batter.
- Pour batter into drinking glass.
- Gripping a skewer, dunk a hot dog into the batter, spinning it as you pull it back out of the glass. The entire dog (ends included) should have a thick, even coat. If necessary, quickly touch it up with a spoon.
- Quickly drop battered hot dog, stick and all, into hot oil.
- Repeat as necessary and fry in batches of 3 (depending on the size of your frying apparatus) for about 3 minutes, rotating once half-way through, or until nicely browned.
- Serve hot, with ketchup and mustard for dipping!