Have you ever watched Jeopardy? That’s silly, of course you have. The Before and Afters are some of my favorites, mostly because of their deft wordplay, which usually comes out of the contestant’s mouth in a clunky and self-doubting manner: “What…is…The Sweater Song of Ice and Fire? No? What is…Victoria’s Secret of Nimh?
This recipe is kind of a before and after. A barbecue staple and my childhood favorite. Cheddar jalapeño cornbread isn’t a particularly new revelation in the kitchen, but adding it to corn dogs certainly is for me. Corn dogs are my embarrassing childhood favorite. My mom kept dozens of them in the freezer. On family trips, I would always ask (or more likely tearfully demand) that we eat at a Denny’s, which carried corn dogs at the time. I might have eaten them all, because I don’t believe they’re on the menu any more.
I haven’t had one in a while, but nostalgia creeps up on you out the blue sometimes. So in an effort to make corn dogs a little bit more sophisticated, which, let’s be honest is a Sisyphean task when you’re talking about a hot dog on a stick that’s deep fried, I had a little fun with the batter. The bite from the cheddar and heat from the jalapeño go perfectly with the smokey hot dogs. Dipped into mustard, it’s the perfect bite of nostalgia.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup grated cheddar
2 tablespoons, finely chopped jalapeño
1/2 quart vegetable oil for frying
8 beef frankfurters, cut in half
Let’s Be Frank are the best
8 wooden skewers
mustard, for serving
I don’t have a deep fryer, so in order to fully submerge the corn dogs, I cut the hot dogs in half, cross ways, then put a shorter skewer in them before dipping. This meant they easily fried in a wide, 4 inch deep fry pan. For a traditional corn dog, use a deep (at least 12 inches) pot or deep fryer and fill with enough oil to cover a corn dog submerged vertically.
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in egg, buttermilk, cheddar, and jalapeño.
Preheat oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Insert wooden skewers into frankfurters. Roll frankfurters in batter until well coated.
Fry 2 or 3 corn dogs at a time until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.