Had to try this. I looked at many recipes and processes and decided on what I was going to try. I was going after a "Nathan's" taste and I was pretty surprised at how close the flavor was. The texture was very different - not super smooth like bologna or commercial hotdogs. You could that tell you were eating meat but it was not at all tough to bite through or chew.
Well, here's how it came together......
5 lbs 80/20 ground beef (actually the package was labeled 81/19, I have no idea why)
1 tsp cure #1
3 Tbsp paprika
2 ½ Tbsp ground mustard
2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground celery seed
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp sea or kosher salt
1 Tbsp MSG
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp ground mace
2 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp powdered dextrose (corn sugar)
1 Cup milk powder
1 ½ - 2 Cups of cold water
Here it is after one run through the food processor and adding the spices. I ran it through a second time after letting it sit for about an hour.
Pumping the "mud" into collagen casings. You can see the four connected links sitting there that are twisted to separate the links. Later, I found it much easier to tie them off with butcher string. These collagen casings don't lend themselves to spinning or twisting like regular pork casings.
A tray full of bun length dogs! They are still twisted at this point. I had not yet given into the idea that they needed to be tied.
Trying to hang them in the smoker without the "twists" coming undone finally made me tie the links with butcher twine.
Smoking away for about 1 1/2 hours at 160 degrees with hickory smoke.
I forgot to grab a pic of finishing them off in a pot of water. Took them to 155 in water that never got over 180 degrees.
Casings came right off and here is the final product. Ugly, yep, but it tasted really good. I will do these again. They tasted good and I know that they aren't full of "beaks and buttholes" as most processed meats are. They did not have that processed taste either.
I am very pleased with the taste as you could taste seasoned beef that tasted like a hotdog and not just "hotdog" flavored stuff, so check. I think the texture is as smooth as I can make it with a standard food processor, so I give that a check as well. One knock on the texture is that they didn't seem as plump and full of moisture as store bought dogs. They were not dry but just didn't have a real snap when bitten through.
As for things I would try and improve....
- you can tell, my stuffing skills need a little work as I am still really new at this.
- snappiness of the frank.
- I think the frank needs to be a bit thicker, so I will buy larger casings next time.
Thanks for taking a peek.