How to make Hot Dogs

Hot Dogs

A friend once said, "Once I bought a foot-long hot dog at a truck stop, and my mom looked at me and said, ‘Why do you eat those? Don't you know they're made of hooves and toenails?’" While no one really knows if Hot Dogs are made from hooves and toenails, or lips and assholes, we're pretty sure they're made of shit ingredients.

Let's get back to making dogs using the real deal: beef short ribs. That's right, fuck yeah. We're going to make this almost the same way that Austrian immigrants made wieners, known as sausages from Wien (or Vienna as we call it), over a century ago.

This is based on the recipe from Michael Ruhlman in Charcuterie, and he really knocked this one out of the proverbial ballpark.

Project Time: 2 days

Day 1: 5 hours

Day 2: 2 hours


10 pounds


• Alder Wood Chips
Food Processor
Kitchen Scale
Meat Grinder
Sausage Stuffer


• 15 lbs. beef short ribs
• ¼ cup kosher salt
• 1 ½ tbsp. instacure no. 1 curing salt
• ¼ cup dry Mustard
• 3 tbsp. paprika
• 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
• 1 tsp. white peppercorns
• 6 cloves garlic
• ½ cup corn syrup
• ¾ cup water
• 1 lb. crushed ice

For Stuffing:
• 4 cups water
• 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
• 30 ft. sheep casing

For Smoking:
• 5 lbs. crushed ice

If you're asking the butcher for pre-ground meat, ask for 10 lbs. finely ground short rib meat.

Recipe For These Hot Dogs


Let's Roll

1. Let's Roll

Day 1

Place 3 large mixing bowls and the meat grinder attachment in the freezer around 15 minutes before use. Keeping the equipment cold will help the grinding move quickly.

Measure out all of the ingredients from your shopping list, so that they are ready to work with in the subsequent steps. Measure out ¾ cup water, and place in the refrigerator to keep chilled.

The most important thing to note when making Hot Dogs, is that texture is everything. If the meat gets too warm, your Hot Dog will end up with a mealy texture. Your motto throughout this process should be - keep it cool. Place the meat in the fridge or freezer after every step, to make sure it remains cool throughout the process.

Prepare the Casing

2. Prepare the Casing

Day 1

At least 30 minutes before using the casing:

Rinse the casing well. Add 4 cups water and 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar to a bowl. Place the casing in the water / vinegar mixture.

Pile of Bones

3. Pile of Bones

Day 1

Cut the short rib meat off the bones, and chop the meat into 1-inch square pieces. Using the kitchen scale weigh out 10 lbs. chopped rib meat. Discard the bones, or use them to make a killer stock for homemade phở.


4. Whisky

Day 1

Using a spice grinder, pulverize the coriander seeds and white peppercorns. Peel and mince the garlic cloves.

Whisk all of the spice ingredients together. Place spices in the water, and whisk together until well integrated.

Put water mixture back in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes to keep chilled.

Grind that Meat

5. Grind that Meat

Day 1

Prepare the meat grinder with the small die.

Grind the meat using the small die grate into the chilled mixing bowl.

Mix 'er Up

6. Mix 'er Up

Day 1

Combine all of the ingredients together. Remove the meat mixture from the refrigerator and mix the spice ingredients into the meat by hand.

Set aside a small 3 x 1.5 inch log of meat for the next step. Place the remainder of the meat mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Quenelle Test

7. Quenelle Test

Day 1

Add water to a sauce pan; place on the stove on high heat. Bring the water on the stove top to just below a simmer, and keep at that temperature, about 180°F / 82°C.

Take the small meat log that was set aside and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place in the hot water and allow to poach for about 10 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 150°F / 65°C.

Remove the meat from the plastic wrap and taste. Add spices to the meat as needed.

Pasty Meat

8. Pasty Meat

Day 1

Prepare the food processor with the processing blade.

Add 2 ice cubes to the food processor and pulse until the ice is chopped. This will keep the food processor bowl chilled, and add help the processing go smoothly.

Process the meat in ½ lb. batches, about 1 minute per batch. Place the meat paste in the freezer to keep it chilled when not mixing.

Stuff the Casing

9. Stuff the Casing

Day 1

Prepare the sausage stuffer. Press the meat through the stuffer until the ground meat just barely pokes through the end of the spout.

Push the open end of the sheep casing over the end of the stuffer, and continue to push the casing onto the stuffer until you reach the end of the casing. Tie a knot at the end of the casing.

Stuff the meat purée into the sheep casings and wrap the sausage into a long coil. Once finished, tie off the other end of the sausage. Twist the sausage into links every 6 inches.

Place the Dogs on a cooling rack over top a cookie sheet, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Smoke 'em

10. Smoke 'em

Day 2

The next day, place the Hot Dogs in a smoker heated to 180°F / 82°C using alder wood. Smoke until the dogs reach an internal temperature of 145°F / 62°C.

When ready, remove the dogs from the smoker and chill in an ice bath.

Yeah, Dogg!

11. Yeah, Dogg!

Day 2

Remove from the ice bath and allow to dry slightly on cooling racks.

Place the sausages in butcher paper or sealable plastic freezer bags and use a Sharpie to label the package Hot Dogs: made May 6, 2015. Place in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or the freezer for up to 2 months.

The Hot Dogs can be consumed chilled. For best results, either cook on a grill, or poach in water heated to just below a simmer for about 10 minutes, until the dogs reach an internal temperature of 150°F. Why not whip up a quick batch of homemade Ketchup to squeeze on top?