I’ll hesitate every time someone offers me a hot dog, but make it a corn dog and I’m lining up before the shop opens up with a packet of mustard in my clutches. The sweet corn coating and salty dog work some snack magic that I find irresistible, but it’s not something I would ever take the trouble to fry up at home, and I won’t try to convince you to do so either. You can get all the sweet and salty flavours of the beloved, battered dog in a more home kitchen-friendly, Super Bowl-ready, feeds-twelve at once, hands-off way. Just make a corn dog casserole.
Let’s face it, hot dogs in cornbread are utterly delicious. This ballpark sausage gets a lot of hate, but they’re tasty, salty, and juicy, and cornbread is the best vehicle to support these attributes. (Better even, I dare say, then the hot dog bun.) For this method, I chopped up a few franks into rounds and folded them into a corn bread batter. The finished snack bread completely exceeded my expectations for flavour. The hot dogs stayed juicy and even imbued the surrounding bread with a welcome saltiness, and the cornbread was true to form, providing that sweet flavour and slightly gritty texture. You even get the crisp crust on top that you’d enjoy on a proper corn dog.
You can use any cornbread recipe you like, from boxed Jiffy to scratch-made, but I suggest leaning toward the sweet and cakey, versus dry and crumbly. Real corn dogs on a stick have a sweet corn-batter coating, so I think it harkens the flavour more. Otherwise, there’s nothing specific you have to do besides decide how hot doggy you want each slice of casserole to be. I used this cornbread recipe, and it was stellar. I sliced four hot dogs into rounds, roughly a quarter to a half inch wide, and folded them into the batter before pouring it all into a 7-inch by 9-inch baking dish. I’d say that’s the minimum dog-count you’d want in order to have a few slices of sausage distributed in every serving. Use another hot dog or two for a higher ratio, but don’t do more than eight hot dogs. At that point, you’ll be making a different dish. Bake the casserole per the cornbread recipe’s instructions.
If you’re so inclined, you can stir grated cheese, chives, or green onions into the batter for a bit of interest and flavour. I sprinkled in a tablespoon of dried chives but stopped myself before adding cheese, which was difficult, but I managed. Corn dog casserole makes for a fun Super Bowl snack, or side dish at a backyard cookout with some baked beans and macaroni salad. Don’t forget to have the ketchup and yellow mustard handy.
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