It’s that time of year again. Time to grab your friends, buy your tickets, take a ride on the ferris wheel, and scarf down some junk food. Yep, it’s time to go to the fair!
Though most other fairs happen in late summer and early fall, the county fair where I grew up always came through town in April. I still remember seeing the ferris wheel at night all lit up from a distance, and imagining the smell of cotton candy and funnel cakes galore. And what about those bricks of curly fries? So good.
As a kid, every year when springtime would roll around, there weren’t many events more anticipated than the county fair. Fun nights spent with your friends, winning some stuffed animals at the midway, and gorging yourself on fried foods until you were sick — it was like a dream come true!
Corn dogs are always a staple at the fair, and mini ones just lend themselves to kid-sized hands. Don’t forget the yellow mustard for dipping! These little dogs have a bit of a secret under their battered outsides, taking on some grilled flavor from a short stay under the broiler before dipping and frying. Their flavor is a little bit backyard, a little bit county fair, and completely addicting!
county fair mini corn dogs
makes 28 mini corn dogs
(recipe adapted from saveur.com)
2 packages Hebrew National Beef Franks (14 dogs total), cut in half
1 c + 6 Tbs (242 g) all purpose flour
2/3 c (123 g) yellow cornmeal
2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp (4 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 g) baking soda
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp (6 g) kosher salt
1 c (240 g) milk
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 quart peanut oil, for frying
Start out by slicing the hot dogs in half and placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Put the dogs underneath the hot broiler of your oven for 7-8 minutes, until they’ve developed some dark brown color and char. Pull them out, transfer them to a plate and set in the freezer for a few minutes to cool them down to room temperature.
Heat the peanut oil in a medium sized pot over medium heat, until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Turn the heat down to medium-low/low to maintain the temperature of the oil.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, mustard powder, cayenne, and salt. Add the milk, lemon juice and egg and whisk until smooth and thick.
When the oil is properly heated, grab the hot dogs from the freezer and dip three at a time into the batter until fully covered. Lift out and shake off the excess batter, and drop into the hot oil, frying no more than 3 at a time. Fry one batch for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oil with tongs and place on a paper towel-lined baking sheet or plate to drain off the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining hot dogs.
Serve hot with plenty of mustard!