The Grain-Free “Corn” Dog

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Have you been missing corn dogs??  Looking for a tasty grain-free version?  I am excited to report you have found it! They can even be frozen and reheated for later.  In developing this recipe, I have eaten enough “corn” dogs over these past few days to last me a few years!  3 packs of hot dogs later, I have a finished product that would fool a corn dog connoisseur (if such a thing exist)!

I didn't eat all the hot dogs, here is one of my tasters.

I didn’t eat all the hot dogs, here is one of my tasters.

I often get asked what brand of a certain ingredient that I use.  A few recommendations: I use Organic Trader Joe’s Stevia due to the fact that it has no fillers in it and is the least bitter stevia brand that I have tried in the 9 years I have used it. Also, it is relatively inexpensive because its sweetness is so concentrated. I recommend Honeyville Farm’s Almond Flour because they have a great product and the price is right, especially when they run 10-15% off sales (a few times a year).  I also recommend Tropical Traditions for Coconut flour, coconut oil and coconut chips for the same reasons, good quality but also a good price (especially when you can catch it on sale or get free shipping).  As you can see, quality is important but price is always part of my equation when purchasing ingredients for recipes.  Get the best that YOUR money can buy, not someone else’s.  Can’t afford grass-fed beef in the grocery store (I can’t!)?? Consider going in with a few other families and purchasing your meat directly from the farmer.  We have been doing this for the past couple of years and I love it!

Recommending a “Good” Hot Dog

So here are my thoughts on hot dogs. Hot dogs are essentially processed meat with spices. This is not a “whole food” item but something everyone loves to eat (I prefer burgers). Cured hot dogs contain nitrates. Sodium nitrates are used in different manufacturing processes such as in the making of explosives, fireworks and the preserving of meats.  That is a large range of uses!  I admit, I am not an expert on Nitrates but they are definitely something to investigate further and avoid. Nitrates do occur naturally in some food like celery juice.  To be safe, choose foods that use celery juice (or other foods) as a preservative.

“Good” hot dogs should not include: wheat, soy, corn, flavorings, nitrates (unless naturally occurring) and other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Don’t let the packaging fool you, READ the ingredient list. I was shocked to read the ingredients in “Hebrew National” hot dogs, especially when looking at the packaging!  Kosher or not, Don’t Eat them!!

hebrew national

To find a “good” hot dog, I went to Whole Foods and compared brands based on ingredients and price.  

Applegate Beef Hot Dogs:

Ingredients: Beef, Water. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Sea Salt, Paprika, Dehydrated Onion, Spices, Nutmeg Oil, Celery Powder.  Spices: Black Pepper, Coriander, Mace, Nutmeg

The ingredients all look good and they taste OK but the main reason I personally did not choose them was because they were so expensive!  Over $1 a hot dog!!  (Perhaps if they were on sale I would have bought them).
 
Applegate does make The Great Organic Hot Dog made from grass-fed beef (I personally didn’t see these).  This would be a good choice as well.
I chose Nature’s Rancher Brand Beef Hot Dogs (I also picked up some of their chicken hotdogs).

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Take a look at the ingredients.  They were also $2 cheaper a pack than Applegate’s and they taste great!

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The only ingredient in these hot dogs I had to look up was the Lactic Acid Starter Culture. LASC can either be produced from dairy or corn and is primarily used to tenderize the meat. From researching this specific brand, the LASC is produced from corn so this could possibly be an allergy risk for some.

I know some people don’t have access to Whole Foods or Costco or choose not to shop at those places.  Some may not be able to afford these products either and I understand.  Local grocery stores also have some more affordable options. These are not perfect hot dogs (if perfect hot dogs even exist) but would be better than brands like “Nathan’s” and “Hebrew National” which contain lots of junk ingredients (so do the other hot dogs in the store but at least they don’t market themselves as being a healthy hot dog). Check out THIS link for a list of ingredient for most hot dog brands.

Oscar Mayer Selects can be found at Wal-Mart and most other grocers.

Here are ingredients:

BEEF, WATER, CULTURED DEXTROSE*, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF DEXTROSE, SALT, CULTURED CELERY JUICE*, VINEGAR*, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, CHERRY POWDER, LEMON JUICE SOLIDS, FLAVOR, EXTRACTIVES OF PAPRIKA. *INGREDIENTS TO PRESERVE QUALITY.

A few ingredients to question:
  1. Dextrose is a form of sugar.
  2. Sodium Phosphates is a salt used in food processing for texturizing, as an emulsifier, as a neutralizing agent or as an added nutrient.
  3. Flavor- ??? This term is a bit scary and pretty vague.

I admit, these may not be the best dog but if you choose these because that is all that is available, it won’t be the end of the world.

Other suggestions:

Someone recommended Maverick Ranch Brand which I am told is sold at Publix.

Ingredients: Natural beef, water, seasoning (salt, dextrose, mustard, oleoresin paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, spice extractives, natural smoke flavor), vegetable juice powder (celery powder, sea salt), dextrose, lactic acid starter culture.

I researched the ingredients I wasn’t familiar with.  Besides the dextrose and lactic acid starter culture, the only other ingredient:

  • Natural smoke flavor- this is a grey area.  It refers to the burning of various woods and “capturing” the smokey flavor.  I do get scared when I see the term “natural” used, this is very vague.

Schneiders Country Naturals

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Cultured Celery extract , Spice, Dehydrated Garlic, Smoke

These sound great!

Niman Ranch all beef hot dogs.  I heard they are great but I couldn’t find a list of ingredients.

True story brand Organic grass-fed beef hotdogs. Again, I couldn’t find them when researching.

Coleman Natural (online says they are available at Costco) seem like a great brand as well.

Another option, ask your local butcher what are the ingredients in their hot dogs.

I admit, this is not a thorough study of hot dogs but hopefully it will give you a starting point and a few brands to look for and a few to avoid like the plague! (I only mentioned Hebrew National and Nathan’s because people think they are better choices and they are really just as bad as the rest.)

Do you know of a great brand of Hot Dog??  Please post in the comments sections and where you purchase them from!

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Things you will need to make my Grain-Free “Corn” Dogs

  • You are going to need oil for frying.  I used expeller pressed coconut oil from Tropical Traditions.  I purchase it by the gallon. It is heat stable to a higher temperature and it doesn’t taste like coconut oil in case you were wondering. 

coconut oil comparison

  • You are either going to need a fryer (Fry Daddy) or pot. I actually used a small pot because I didn’t want to use a lot of oil. I fried one dog at a time but if using a bigger fryer, you could fry more.
  • Your also going to need popsicle or craft sticks.  I tried using skewers but because they are round, the hot dog would slide around and not stay in place.  They are also pointed at the end so probably not good to hide them in food!  I picked up a pack of 100 for about $2. 
  • Use a thermometer.  The first day I did not and I ended up with burned oil that I had to throw out.  I used a candy thermometer ($3) on the side of the pot (I placed it there before I heated the oil).  You want to keep the temperature between 350-375 degrees F.  If the oil is not hot enough, the batter will absorb the oil and become greasy. If it is too hot, your oil will burn.  Bring oil to temperature on medium heat and as the temperature approaches 350, go ahead and turn down just a little. You will have to adjust the heat the while cooking to make sure the temperature doesn’t drop too much or get too hot.
  • A good hot dog (see above for more details).  I first tried to do a regular size corn dog but because I didn’t want to use a big pot which meant a lot of oil, I decided to do mini ones.  Cutting the hot dog in half worked great and also there is less waste if kids decide after a few bites they are “full.”  Again, it’s about $$!
  • A small bowl but with high sides for mixing the batter. This allows you to coat the hot dog in the batter by “twirling” it around.
  • Or you could use this AWESOME Corn Dog Maker!!
corndog maker

Corn Dog Maker from Amazon

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I will be making these “Corn” dogs for my son’s birthday next weekend!  I will probably make them ahead and just reheat in the oven just before it is time to eat.

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Grain-Free Start Kits

Grain-Free "Corn" Dog

Makes 6; 2 Net Carbs each

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Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan (or fryer), add oil and begin to bring to the temperature of 350 degrees F over medium heat. Use thermometer. Prepare tray with paper towels for when corn dogs come out of fryer.

    In a small to medium-sized bowl, combine almond flour, baking powder and salt with whisk.  Add eggs and whisk.  Let set for 3-4 minutes and then stir again.  Dry off any excess moisture on the outside of the hot dog with a paper towel. This will help the batter stick. Place popsicle stick through cut side of hot dog.

    Once oil is almost to temperature, dip skewered hot dog into batter and roll around until all sides are coated.  This may take a few attempts.  Once oil reaches 350 degrees F, carefully place battered hot dog into oil and allow to cook for 30 seconds. Then using tongs, flip corn dog to cook on other side for 45-60 seconds or until golden brown. You may have to hold corn dog by the thick using the tongs to cook other side. Remove corn dog by the popsicle stick and allow to cool on paper towels (or brown bag).

    **Freeze individually and then reheat in oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (if frozen). 

Satisfying Eats http://www.satisfyingeats.com/

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Comments

  1. Tamara Hamilton says

    Looking forward to trying this. Thanks for all the research and time to make all the steps to recipe easy to follow.
    Oh yeah, I see you received your cast iron Dutch oven from Amazon. Love all your tips.
    Thanks again

  2. preciouspackages says

    Would these work with a different flour? Also any suggestions for a substitute for the eggs? My son is allergic to eggs dairy and nuts and is always sad watching his dad and brothers eat corn dogs so I’m trying to find a recipe that will work

    • says

      I have not tried them with coconut flour yet but I will soon. I have not experimented without using eggs. I do sympathize with you not being able to use eggs because it really does limit your recipe choices. Let me see what I can do! The eggs really help here bind all the ingredients together. I’ll keep yo posted!

    • Kim says

      My daughter is allergic to tree nuts and I’ve had good luck grind down sunflower seeds and using that in recipes that call for almond flour/meal.

  3. Wenchypoo says

    Have you tried this recipe with bratwurst, kielbasa, or other hot dog-shaped meats? I’d probably give it a go with bratwurst–at least i KNOW what’s in that, since I get it from the farmer directly!

    Here’s a decadent idea from the Paleo diet world: wrap a “hot dog” (whatever meat type you want) with BACON, then cover it in batter and fry it.

    • says

      It should work with any type of meat, especially sausage. I prefer sausage myself but was looking to recreate the classic “hot dog” with this recipe. Because of the casing on the sausage, I am curious of how the batter will stick to it. Please let me know (or even post pictures) when you try it! I agree, bacon wrapped anything is a winner! Good luck!

  4. Shea says

    Can you do anything with the oil after you fry these? Or do you have to throw it out. I hate to use up so much of my precious coconut oil. These do look really good though!

    • says

      Shea, I’m with you, I don’t like wasting anything, especially coconut oil. I strain the oil to remove any bits and I put it in quart Mason jars and reuse it. As long as you don’t burn the oil, you can get a few uses out of it! Let me know if you try these!

  5. Mrs. Woods says

    Trader Joes makes an uncured, all beef hot dog that would fill your requirements. For the person with the son allergic to eggs – you can make a corn bread mix using Ener-G egg replacer. (unless corn is an issue too?) Bake corn muffins with little pieces of hot dog inside them. A little healthier without the frying mess?

    • says

      Mrs. Woods, good to know about Trader Joes. In the cookbook I already have “corn” dog bites but I wanted something that looked and tasted like the classic!

  6. says

    I just made these using the almond meal I had ground myself in the food processor. I’m thinking the Honeyville Farms almond flour must be finer because my batter didn’t coat very thickly (even after numerous tries), and it sort of slid off when they were cooking. HOWEVER, they tasted quite yummy – the sweetness was perfect. They are definitely better than just going without corn dogs entirely, even though they weren’t pretty! ;-) I will be trying these again with actual, store-bought almond flour though. ;-)

  7. Jenny says

    Thanks for all the information on hot dogs. My family loves hd’s and I’ve been wondering how we were going to get by without them entirely since we’ve become healthier eaters. This will be a nice treat. Would palm shortening work to fry them instead of coconut oil?

  8. Laura says

    May I suggest pouring the batter into a drinking glass to make dipping easier. Also drying the weiner with a paper towel before dipping helps the batter stay on. Love corn dogs but haven’t made gluten free ones yet, I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks!

    • satisfyingeats says

      Laura, yes, I have the part about drying the hot dog in the directions because it does help the batter stick. I have read where you can put the batter in a cup and this can be done for this recipe if it is doubled since there isn’t a lot of batter anyway! Let me know what you think!

  9. Karen G says

    We made these for a football game snack. They are simple, quick and delish. I am planning on making some for my 2 year old granddaughter whom I watch during the week. Thank you, Melissa.

  10. Sjanettevdsluijs says

    I’ve made them last night and they were awesome! We don’t know Corn dogs in the Netherlands so I don’t know how the originals are but these are super! Thank you for the recipe!

  11. Lindsey Underhill says

    I’m on the fence about the artificial sweeteners, even stevia but then again, don’t really want to use the honey/maple syrup alternative. What are your thoughts about the green stevia powder (stevia leaves ground)

    • satisfyingeats says

      Lindsey, I have not tried the green stevia. I have heard it taste bad so I haven’t even tried it. Check out my page “All about Stevia” for specific brands of stevia that I use. I don’t believe stevia to be an artificial sweetener but I do believe there are better brands than others. I hope this helps!

  12. ColleenJ says

    Bummer this looked great but I couldn’t get it to work. The dough kind of fell of the sides once in the skillet and most of them were almost black in seconds. Also could t get it to stick to the hotdog mostly in clumps

    • satisfyingeats says

      Colleen, did you deep fry them like I did?? Also, if they burnt that quickly, sounds like your oil may have been too hot. Another tip to get the batter to stick is to completely dry the hot dogs first. I hope this helps!

  13. Karen Scribner says

    I am glad to see you making a small size corn dog for kids. When people do not eat wheat they do not need as much food as wheat eaters. It is good not to waste the food (take two bites and throw it away that so many kids do).

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