We discovered the legend of the “Hamdog” on the interweb, and realized we had to attempt it. Since we can’t afford to head down to Georgia or wherever to go to the one restuarant that makes the damn things, we took the list of ingredients and a description (hot dog, wrapped in beef, deep-fried, covered in chili, cheese, fried eggs, bacon, and a handful of shoestring fries, all on a hoagie roll) and went to town. Below are the results from our own Test Kitchen, in preparation for Superbowl XL.
We tested both traditional hot dogs and brats, to see which tasted best at the center our meaty tootsie-pop. The answer: hot dogs, hands-down. Brats end up just bland.
Dave broke with the recipe and made three different kinds of beefwrap, so we could test their respective deliciousnesses. Note the neat paper labels denoting different mixtures, like place settings at a meaty, meaty wedding. On the left is a mix of 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground italian sausage, with spicing as desired (in this case, many spices); in the middle, the same meat mixture without spicing; and on the right, 100% ground beef.
Each of the test hamdogs are 1/4 pound of meat mixture over half a dog or brat, following the original recipe which, in one of its few specifics, refers to a 1/2 pound hamburger patty over a full-sized hot dog.
The winning combination, determined after an unhealthy amount of taste-testing: spiced beef and sausage mixture, with hot dog.
The key to making the hot dog and meat patty stay together in the deep-fryer is to roll the dog in flour. Who knew? Without this, the meats will separate when they hit the boiling grease.
Prepare your flattened patty to wrap around the dog. Dave calls this “the meat hammock.”
Make sure the meat gets all around the dog!
Ta-da! You’re ready for battering. Battering, you say?
Hell yes, battering. The recipe is simplicity itself (taken from www.fishermansexpress.com): 12 ounces light beer, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, poured into a bowl and whipped until it’s as frothy as you can make it. We used closer to 15 ounces of beer and still never got it “frothy,” but maybe a step less solid than pancake batter.
After fully coating the hamdog in batter– and be warned, this process feels unclean, in the same way that portions of “The Exorcist” are unclean– roll it around in some more flour until it’s covered.
Starting to look good.
Throw the messy wad into a pan holding 1 1/2 or 2 inches of hot oil, and watch the show. Originally we overheated the oil a bit, which we figured out by all the smoke. Don’t do that.
After 12 to 15 minutes (turn it every so often so that the sides get equally covered), pull it out and towel it off. The hamdogs may look done after about 6 minutes, but trust us, the meat inside ain’t. The half-dogs ended up about the size of large potatoes, and once you get through the delicious, tempura-like exterior, yummy meat awaits. We got some boxed chili to simulate real, non-boxed chili, and recommend it highly as a dipping sauce.
Now that the Test Kitchen has served its purpose, we’ll give the real thing a shot on Sunday, including all the fixins, and hopefully document that too.
Update: Click here for Hamdog: The Final Answer (as told in pictures)