Thursday, February 2, 2012
Monday Morning Quarterbacking My Homemade Dinky Dogs
If you will remember my last post, I have embarked on a mission to home-produce the indigenous 3" hot dog of our beloved home region. I am not too small of a man to see when I make some small mistakes, so here I will sharp shoot my own sausage making skills. I thought I would share a bit of constructive self-criticism that I came up with after frying up a couple of the little bastards last night.
Fist of all, I experimented with 21mm smoked collagen casings in this batch. For hot dogs, I would not do this again. There is just something about a natural casing that is necessary with this type of hot dog, I will use sheep casings next time. Plus, I used a pseudo-steaming method to cook the dogs and I didn't like how the casings reacted. I will say that steaming was not my preferred method of cooking, I would have liked to have done them in a smoker, but circumstances would not allow that this time. I ended up removing the casings from most of the dogs, leaving me with what is in effect, a skinless hot dog. Not my ideal end result.
As far as flavor, I would have added just a touch more salt. 2 tablespoons instead of 1.5 for 4 pounds would do I think. I don't know why I was conservative with salt, maybe I just figured my ratios wrong... As far as texture goes, these were about right. I think I like the food processor emulsification better than the stand mixer method (which I used this time, it is recommended by Ruhlman). The food processor method makes for a lighter hot dog in my opinion.
All in all, I will chalk this up as a success. Although I did not achieve precisely what I wanted, I think that I honed in far enough to be able to achieve what I want in the next iteration. As always, sausage making is a learning process and trial and error is the best way to progress. Now my mind is turning to the second most important component, the meat sauce. I have a few new ideas and iterations that veer from my classic recipe, I think they will be successful.