All-American Hot Dog
That satisfying first bite into a juicy hot dog — a delicious tradition at any backyard party, patriotic gathering, summer picnic, and more! Never tasted a hot dog made from scratch? Try one! They're quite easy to make (unless you are our video producer, as shown above). We made ours on a smoker; if you want a fairly simple, fun recipe and can wait until tomorrow to eat them, look no further.
PREP 24 hrs COOK 45 min READY IN 24 hrs 45 min Serves 8-12 people
- 5 lbs lean sirloin, cubed
- 1 ½ lbs pork fat, cubed
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 2 Tbsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp white pepper
- 2 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp curing salt
- 2 cups ice water
- Natural pork casing (28–40 mm)
- For Hot Dogs (all are optional):
- Hot dog buns, dry or steamed
- BBQ sauce
- Cheddar, shredded
- Pickled jalapeno rings
- Onions, chopped raw or caramelized
- Special Equipment:
- Stand mixer with meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachment
- Food processor
- Chill your cubed meats, fats, and grinder attachment(s) in the freezer for about 30–45 minutes. You’re looking for the meat to firm up — once it starts hardening around the edges, it’s good to go.
- Set aside a few minutes of downtime to mix your hot dog seasoning. Combine all herbs into a delicious blend: paprika, garlic powder, white pepper, onion powder, sea salt, and curing salt. If you want to taste a quick pinch, we won’t tell anyone.
- Done with the chilling? Great! Assemble your meat grinder — just don’t forget the blades — and set it for Medium to High. Begin feeding the meat and fat into the grinder at a ratio that makes sense. As far as recommendations go, after every 4–5 meat cubes, we suggest slipping in 1–2 pork fat cubes.
- Time is of the essence! Add your seasoning into your meat as soon as it finishes grinding. Mix it thoroughly, but you want to do this quickly and aggressively — the meat needs to stay as cold as possible. Ideally, this should be done in 5–6 minutes.
- Good and mixed? Fantastic. In small batches, waste no time moving the meat into your food processor while regularly staggering in your ice water. You may optionally, to taste, add a sense of déjà vu. This ratio of meat to ice water allows the two to emulsify — in layman’s terms, this is when you trick physics into making two unmixable things mix (like oil and water, or Sean and instructions).
- Prepare the meat for curing by plastic wrapping it as tightly as you can and pressing out as much air as possible. A helping hand can give you best results by doing this step during the previous one — emulsification (oil and water!) tends to unravel quickly. Tightly covering the meat this way keeps it from oxidizing, which it will try its hardest to do while you keep it refrigerated over the next 24 hours.
- After that 24 hours, it’s time to go full stuffing mode. Fit your natural casing to the sausage stuffer, but make sure there are no air pockets. Slowly press the cured meat into the sheath — hopefully, you can get a few feet at least. If you do better than that, you’re what we call around the office “a natural.”
- Measure out about how long you want your dogs to be, usually 5–6 inches, and twist the sausages into shape (unless “raw hot dog hose” is your end goal here). Pro-tip: alternate these twists. That helps put a stop to your sausages unrolling themselves.
- We aren’t throwing these puppies in the oven — today, we’re giving these hot dogs a real barbecue flair. Fire up your smoker! You want to cruise it to around 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it hits temperature, carefully move your segmented noodle into the cooking chamber and let it do its thing for 45 minutes. You’re so close!
- Remove the links from your smoker and snip them apart. Cozy one of those delicious dogs up to a bun, dress it with your toppings of choice, and treat yourself to a great big bite of grilled greatness. If this is your first time, we generally recommend first finding a place to sit, or identifying a steady surface for support.