Hot Dog Days of Summer

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.

a danish hot dog stand

A typical Danish hot dog vendor, this one parked in the Nørrebro section of Copenhagen

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.

set up for grinding beef short rib meat

The new meat-grinding & stuffing set-up

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.

beef hot dog forcemeat emulsion

The emulsified forcemeat for Chicago-style beef short rib meat hot dogs

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.

Stuffing the meat emulsion into lamb casings using a KitchenAid stuffer attachment

Stuffing the meat emulsion into lamb casings using a KitchenAid stuffer attachment

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!

The hot dogs twisted into pretty links

The hot dogs twisted into pretty links

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.

French-style 10-grain loaves for market

French-style 10-grain loaves for market

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!

Dinner of hot dogs, bread, ketchup, mustard, and minced onions

Dinner of hot dogs, bread, ketchup, mustard, and minced onions

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).


About mosaica

Ugly & fabulous, warm & obsessive, brilliant & dorkmeisterish: striving to be a warrior in her little context.
This entry was posted in beef, charcuterie, sausage, Smoke and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Hot Dog Days of Summer

  1. birthemor says:

    Kœre skat, you are something else. What a great job, and wonderful pictures. I can almost taste those hot dogs, brings me back home and looking for a PØLSE VOGN !!!!

    Ring til mig når du er vågen igen. xx birthemor

  2. Meredith says:

    You know, it didn’t even occur to me to use lamb casings since I had extra hog casings from last month’s challenge. It makes so much sense to use lamb- my hot dogs were so big!

  3. blorgie1 says:

    Dear M your summer sounds so full of good work you must go to bed happy but worn out. These sausage dogs look a treat. And your bread and sauces make my mouth water.
    Any fishing or canoeing this year or are you nose to the grindstone with all your industries?
    C Xx

    • mosaica says:

      Oh B, I did overbook my summer.. again! So, I’ve been fishing once, and kayaking once. I swear I’ll tweak my summer schedule next year. However, at least the good works are things I really enjoy doing, and I’m the author, so I don’t feel like a victim of external pressures, just my own quite brawny internal ones 🙂

      These hot dogs are tasty, and the process –though a bit daunting as I waited until the last minute– was challenging and satisfying. However, in the future I think I’ll stick to paté and bacons and guanciale, which give a huge amount of bang for buck (and effort) and let the good hot dog makers make my hot dogs 🙂

  4. WOW – you got this done super quick! I am so impressed. The thing I am taking away from your post, however, is “OF COURSE – place the kitchen aid lower than the person using it” – I really hurt my hand very badly doing this challenge because it was at a weird angle (I see this now but at the time of the stuffing frenzy, I didn’t) but DUH – of course! Wish I had read this post before I had stuffed! Lovely results and hey, I didn’t know you were Danish! Cool.

    • mosaica says:

      Thanks Mardi! It felt prodigious that I got it all done –I’m not kidding at all when I say that I despaired of finishing the hot dogs not to mention the bread, the veggie blanching etc.

      This time, prep was everything: I spent several hours on Thursday getting my charcuterie station set up perfectly, getting the freezer and ‘fridge ready to accommodate bowls and sheet trays of meat, and making sure the sink was clean and empty so I could easily wash all the grinding and stuffing bits & pieces between stages. Prep was key! Because I’m working in a feebly appointed and tiny kitchen, it was also key that I split the prep work and the actual hot dog making over two days. I’m going to remember this next time around and split it over two days on PURPOSE!

      You’re absolutely right about the height of the KitchenAid; it made a giant difference in my comfort level, and if I hadn’t made the change, I can easily imagine giving up half-way through the emulsion-stuffing phase. That was my least enjoyable part: guiding that squishy paste into the feeder tube, and if I’d had the added onus of burning shoulder muscles.. yeah, it might all have come crashing down 😉

  5. Fantastical as always!! I was sad about not having all of the equipment and time to do the past couple of challenges.. but, I’ll be rejoining the adventures in August!

    • mosaica says:

      Thanks Esteemed Obsessions 🙂 It was a slog this time around, that’s for sure. It has sounded as if you’ve had more than your share of craptastic lately –I hope you’re feeling better?

  6. Seems to be a common theme this month – alas my story was the same but luck was not on my side. At 12:28, since I wasn’t making deadline anyway, I set it aside to be completed in a better frame of mind….

    I’m really intrigued as to your work; making (lovely loaves BTW) bread for market? I remember your collecting milk cans previously? A busy person indeed….

  7. mosaica says:

    Oh J, it was a crazy tough challenge this time around, wasn’t it? I honestly didn’t think I’d make it, and as I might have said elsewhere: I’m leaving hot dogs to the pros from now on.

    I don’t have a job job, but I do seem to work pretty hard –at least if feels that way! I bake for a local farmer’s market, and for a few private customers. Then I have three gardens where I grow for myself and family, and for market. And I have a few volunteer gigs delivering veggies to seniors. Honestly, I need to adjust my schedule because for the last two summers there hasn’t been enough time for fly fishing or kayaking or other rose-smelling activities!

  8. Sounds like an enterprise to me!

    It is a shame all the food gathering and preserving activities seem to happen at the same time. Grass fed milk, ripe fruit & veg, hay & grains… plus preserving all of it…
    At least meat season comes after a little break if anyone actually follows it anymore.

    I guess the problem is that I’m trying to do by myself what it took a whole family to do in the day. I’ve got to pare it down to the doable one of these days 😀 It’s all just so interesting I want to try it all!

  9. Darlene says:

    I remember lamenting the lack of take-out options when I first moved to Dk. Of course, we were in Aarhus where there were fewer options than in Copenhagen. Anyhow, I grew to appreciate the pølsevogne and I wish we had them here in the Portland!

    At least you made the hotdogs on time. Kudos! I swear the Universe has conspired against me this month and I’ve just finished the mortadella. Better late than never, right?

  10. Karen says:

    Wonderful loaves of bread you baked!


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