I’m from Denmark, and in Denmark we really love our hot dogs. There are pølsevogn –mobile hot dog stands– sprinkled around in cities and big and small towns. My old favorite used to be two reds with two rolls on the side, with ketchup, both strong and sweet mustard, and crispy fried onions. Reds are really long, skinny, and, as the name implies, dyed a delicious shade of red. They’re wonderfully crisp and juicy, and make a perfect on-the-go meal anytime.
I was looking very forward to this challenge, but it nearly got the best of me –a lot of family obligations and farm-garden work, so the days slipped by very quickly and all of a sudden it was two days before the ‘palooza deadline, and when I finally got around to starting the project, a perfect storm of other tasks dropped in my lap, and I felt so overwhelmed by it all that I nearly gave up. Actually, I sort of did: hot-dog making day was planned for Thursday and after getting my workspace in order I despaired and took to my sofa, certain I couldn’t get it all done. However, Friday morning dawned and I got up an hour later than usual, but feeling much more positive, and so today I got a dozen loaves of bread baked for market, trimmed and blanched five quarts of snow peas, and two quarts of spinach, got to market on time and sold out of bread, AND I made hot dogs, and I think this blog post will be done before midnight ;-)
So summer has been hectic. I’d originally wanted to make the Chicago-style all-beef dogs from Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, and then a Danish-style pork dog –maybe even a bright red one! And I also wanted to order a huggable kissable beef bung and make mortadella in addition, but with one thing and another I’m only making these Chicago-style beef dogs, and I’m right up to the wire at that.
I made a small but significant adjustment in my grinding and stuffing station by placing the KitchenAid about a foot lower than it had been. This made a huge difference in my comfort level; since I do virtually all of my work from a seated position, feeding the grinding and stuffing tube was making my shoulders hurt. The new setup allows me far better and more comfortable access.
I’ve made emulsified forcemeat before, and the only tricky bit is making sure that you’ve got adequate freezer space to chill ingredients, and in general that your workspace is super organized before you start.
The picture above looks so neat and pristine; I snapped the picture before I actually started the stuffing process. I can tell you that stuffing sticky meat emulsion into lamb casings using the stuffer attachment to a KitchenAid is a bona fide pain in the ass: the forcemeat is super sticky, you’re trying to work fast to keep the forcemeat chilled so it doesn’t break, and I found that I needed a good narrow spatula in addition to the wooden stuffer tool, and I needed to bring all of my deftness to bear, and even then it was dirty, sticky, painstaking mess. Worth it, but one of these days I’d like me one of those proper sausage stuffers!
After all the forcemeat was in the casing, I twisted the slim sausage into links, and put them into the fridge. Then it was a quick shower, and dashing off to market to sell bread.
I got home from market at around 8pm, and got the chilled hot dogs into the smoker, which I’d prepped with hickory sawdust before I’d left. The internal temp of the dogs reached 140° F in a generous half hour, and then into an ice bath to chill quickly, and after setting a few aside to cook for dinner, the rest are bagged and in the freezer. Success!
And so a bit of delicious dinner was had, and this post is nearly done and it’s only 11:13! One nifty feature of this dinner is that I’ve made everything on the plate: I baked the bread, made the ketchup and mustard, made the hot dogs, and grew the onion!
Okay, time to proof this one last time, hit publish, and curl up with Mouse (my kitty).