There are few things more iconic of a summer picnic than a nice hot dog.
Unfortunately, hot dogs have devolved into a casingless shell of their former selves, devoid of taste and high-quality meat cuts.
In this recipe, I’ll teach you how to prepare fresh hot dogs from scratch.It’s a labor of love, but the tastes of genuine smoke, fresh garlic, herbs, and spices make it worthwhile.
Replace those store-bought hot dogs with these homemade hot dogs to take your barbecue to the next level.
- Why make your own hot dogs?
- The best meat to use for hot dogs
- How to make your own hot dogs
- What is the best wood for smoking hot dogs?
- How long does it take to smoke a hot dog?
- What pellets are best for smoking hot dogs?
- What wood Cannot be used for smoking meat?
- What wood is not good for smoking meat?
- What is the best seasoning for hot dogs?
- Is eating a hot dog as bad as smoking a cigarette?
- Are smoked hot dogs fully cooked?
- Do I need to soak pellets before smoking?
Why make your own hot dogs?
Meat processors cannot sell leftover, low-quality portions of meat used to make mass-produced hot dogs.
They employ chemicals and false flavorings like liquid smoke instead of fresh choices and conventional techniques, which are often more expensive.You can control the quality and tastes of your hot dogs by creating them yourself.
Our hot dogs are packed inside natural sheep casings, which explode when bitten into and retain smoke better than cellulose casings, which must be removed after cooking.
If you’ve ever eaten store-bought, casing-free hot dogs, you know they’re manufactured with detachable casings that you can’t eat. This is how they preserve their form but lack the snap of these hot dogs.
Equipment you will need:
- A meat grinder or meat grinding accessory for your food processor. I made advantage of my LEM Big Bite.
- Coarse grinding plate and fine grinding plate
- Stuffing attachment or sausage stuffer for your grinder
The best meat to use for hot dogs
The appeal of cooking your own hot dogs is the ability to choose the cuts and grade of meat used. I’ve discovered that a combination of pig butt and beef chuck works well for both the fat ratio and the taste profile.
You will also be adding fat to the grind. I used high-quality hog back fat, but high-quality beef brisket trimmings also work nicely. Some supermarket shops sell them in the meat aisle, but not all. If you’re having trouble obtaining back fat, contact your local butcher, who will almost certainly be able to assist you.
You may use all pork or all beef, but mixing the two with the appropriate fat ratio provides additional depth of taste above just one.
Hot dogs are a kind of meat emulsion.To ensure that the proteins and fat emulsify correctly and do not break apart owing to heat, keep everything as cool as possible during the grinding process.
Sausages, bologna, franks, liver patties, and other similar goods are examples of meat emulsions. They are made from finely homogenized beef in which the proteins function as an emulsifier for the fat molecules, resulting in a single homogeneous product as a consequence of the grinding process.
Sharp grinder blades are also required for effective emulsification.
If you’re new to grinding your own meat, we’ve got you covered.
How to make your own hot dogs
To begin preparing your own hot dogs, follow the instructions below.
1. Prep for meat grinding
Put the meat grinding parts into the freezer.
set the pork butt, beef chuck, and pig fat in 1-inch cubes on a tray and set in the freezer.You want the meat to parfreeze rather than completely freeze. It should be somewhat firm to the touch or have an interior temperature near to, but not below, 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
This usually takes 30 to 40 minutes.
2. Prepping the casings
To achieve the original hot dog size, use smaller casings than you would for sausage.For this recipe, you’ll need around six feet of casings.I utilized inch sheep casings, which provide the ideal diameter for a hot dog.
Casings are packed with salt for lifespan, therefore they must be well rinsed before use. Rinse the outside with warm water until no visible salt remains.Open one end of the casing and rinse the interior until the water runs clear. After thoroughly rinsing, immerse in a basin of clean warm water to soften.
3. Prepping the spices
It’s now time to combine the spices.In a mortar and pestle, food processor, or spice grinder, pound or ground the chopped garlic, mustard powder, chili powder, coriander, paprika, oregano, and black pepper into an equally colored paste.
4. Grind the meat
Use a big plate to set up the grinder. Place another huge basin of ice under the grinder’s mouth. To help keep everything cold, place another big dish on top of the ice.
Remove the meat and back fat from the freezer and combine them in a large mixing dish.
Using the big plate, grind the meat and fat combination until it is equally distributed.Rep this procedure. Grinding twice helps to start the meat emulsion and distributes the ingredients equally.
Return the ground beef bowl to the freezer while you move to the fine grinder plate.
Remove the meat from the freezer and pass it through the fine plate twice. If the mixture begins to warm up, add a cup of crushed ice as it goes through the grinder. This keeps it cool and prevents the fat from rendering. You don’t want the meat to reach 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
After grinding the meat four times, it should be thoroughly blended and emulsified, with a consistent color and texture.
Combine the ground beef with the spice paste you produced previously, as well as the additional ingredients: milk powder, curing salt, coarse kosher salt, and sugar. Mix everything together with a spatula or wooden spoon until well combined.
You may also use a stand mixer’s paddle attachment. Just make certain that all of the equipment has been cooled.
5. Stuff the casing
Set up your stuffer and fill the hopper with meat. If you’re filling with a grinder, be sure to use the proper stuffing attachment and horn.
Wet the horn and slip on the casing. You may grind straight into a table or sheet pan, but make sure it’s moist so the casing doesn’t snag and rip.
Stuff the casing and link into 8 to 12 links of your choice.
Place the connected hot dogs on a sheet pan or baking sheet and refrigerate to dry. They may be left overnight, but depending on the ventilation in your fridge, they will be ready to smoke in two or three hours.
6. Smoke the hot dogs
We’ll start by smoking the hot dogs slowly and gradually raising the temperature after one hour. The smoking temperature should be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re using a charcoal or wood smoker, you may achieve this temperature with a modest quantity of fuel. Because you are using less beginning charcoal, it will take longer to reach such a low temperature, but keep it slow and steady so you don’t exceed the objective.
Keep your pellet grill on the lowest setting, generally the smoke setting. This will be hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so keep an eye on the interior temperature of the hot dogs.
Once the temperature has stabilized, place your preferred smoking wood on the coals. We utilized a mix of hickory and apple wood.
Maintain a consistent smoke flow throughout the cook, adding additional wood pieces as required.
After an hour, the hot dogs will begin to turn a light brown hue. Raise the temperature of the smoker to 150°F and add wood as needed.
Check the temperature of one of the links after an hour. It should be between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit and golden brown in hue.
Cook the links until the internal temperature reaches 150F all the way through. If necessary, raise the temperature of your smoker and check every 15 minutes until the links reach 150F.
Take a bite of the link with all the temperature probe pokes and revel in its handcrafted goodness. After all of the hard labor that goes into creating hotdogs, the pitmaster deserves the first bite.
Bring good-quality buns to the finish line for the dogs. I propose a brioche-style bread or a soft yet sturdy bun like Martins Potato Rolls. You didn’t go this far to eat hot dogs on dry, crumbly buns. Serve while still warm, with additional toppings as desired.