Homemade Hot Dogs (Charcutepalooza Challenge #7)

homemade hot dogs

After last month’s extremely fun sausage making get-together with Peter and Julia, I was really hoping we’d be able to do this month’s challenge together, too. Alas, a meat blending get-together was not to be this month…which is how I found myself making hot dogs alone.

I can not help but think that if you had told me when I started Healthy Green Kitchen that someday I’d be making hot dogs for this blog, I would have laughed in your face. For two reasons: 1. hot dogs aren’t exactly healthy food. And 2. I don’t like hot dogs.

I honestly haven’t had a hot dog since I was a kid. Ok maybe I’ve had one, but the whole blended meat thing has always skeeved me out, and as you know, I am very wary of the pink salt that’s involved. I considered skipping this challenge entirely (I thought the only alternative to hot dogs was to make mortadella, which, sorry Cathy and Kim, was even less appealing…turns out I could have made bratwurst, which I actually do like…oops), but giving up isn’t my style.

A book I recently received in the mail came to my rescue. It’s called Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It, and it was sent to me by the wonderful folks at Ten Speed Press. I really adore the book: it’s a love letter to all things DIY, and there is a recipe for homemade hot dogs in it. The recipe calls for beef (I used organic ground chuck) and says that the pink salt is optional. Plus the author Karen Solomon recommends stuffing the dogs with a pastry bag. This I had to try. And I mean I really did have to try it this way- not just for the sheer hilarity of attempting such a thing, but because I don’t own a real stuffer.

Anyway, I followed the recipe in the book exactly- meat, spices, ice and all- and low and behold…hot dogs! I won’t lie and say stuffing them with the pastry bag was easy- dealing with the casings was quite challenging and I ended up making the hot dogs one at a time, and tying each one off on both ends, plus I ended up with hot dogs of various lengths. And girths.

Feel free to giggle now.

But after I made some minor adjustments (a little pushing and a little squeezing here and there to even things out) I was honestly kind of shocked at how nicely they came out.

After they were stuffed, I let the hot dogs set up in the refrigerator overnight, then, again as per the recipe’s instructions, I cooked them for 15 minutes in just boiled water. After that, I threw a couple on the grill, eager to see if I’d like how they taste.

But wait! I forgot to tell you that I made my own buns to go with my homemade hot dogs. I used the Buttermilk Bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, but shaped the dough into bun shapes. They came out a little puffier than I expected, but I am not complaining.

While I was grilling up the hot dogs (I make two- one for me to eat, and one to share with my real live doggies)…

…I threw some onions on the grill, as well.

I figured I’d “decorate” my hot dogs simply, with the onions and some mustard (I wanted to make my own but didn’t end up having time to do so…), plus a side of the homemade bread and butter zucchini pickles I made last week.

All in all, I liked these hot dogs. But even though I haven’t eaten a lot of hot dogs in my day, I couldn’t help thinking that maybe the pink salt adds an important flavor component when it comes to hot dogs, though…that cured taste…you know? Also, I think these would benefit from being smoked. I went back and read Cathy’s instructions and sure enough we were supposed to smoke them for this challenge. Oops again.

I must say I learned a lot from this challenge, though. Who know you could make pretty good (and pretty healthy) hot dogs at home? With a pastry bag? Not sure this is a skill I really need in my cooking repertoire, but hey. You never know…

homemade hot dogs

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39 thoughts on “Homemade Hot Dogs (Charcutepalooza Challenge #7)”

  1. Pingback: Worst Foods You Can Eat, Aside From Making You Fat | Body Renaissance
  2. Sounds fascinating! I have been making all my own sausage, bologna & such with our venison for a few years now. Our five kids love hot dogs & I have been trying to find a recipe. It costs us a fortune to send our meat out for progressing, & I would rather know what’s in it by doing it myself! I would so appreciate it if you would share the recipe!

  3. I am forever in awe of your charcutepalooza efforts… Amazing! I bet they were just fabulous with the onions and pickles.

  4. Wow! What a labor of love. Like you, I don’t think I’ve had a hot dog since I was a little girl. These bring back memories…and they inspire me to try making my own. Thank you for sharing with me today. Visiting your blog is an inspiring way to start my weekend. I hope you have a blessed time with family and friends.

  5. Good for you, Winnie…these look great! I’ll be making hot dogs too, but am missing this month’s deadline because I want to make them with my step-daughter ( a hot dog fiend) and she’s currently at soccer camp. Bet the home-mades taste GREAT! – S

  6. Wowee – hot dogs with onions sound so good to me right now. I can’t remember the last time I had a good dog…

    • It’s hard to say if it’s really worth making your own. There are quite a few good natural ones on the market now :)

  7. I’m not a huge fan of hot dogs, but they were an absolute staple during my childhood and I do miss them from time to time. The store bought ones skeeve me out, like you said, so knowing that it is possible to make decently healthy ones on my own…maybe I can indulge in a hot dog a la my childhood every now and then after all! Great post!

  8. Winnie – I commend you for finding a way to get through this. I used the pink salt, I think it does add something. I’m not the hugest fan (as you know) of using it, but I’ve come around that in small moderation, I’m ok with it. I think I want to try it with your technique as well (that cookbook sounds interesting btw). I, too, have a all-natural, homemade sausage maker down the street, makes all of this seem over-the-top, but I could stomach doing a big batch once a year, *maybe*. It’s the clean-up that kills me. On to terrines, I’m not too sure about this one!

    • Oh the clean up is definitely killer! So far I preferred the charcutepalooza sausage patties to the stuffed “stuff”…by far. So much easier. And I do recommend the book highly- it’s really fun.

  9. Who would have thought that hot dogs can be healthy?! I love your post, and that you went ahead with the challenge although it was not one of the foods you like. I had mixed feelings about this challenge too. I really like to be able to control where my food comes from, and when buying pre-made hot dogs you never really know. This was really about the experience and the process for me. My end product was just bad. I think that if I ever try to make hot dogs again, I would definitely just barely smoke them, then simmer them briefly, and finally saute or grill them. But it is such a long process for something that is so readily available.

    • I don’t plan to make them again. As I said in a comment above, I would way rather eat an awesome steak (or even a good burger) than a hot dog (even if it’s homemade)!

  10. I am amazed. I don’t know that I feel up to it at this very moment, but I definitely love knowing that I can stuff sausages by hand! How long would you say it took to stuff those five, if you don’t mind my asking?

    • It didn’t take that long. Honestly I much prefer the breakfast sausage patties I made for charcutepalooza 2 months ago. Super easy and way tastier as far as I am concerned!

  11. I’m with you on not really liking hot dogs, but they turned out really well, and what a fun way to spend some time! How many did you eat?
    I should really try making them as I pretty much make everything from scratch and my kids would love them.
    Love the look of those buttermilk rolls – recipe pretty please.

    • Honestly I just ate the one and plan to give the rest to my dogs. These are just not my thing. I probably won’t post the bread recipe but contact me by email and I can send it to you ;)

  12. Glad I wasn’t the only one that wasn’t overjoyed by hot dogs or mortadella! And how amazing that you managed to stuff by hand, that’s dedication! Well done!

  13. Love it, Winnie, as always! You do such thoughtful Charcutepalooza posts. Glad you found a hot dog you could get behind in both taste and nutrition…and that the doggies got some too. :-) Also – pastry bag? Awesome…

  14. Kudos to you! That’s dedication in my book. I’m really interested in those rolls, particularly because they are made with buttermilk. I don’t have that book, but I have the technique and the base recipe. Have you/will you post it at all? And those pickles, btw, yum!

  15. I know, right? I am glad I have checked this off but really – with fabulous, all natural sausages a 5 minute walk from my home, why would I ever go to all the trouble? Props to you for making these. You will be my inspiration this month when I will be making and or eating things I don’t like to eat and or cook with….

  16. Winnie, this is AWESOME!!! And inspiring! (as you always are)

    I’ve wanted to try hot dogs at home, but don’t have the stuffer, was afraid, yadda yadda ya. But you’ve made it approachable AND seemingly easy! I don’t have a stuffer either, but now that I know I can use a pastry bag, I’m seriously going to have to give this a go!

    and oh yea, you said “girth” hehehe (still giggling)

    • Thanks Jessica- it’s definitely not hard. wouldn’t necessarily do it again, though. I’d just personally much rather eat a great steak :)