Do you remember the first time some kid told you what hot dogs are made out of? I always thought it was a big fat lie to gross me out. There is NO WAY they are made out of intestines. That is insane. Now, after working on Bizarre Foods for over four years, it’s just a reality. But there’s nothing quite like coming to grips with that idea like holding those intestines in your hands.
I had wanted to try making my own hot dogs ever since Not From a Packet Mix posted about making her own sausages. The idea made me quite nervous, however, so in order to motivate myself last weekend I decided if I went through with it and was successful, I wouldn’t have to clean the house.
The attachments for my KitchenAid stand mixer had arrived the previous week, and for whatever reason, I completely ignored all the negative reviews about them. I just thought, well that’s not going to happen to me, because these people aren’t me and don’t know what I know. Which, apparently, is nothing.
So I set about to cutting my beef into strips and feeding it into the grinder, and then sat and watched for a few minutes as a few drops of blood dripped out. Great. Not only was it not coming out, the small amount that did was coated in some metal finish. I had read about this online and so before I started I tried to wipe off all the metal parts with hot water. I did get some of the finish to come off, but perhaps there were some hidden parts.
After about a half an hour of trying to get the meat to grind out, I gave up and spun it through my food processor. It took about 5 minutes.
My hopes for the actually sausage stuffer attachment were a bit higher. This was the part I was most nervous for, because on Bizarre Foods, when we visit a place that makes its own sausage/hot dogs, the machine pumps out the meat quickly and sometimes that causes the casing to burst.
That was sooo not the case here. The meat took forever to come out. And the stupid stuffer attaches to the top of the mixer, so you’re holding your arm up the whole time and can’t let go or you’ll ruin your hot dogs! I stacked a few boxes and wrapped them in plastic wrap so I could set the hot dogs down, which I needed to do often since stuffing the meat down was next to impossible. The device they give you to stuff the meat into the hole creates a lot of suction, so much suction that when trying to extricate the plastic wand, it would sometimes actually lift the mixer instead–and those beasts are heavy. Then once it popped out, it would send the meat paste flying all over the kitchen.
But I didn’t want to give up. Not cleaning the house is my favorite weekend activity.
It took more time than was probably necessary, but it was a success. This recipe, adapted from the Paupered Chef, actually might have been pretty easy if I had had a proper sausage stuffer.
The butcher I went to didn’t have sheep casings and I had to settle for hog, so they’re sausage-size hot dogs.
- 5 feet of sheep casings (too much, but they’re cheap and it’s good to have extra)
- 2 pounds of good quality lean beef
- 1/4 pound of pork fat
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1 cup of ice water
- 1 tablespoon of dry mustard (based on tolerance)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika (based on tolerance
- 1 teaspoon of coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried marjoram
- 2 tablespoons of dextrose
- Cutting board and knife
- Sausage grinder (or food processor)
- Large bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Food processor
- Sausage stuffer
Cut your meat into strips or cubes and put through the meat grinder (or food processor).
Put in a large bowl and add in the salt and water and mix with your hands.
Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
Meanwhile, soak the casing in lukewarm water for 30 minutes, changing out the water midway. After that, put one end of the casing onto the sausage/hot dog stuffer nozzle and run water through it. It worked for me to just put in a little water and then work it down with my hands, otherwise it would be tricky to get a continuous flow going through all of it.
Take out the beef and mix in the rest of the spices using your hands.
In small batches, use your food processor to puree the beef mixture into a paste.
Add the beef into your sausage stuffer and grease the nozzle.
Slide the casing all the way on to the nozzle so it bunches up, then tie the end.
Holding the end of the casing, turn on the sausage stuffer and gently guide the meat through, making sure the casing is filled but not too tightly packed.
When you’re out of meat or patience, tie the end of the casing closed.
Twist the sausage/hot dogs into 6 inch links. They should twist easily. If not, don’t force it or the casing will explode.
Preheat the oven to 200°.
Cook until the hot dogs register 150° inside, about 30 minutes.
Take them out and immediately put them in a bowl of ice water for about 15 minutes.
Then store in the fridge or freezer and cook them how your would a store-bought dog!
Elimination Diet safe: Yes! (Just make sure the spices are OK for you.)