We wanted a good, high quality hot dog. Those "things" in the 10 pack at the grocery store just ain't cuttin' it, and not by a long stretch.
While enjoying some of the Kielbasa we made a short while back, my father-in-law (who is now quite interested in the process of smoking, especially the part when we sample what we made) asked if we could make some GOOD hot dogs. Again, I'm assuming he's looking to deer season again. Kicker is, he wanted a HOT DOG, not some pencil thin thing. He also wanted some snap to the casing.
Ok, so sure. Of course it can be done. To get closer to a venison/pork mix, I went 40/60 mix of 85/15 beef to some lean pork butt. I also used 29-32mm (1 1/8" to 1 1/4") hog casings. Pork was double-ground with a course and then a fine plate. Beef was already medium ground.
Recipe was from Rytek's book, with less salt added (6.5g/lb), and an even split of NFDM and Soy Protein Concentrate.
After thoroughly mixing the seasonings, cure, binders, and 1 cup of ice water, the meat batter was then emulsified in a food processor. This was an interesting process. We started with 10 lbs of meat, and I was able to get 2.5 lbs into the food processor at once. While running, I gradually added ice water until the meat settled in the processor and was turned into an even paste. Approximately an additional cup, maybe a little more, per batch. It came out the consistency of peanut butter. Final temp after emulsifying was 55F.
The batter was covered and put in the fridge for the night. Wanted to let it do it's magic, and it was getting late.
The next day, we stuffed and linked 'em all up. I was able to smoke them in two batches - one yesterday afternoon, and one this afternoon. Yesterday's batch went straight to my father-in-law. He freaked out when he saw them, and ate one cold. Tonight, for supper, he grilled a couple up along with some fresh homemade bread and some fried potatoes. He's definitely hooked.
Here's the batch that got smoked up today. Yeah, the color is amazing on the casings.
The 10 lbs of meat yielded 38.5 links. Here's the cut view, from the midget link that was left over... had to grab a quick taste before bed. It was wonderful. Nice snap to the casing, and there was a good, even hickory smoke flavor that yielded to the seasonings in the dog. Texture was smooth, like a hot dog should be.
Smoking profile was:
preheat smoker to 130F, let sausages normalize 30 minutes at room temp
Time 0:00 - Put links in smoker at 130F
Time 0:30 - apply medium hickory smoke
Time 1:00 - increase temp to 140F
Time 1:30 - increase temp to 150F
Time 2:00 - stop smoking, increase temp to 165F
Time 5:00 - IT 155F - pull and immediately immerse in ice water bath for 20 minutes - IT below 100F
Bloom for 1 hour at room temp, then refrigerate (minus the mini-dog, which was quite happily consumed)
All in all, pretty good. Had a few bubbles in the stuffer, but not sure how to improve on this with emulsified meat - it's just.. weird. Still, the texture came out pretty good, with minimal pockets in the sausage.
The smell, texture, and flavor palate are great, and will use this recipe again without modification. Can't wait for a hot off the grill dog in a good bun, spicy brown mustard, a little ketchup, some good dill relish, and a sprinkling of fine diced onions. Would also be awesome with some kraut.
Thanks for checking it out!