Meet Me at the Fair!

Who doesn’t enjoy an outing to the fair? Displays, demonstrations, booths, and, of course, all that outrageous (and typically unhealthy!) fair food.

As Wikipedia summarizes for us:

A fair (archaic: fayre) is a gathering of people to display or trade produce or other goods, to parade or display animals and often to enjoy associated carnival or funfair entertainment. It is normally of the essence of a fair that it is temporary; some last only an afternoon while others may last as long as ten weeks. Activities at fairs vary widely. Some trade fairs are important regular business events where either products are traded between businesspeople, as at the Frankfurt Book Fair, where publishers sell book rights in other markets to other publishers, or where products are showcased to largely consumer attendees, as for example in agricultural districts where they present opportunities to display and demonstrate the latest machinery on the market to farmers.

Fairs are also known by many different names around the world, such as agricultural show, fête, county fair, exhibition or state fair, festival, market and show. Flea markets and auto shows are sometimes incorporated into a fair.

Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote a musical about state fairs:

And of course, whenever I think about a fair of any sort, I always think of Judy Garland:

For many folks, a favorite fair food is Corn Dogs — although you can usually purchase corn dogs other places, too. Once again, courtesy of Wikipedia:

A number of current corn dog vendors lay claim that credit for the invention and/or popularization of the corn dog. Carl and Neil Fletcher lay such a claim, having introduced their “Corny Dogs” at the Texas State Fair sometime between 1938 and 1942. The Pronto Pup vendors at the Minnesota State Fair claim to have invented the corn dog in 1941. Cozy Dog Drive-in, in Springfield, Illinois, claims to have been the first to serve corn dogs on sticks, on June 16, 1946. Also in 1946, Dave Barham opened the first location of Hot Dog on a Stick at Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, California.

While I like Corn Dogs, I’m not that crazy about the nutritional elements of the commercially-made ones. And although Corn Dogs are typically deep-fried, that’s not really the part that frets me, because actually, deep-frying — or frying — often isn’t the nutritional disaster that many think it is: the trick is that if you get your oil hot enough for what you’re making, whatever you’re frying, be it vegetables or meat, will “sear” on the outside, with the result that the food actually absorbs relatively little in the way of oil.

And it’s not as though we eat deep-fried anything with enough regularity for it to be thought of as “often.” (That is, unless you declare once or twice a month, on average, or 12 to 24 of the 1, 095 meals we eat annually — or 1 to 2 percent — as “often.”)

Nope, what frets me most about Corn Dogs are the calories — much of it fat from the type of meat used — that is in a typical corn dog. I’ve also found that some kinds of hot dogs and sausages give me an awful headache, which tends to make me leery..and this is the greatest advantage of making them at home, because I choose the hot dog that is used.

This is also a lower-carb way to eat hot dogs than in a traditional bun — even a WhiteWheat (high fiber) bun!

We typically use either 98% fat-free turkey dogs or 97% fat-free Hebrew National dogs (the Hebrew National “answer to a higher authority 😉 LOL!), but you can use anything you like — kielbasa (we would use smoked turkey sausage), bratwurst (you can get turkey bratwurst, by the way), whatever makes you happy. Vegetarians, use a tofu dog or a Soyrizo or whatever makes you happy!

This recipe is based on one from my Golden Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. The recipe this is based upon says it makes one pound of frankfurters, but I’ve found I can generally do two packages (28 ounces, nearly two pounds) of hot dogs — which is handy, as hubby as been known to eat up to 8 at a time! If you feel as though you’re running out of batter near the end, add in a bit more cornmeal, flour, and milk, a tablespoon or so at a time, until you feel you have sufficient batter.

The original recipe calls for adding in chopped onion, if desired, but as I think the onion would be more likely to burn instead of crisp along with the rest of the batter, I just season the batter with some onion powder.

The batter comes together quickly and easily, and the dogs brown up in 4 to 6 minutes, so it’s a relatively easy treat — and one you don’t need to feel guilty about!

And come on, tell the truth —

Homemade Corn Dogs, Ready for Mustard!

don’t these have your mouth watering already? 🙂 I even had a self-professed “Fletcher Corny Dog Snob” tell me she thought these were yummy!

These taste even yummier than they smell! (And they smell and look so yummy, it wasn’t too difficult for me to persuade folks to give them a try.) You can dress them with whatever condiment you like, but I’m a purist — I’m a yellow mustard gal. 😉

So go on, give these a try the next time you have a hankering for a Corn Dog — I promise, you won’t regret it!

Homemade Corn Dogs (Batter makes enough for up to 16 dogs)

  • Up to 16 hot dogs or sausages of choice
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening (I use butter-flavored Crisco)
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • 3/4 cup milk (I use 1%)
  • 1 egg, beaten (just beat the egg into the milk)
  1. Let the dogs lose the chill from the ‘fridge. Pat hot dogs dry. (This is key — it helps allow the thick batter to adhere.)
  2. Heat oil in a deep fryer OR heat 2″ or so of oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven (a Dutch oven will help control any oil spatter better because the sides are deeper). (The recipe that inspired this says to heat oil to 365F; I just heat it really hot — around 400F.)
  3. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and onion powder, if using. Cut shortening into flour mixture. Stir in milk and beaten egg. Batter will be THICK.
  4. Dip hot dogs into batter & coat on all sides. Let excess batter drip back into bowl and fry corn dogs, turning once, until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. (Don’t fret if you have a “bald spot” or two on the corn dogs — you’re not making them with professional corn dog apparatus, so your tongs are bound to leave a bare space.)
  5. Place on paper towels to drain. Insert skewer into each one, if desired.
  6. If you feel as though you’re running out of batter near the end, add in a bit more cornmeal, flour, and milk, a tablespoon or so at a time, until you feel you have sufficient batter.
  7. Refrigerate thoroughly cooled leftovers. (I like to wrap them in a paper towel before placing them in a baggie or container — it helps keep them from getting soggy/damp in the ‘fridge.) For best results, reheat in an oven 350F/375F on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet until re-crisped and heated through.
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About MissieLee

I love tasty food prepared in a healthy way with a budget in mind.
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