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Hot Dogs!! You've all had one before. You've probably also heard the age old question as to what exactly is in a hot dog? According to wikipedia, common ingredients include: meat trimmings and fat, mechanically separated poultry, preservatives, fillers, and binders.

All I can say to that is.......YUUUUMMMMY!

Today we're going to make hot dogs with ingredients that you can actually pronounce. If you've ever made sausage, you're already halfway there. Same idea, different filling. Let's go!

Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment

This recipe comes from Sonoma Mountain Sausages. If you want to get into sausages and curing meat, this is a great place to start.

This will be a 5 lb batch of hot dogs, (enough to last the week)

Ingredients:

3 lb Beef chuck

2 lb pork butt

1 cup crushed ice

2 T salt

1/2 Cup Skim milk powder

5 tsp garlic powder

4 tsp mild paprika

1 tsp Cure #1

2 tsp white pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground mace

1 tsp ground ginger

Sheep casing

Equipment needed:

Meat grinder

Food processor

Sausage stuffer

Smoker, optional

Step 2: Grinding the Meat

To begin, combine all spices, powdered milk, and salt into a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Set aside.

Cube all your meat separately and chill until almost frozen, this will make it easy to grind everything.

Starting with the beef, grind it with a coarse grinder plate followed by twice through the small grinder plate. Move the ground beef to a food processor. Add a few pieces of ice to the beef and process until a paste forms.

Next, grind the pork like the beef, once through the coarse plate and twice through small grinder plate. Add the spice mix to the ground pork and mix well.

Now add the spicy pork mix to the beef in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add some ice, a little at a time to help it along. You want a smooth firm paste but nothing runny or watery.

Step 3: Stufing the Hot Dogs

Let's get stuffing.

But before you start, take a small amount of the meat and fry it up to make sure your happy with the flavor.

I used sheep casing for hot dogs because they are much smaller than sausage casing, about 5/8th to 3/4 inches in diameter. These are probably the hardest thing to find. I always ask butchers what kind of casing they have, if any. Sausage casing is common, sheep casing is less common. You could use sausage casing and just have a giant hot dog, that would be cool too.

If you want to buy some online, Butcher Packer is a great source for everything meat related.

If your casings are stored in salt, you will want to soak them in some
water to wash away the salt. Attach the casing to your faucet and run water through it to clean further. The same way you use to fill up water balloons in the kitchen, not to fast or they could pop.

Stuff meat into casing and twist off each hot dog to your desired size. I kept mine about bun size, six inches, and yes... I made a couple of foot longs.

I used my kitchen aid sausage stuffer attachment but shortly after purchased a vertical sausage stuffer. They can hold 5 lbs of meat and make everything easier. Highly recommended.

Step 4: Smoking the Dogs

Time to smoke the dogs.

Put the hot dogs into a smoker set at 180 degrees F. Smoke with your favorite wood until the internal temperature of the hot dogs reaches 165 degrees F. To determine this, I used a probe thermometer and put it into one of the hot dogs, somewhere in the middle.

If you don't have a smoker, you can put the hot dogs into a pot of 180 degree F water until the internal temp is reached. I've never tried this method but I'm guessing that the hot dogs won't be the same nice color when they are done, but they will still taste great.

While the hot dogs are smoking, warm up a pot of water until steaming and prepare a large bowl of iced water.

When the hot dogs reach temp, remove them from the smoker and dip them into the hot water to clean off any smoke and grease. Followed immediately by dropping them in the ice water to chill.

You hot dogs should be a nice red color and are now ready to store, freeze or eat. I like to vacuum seal mine in quantities of eight....why?...because that's how many buns are in a package. Why do hot dogs come in packs of 10 and buns in 8? It's a conspiracy I tell you.

Step 5: BBQ Time!

That's it, you've done it. Go fire up the BBQ and celebrate with a delicious hot dog. If you've never eaten a hot dog in a natural casing, you're in for a treat, you'll notice a nice pop when you bite into it. Now go eat....and don't forget the mustard.

<p>Whoa! Awesome write-up!</p>
<p>Great job.</p>
<p>Excellent work, these look so good! </p>
WE ALL KNOW THAT HOT DOGS ARE MADE WITH BEAKS N BUTT HOLES. NOW, WITH THAT BEING SAID, I LOVE HOT DOGS AND YOURS LOOKED REALLY GOOD. MY NEW MISSION? MAKIN DOGS MYSELF. THANKS!

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