View Full Version : hot dog!

07-14-2013, 07:57 PM
Tried to make some hot dogs today!

Well first off I got to say, making sausages is a lot of work! I had fun, and am not finished yet, but had to take a pause.

The sheep casings are a PITA to work with! Lots of holes! I thought you're supposed to stuff them fairly tight, but ended up rupturing several more during the link making.

I tried to keep links uniform, but between the holes and ruptures, and tying those off, i ended up somewhere between a Jimmy Dean breakfast link and a regular length hot dog. I made a few longer and a few shorter, due to ruptured casings. These got put on the flat frog mat side.

10 pounds of chuck give or take a 1/4 pound (I had 4640 grams whatever that is - some was water weight from the ice/water mix) is a LOT of hot dogs. I linked them up on and hung them on some square rod and they're smoking for an hour. I am thinking strongly of smoking them to IT 155 instead of poaching to desired IT 155-158 after the hour of hot smoking.

The emulsifying looks kinda ugly, but hey, its hot dogs, and at least I KNOW whats going in them right?

Can't get the same perfection the professionals get with the emulsifying as I have read and heard from others. I'll see how I did later. I'm gonna give them a ice bath when they hit desired IT, and then into the fridge until tomorrow for packaging and a taste sample.


07-15-2013, 06:11 AM
Well first off I got to say, making sausages is a lot of work!
You'll find that depends greatly on the type of sausage. some are actually quite easy and straight forward. But hot dogs... so far the two batches I made were a LOT of work!

I'm still not happy with the texture yet (more experimenting to do). I can't use any of the typical binders used (soy protein concentrate or Non-fat Dry Milk), so next time I am going to fore go the emulsification and just try a fine grind.

It sounds like you got some bad sheep casings. Getting a few hole/ruptures is normal, but not a lot. How long and how are you soaking them?

07-15-2013, 07:13 AM

Here are some pics of the process.

I got the casings from TSM. Soaked overnight, after a good rinse under running water to removed the salt. Straight tap water. soaked in a large pot. You didn't mean length of the actual casings? I didn't flush until just before stuffing. Sheep are much harder to work with than hog I think. There is a local sausage shop I plan to visit this week. I'm going to ask where he sources his casings.
I'd fill (partially with water) and carry from sink to stuffer on opposite countertop. At least 3/4 had holes some rather large, such that most of water leaked in the couple seconds it took to bring to stuffer.
I made do, but sheesh! After stuffing, I left the holes/ leaks, and tied them off to isolate the large ones with string during the link making. I need a ruler or something to get more uniform links. Made additional holes while I was linking due to pressure from twisting. I got better at it towards the end. Certainly experience is a part of the equation.

You can see my cheap sausage hanger in action on the 4 star! I laid some of the Frankenstein links on the frogmat that were too badly ruptured, or shorter links that had multiple repairs. Plus I ran out of room! Need some more of those square rods for the other side! I wish the racks extended further for more sausage hanging room! You can see where some links were in contact with another and didn't get any color. I ended up smoking them for nearly 2 hours, but finally used a hot bath to get them to 155-160 IT since it was getting late.

Oh, and I forgot To prick the air bubbles!! Not many however given all the holes!

Gave myself and my dog a small sample before bedtime of a couple mini links right out of the ice bath. Yummy. Tastes a lot like a not dog but with more flavor. I used salt, cure #1, garlic powder, paprika (spicy variety, but it was rather old and may be less strong. I used about 50% more than called for as it was the last of the package and I wanted to use it up). Also added white pepper, mace, and I think that's it. Recipe straight out of the green Marianski book.

By the way, I've perused the Marianski book. I think its a great complement to the Kutas book. In fact, I think its more precise in the details and process for the most part. If I had to buy just one, it would be the green Marianski book, hands down.

Oh one other thing. I used my 3mm grinder disc that I got from the source you recommended. Not easy to clean out the remnant meat from the holes on this. Any tips/suggestions? I resorted to a pipe cleaner. Tedious.

I used my food proc to emulsify, I was monitoring the meat temp. I added considerably more ice water. In fact, I added the prescribed amount in bulk to the entire meat mass and then more to the portions inside the processor to both keep cool and help to thin it so it would mix and not just re chop the meat lying along the bottom. I think I could've processed for a significantly longer time than I did. I am not entirely sure if I'd have achieved any better emulsification. I'll cook up a dog tonight and slice into it and post a pic. I think that towards the end of the emulsifying step, that I was getting better at sensing when to stop, my early portions were probably a little under processed.


07-15-2013, 07:30 AM
A thought here...You can try using collagen casings for your "dogs". They're a lot tougher. you have to tie the links because you can't twist them, but after they're cooled after smoking they slip right out of the casings. Unless of course you're wanting the casing on.

07-15-2013, 08:23 AM
Hmm. Interesting. Ill have to look into that.

07-15-2013, 02:21 PM
I would rather have a ugly dog with a snap than a pretty dog without it!

07-15-2013, 02:43 PM
It sounds to me like you got some horrible sheep casings. I have never gotten holes to the extent like you described in mine.

Sheep casings always seem to take more work and time to stuff because they're smaller. It takes 2 - 3 times the length to stuff a pound of sausage in sheep casings compared to hog casings.

I would rather have a ugly dog with a snap than a pretty dog without it!

I agree! Maybe it's me, but if I'm going to go through the trouble of making hotdogs (and they are a lot of work) then I dang sure want that snap you can only get from natural casings. I think that makes them worth the trouble.

I do use the collagen casings (instead of hog casings) for beef smoked sausage or occasionally for snack sticks, but that's about it. I really prefer natural casings.

My soaking process, for sheep or hog casings, is a triple soak like this:

Initial soak: is more of a rinse, both inside and out to remove the majority of the salt. I put the casings in water (about 90) rinse them off thoroughly then use a small funnel to rinse each one out with clean warm water. As I rinse each one out, it goes into a fresh batch of warm water for a second soak.

Second soak/rinse: I let them soak for about 30 minutes to an hour then they get rinsed out a second time. As I rinse one out, again with fresh water and a funnel, they go into another batch of clean warm water for the final soak.

Third Soak: I add a small amount of vinegar (1 or 2 tsp. for a quart of water) and let them soak for a minimum 2 to several hours or even overnight. They then get rinsed out again and then onto the stuffing tube or into room temp water, while waiting their turn to get stuffed.

When loading them onto the stuffing tube, make sure the casings are really wet. If they're tight, it helps to rub the stuffing tube with a little vegetable shortening first.

07-15-2013, 06:23 PM

Thanks for the tips! I will definitely use these the next time I stuff!

The dogs definitely have the SNAP! Whole family loves the taste. Texture is pretty good my first time out. The slice pic somewhat flawed due to using a cheapo serrated knife. I think I am going to seek reparations for the crappy casings...

I'll post a pic soon showing the cross section.


07-15-2013, 08:09 PM
You can see my cheap sausage hanger in action on the 4 star!

Hey, I think that worked perfectly! That is a nice little unforeseen feature of the 4 Star to be able to easily hang sausages like that!

Can you describe your emulsifying process in detail? I looks like you may have approached it a little differently than I did resulting in a better texture. I may have over-emulsified and am open for some tips myself!

07-16-2013, 07:07 AM
I would rather have a ugly dog with a snap than a pretty dog without it!

I would too. Just tryin' to give the poor guy some options.:(

07-16-2013, 11:37 AM
Here is the pic of the texture. Better than I was expecting.2310
I cut two (with a serrated knife and a little uneven on one cut). I wrapped loosely in a damp paper towel a nuked it briefly so as to eat it afterward! As I mentioned, I used the recipe (with a little paprika boost) straight from Marianski green book. For my 4640grams of meat, I measured about 500 ml of crushed ice (my new freezer kenmore elite, doesn't crush very well with many barely cracked cubes) and then filled with chilled water to 500ml mark, giving a tad over 500 ml probably close to 550 ml ice water. I mixed this with entire meat mass by hand, into which I had previously mixed the seasonings mixed/dissolved in another probably close to 180-200 ml water.

Then I added in small batches, the meat to the processor (kitchen aid) with large bowl and knife. At first my batches were a bit big and needed to redistribute the meat, and add additional ice water mix to get it to blend. At first I was paranoid the temp would rise too fast and I'd lose the emulsion, so I kept stopping and checking temp. After a few batches, I got better at it, and started adding about right from the get go, and additional half cup or so of crushed ice & water and processing for about 3 minutes. Much less temp checking as I realized I was nowhere near mid 50's even when it ran for 2-3 minutes continuous. I think of all the batches, I did not process any batch more more than 5 minutes. All in all it took a little over half an hour or so I'd say, maybe closer to 45 minutes,with probably 8-10 batches, rough guesstimate. I transferred to a big bowl that rested in the fridge while I was processing. That all got added to the stuffer in a big mass. Stuffer indicated it was over half full and its supposed to hold 30#. I think I read that beef is better than any other meat at emulsifying with and binding the water?? My meat was 100% beef chuck roast from the local Publix supermarket. I ground it all with the 3 mm plate, which probably made it easier to emulsify.

I still need to portion and package the links. Maybe tonight.

07-16-2013, 03:54 PM
Dang tricky those look freakin awesome. What kinda machine u need to do that, stuff them ect?

07-17-2013, 06:23 AM
Thanks! A year ago I would have never even thought about making hot dogs, or any other sausage for that matter. TentHunter has converted me. His posts and pics of his sausages have converted or rather corrupted me!

You can read about the equipment options in the "searching for the cure" portion of this forum.

To grind the meat, I bought a meat grinder from Cabela's. Mine is the same unit TentHunter has. A bit pricey, but its a total workhorse, and you can get different attachments for it to do other chores. The grinding is actually a very short part of the whole process with a quality grinder like this. Far better than my kitchen aid mixer was, but that was sufficient for small amounts of meat I suppose. I bought additional plates for different size grinds through an eBay vendor, butcher baker I believe.

To stuff the sausages, I bought a stuffer, also from Cabela's. They offer a motorized option for three sizes of stuffer. The size is how much meat they hold, but you can always refill them if you're working with larger quantities of meat than your stuffer will hold. The motorized stuffer allows one person to stuff by themselves. A non motorized stuffer might be more difficult to manage with a single person. As I've never tried without the motor (operated with a foot switch), I'm not really sure of how to do without. Might be possible, but might be difficult to pull it off. Some people stuff with their grinder, though I've never tried this either. I hear it takes longer and is more tedious.

I used natural sheep casings from TSM via amazon. Not too happy with the quality as mentioned above. Lots and lots of holes.


07-17-2013, 07:25 AM
Thanks Dick!

Thanks for the details on your emulsifying process. It is a different than what I did and your results look much better!

So to be clear, you ended up adding some additional ice water than what the recipe originally called for while processing/emulsifying?

07-17-2013, 11:38 AM
Yes. I added more water than called for. Again though, I used 100% beef, which I think has more ability to absorb the water and emulsify than other meat. Think I read that in the green book somewhere. I have these small little not-quite ramekins from le creuset that are stone or ceramic. I guesstimate they hold about 6-8 oz and I just hit the ice dispense on the freezer and then the chilled water to fill them roughly 1/3 -1/2 way and dumped into the processor. That amount was for each batch, and the amount of meat I added to each batch was just a eyeball amount so as not to overfill the processor. I'd add a little more as well, just so it would start spinning and mixing the meat, rather than having the blade just processing the bottom layer. At times it almost looked like a large meatball was rotating around the center rotating shaft kind of like dough might. That was what I was shooting for with the water additions. I'd also stir up with a spoon to redistribute, and add smaller portions of water to get that going, especially if I had too much meat in the processor. I think I just got luck is all, because it felt really strange to be standing over a food processor and adding ground meat and ice water!! I thought, this is going to be a terrible mess and I just wasted $25 dollars of beef to make hotdogs that I can buy for half the price!

Went to polish deli for lunch break to pick up some Kabanosy. I also bought some polish style old fashion hunters sausage, and some polish dry cure kielbasa sticks, and some "Metka" which I have no idea what it is, but also said T-Wurst. Semi soft but not truly spreadable that I could tell. Could slice it and they had two textures, fine and coarse. Fibrous casing with a metal clamp to seal. It was chilled. Tasty! I couldn't talk to the owner, but his wife was there. He only works in the mornings, and she didn't know anything about the sheep casings they use. I can see that they must use smoke sticks because you can see the impressions that they leave on the meat. I think my metal rods tend to cause the links to contact one another, perhaps because they are so narrow. I may end up building my own sausage rack at some point, but for now the rods a cheap and easy solution. I am going to stop into the deli sometime during the week in the morning so I can talk to the owner and ask/see how he operates. Maybe I can be an apprentice or something! I am curious to see the emulsifying process, stuffer, and dry curing system he uses. Hopefully he's not one of those secretive types.