Although an appliance called a Krusty Korn Dog Baker hit the market in the 1920s, the exact details of the corn dog’s origins remain unclear. What is known is that they first appeared on the carnival food scene as ‘corny dogs’ at the 1942 Texas state fair. Since then they’ve become a staple at fairs and festivals across America and Australia. They’re known as pluto pups or dagwood dogs here, and pogos in Canada.
- 110 g (⅓ cup) polenta (cornmeal)
- 185 g (1¼ cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 330 ml (1⅓ cups) buttermilk
- 8 hot dogs (frankfurts)
- vegetable oil, to deep-fry
- tomato sauce (ketchup) and American mustard, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need 8 x 20 cm wooden skewers.
Place polenta, 150 g (1 cup) flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cayenne pepper, sugar and ½ tsp salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Stir in egg, then, gradually stir in enough buttermilk to make a smooth, thick batter.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Place remaining 35 g (¼ cup) flour in a shallow bowl and, working with one hot dog at a time, dust in flour, shaking off the excess, then, holding one end of the hot dog with tongs, coat liberally in batter. Gently drop into oil and fry for 4 minutes, turning halfway, or until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel.
Thread corn dogs onto skewers and serve immediately with tomato sauce and mustard.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, October 2011, Issue 2.