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RBR Tailgating: Corn Dogs

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I'm sorry, but it was just too easy to pass on.

I've abandoned the usual convention here whereby I post recipes that can be cooked at a tailgate for home games and recipes that take advantage of a full home kitchen for away games. I did this for two reasons.

Firstly, from the looks of the weather reports, rain will be torrential and constant. Good luck lighting a grill on Saturday.

Secondly, LSU is coming to town and nothing could be less creatively taxing than making corn dogs for the corn dog game. Sometimes the low hanging fruit is the sweetest.

But don't think this is phoning it in. Not having ever made homemade corn dogs, or even corn bread before (my parents grew up a bit north of here so it just wasn't part of my childhood), I scoured the internets in search of a recipe that would be just off the beaten path but not so complex as to put anyone off trying to make it themselves. As is often the case, Alton Brown provided just about exactly what I was looking for.

Before we get into the recipe though, let me say a quick word about LSU fans. I have a soft spot for them. My mother in-law is from Baton Rouge and every year I go to this game with my brother in-law, an Alabama fan, and two of my wife's cousins, both LSU fans. The un-ticketed relatives travel too, either to Birmingham if the game is in Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge if we are playing in Death Valley, trickling to town on Thursday or Friday and leaving Sunday morning. It's a three day party.

When we are in Baton Rouge, we tailgate amongst the enemy and enjoy the hell out of it. We eat their jambalaya and drink their Abita. I've gotten to know the fan base fairly well and I can tell you this: They hate being called corn dogs.

They are pretty good about other fan needling. If I make fun of Perrilloux they can be relied on say something about Julio being out of bounds. Tell them that we have Nick and they'll laughingly parry that he'll leave us too soon (although I haven't heard that one lately.) They have fun with the game and take most things on the chin.

Until you bring up corn dogs.

It really bothers them. Their faces freeze and they glance at each other. "I just don't understand that," they say. "Why is that funny?" And then wander off, ostensibly to get a beer or something.

Sensitive to their feelings, I've been talking to my nine year old and I'm pretty sure I've got him so worked up that every other sentence will have the words "corn dog" in it. What an asp I'm unleashing on our LSU relatives.

Corn Dogs for Corn Dogs

1 pack Hot Dogs, not Ball Park or any "plump when you cook them" brands

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. powdered Cayenne Pepper

1 - 2 Jalapeno Peppers, deseeded and minced

1/3 cup minced Onion

8 - 10 ounces canned Creamed Corn

1 ½ cups Buttermilk

2 tsp. Kosher Salt

Peanut Oil

Cornstarch

Cut Fries

Before we get to the corn dogs themselves, let's take advantage of the fact that we will already be boiling peanut oil and cut some homemade French fries. I usually allow a half a potato per person. Peel or leave the skin on depending on preference, cut into sticks a little less than 1/2" to a side and then soak in water for about ten minutes to remove excess starch. Remove from the water and pat dry.

I don't know what manner of vessel you will be using to fry in. I like my wok, but a deep skillet or pan will do. Pour enough oil in that your dogs will be fully submerged taking into account whatever angle you will need to set them at to accommodate the stick and then, considering that you'll be using the same oil for the fries, add an inch or so more.

First Fry

Heat to 375˚ and drop your fries. The amount you can do at once will depend on your pan, but I like to do them in batches roughly the size of one potato's yield. Fry for five or so minutes until you start to see some browning but not long enough for them to cook through to the middle, remove and set on a paper towel to drain.

Set the par-cooked fries in a bowl and - this is the key to perfect French fries - put in the freezer for 30 minutes. What this does is stop the cooking process completely. When you return them to the oil, the outside has a lead on the inside so the second cooking will leave you with a nice warm middle and a crisp, but not burnt exterior.

Jalapeno Mix

While the fries are in the freezer, put the creamed corn, buttermilk, jalapeno, and onion to a bowl and stir. In a separate bowl, add the cornmeal, flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and cayenne to a bowl and whisk. Combine the contents of the two bowls, and stir until all the ingredients are combined. It shouldn't be very smooth so don't fret the lumps.

It should be thick and stick to your finger, but if it's too thick or very dry, add a little more corn or buttermilk until the consistency is right.

Set the batter aside for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, start skewering the hot dogs. You can use skewers as I did, but they were a bit flimsy. Next time I think I'll use some cheap wooden chopsticks.

I should note that I have nothing against the Ball Park brand plump-as-you-cook-them dogs, but they are going to expand and I'm worried that the batter will split and crack as it sets.

Second Fry

When the fries' time in the freezer is up, put them back in the hot oil until they are golden brown, again in batches if need be, and set aside to drain.

Corn Dog Frying

Put some cornstarch on a plate and dust the dogs with a light coat of it, dip into the batter, coat completely, and submerge in the oil until golden brown. Serve with fries and enjoy.

Plated Dogs

Roll Tide, no injuries, and do not Geaux Tigers.