Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hot Dogs of Mediocrity

Now that I had my shiny new badass meat grinder I decided it was time to take another crack at the "Chicago Style Hot Dogs" from Charcuterie. The Hot Dogs of Failure had left me bitter and cranky, rarely do I have that abject of a failure in anything. The only saving grace of that project was the renewed sense of purpose it gave me.

Must. Make. Good. Hot Dogs!

So with my wife rolling her eyes I set out once more to roll my boulder up that hill. Same recipe as before, but this time I used fresh rendered suet. Chopped fine, heated on low for hours until my house smelled like, well, a rendering plant. Here's the problem. I didn't have enough beef suet. So I added some lamb suet.

Yes, I had lamb suet around.

What?!? I usually buy suet, beef, lamb and/or potatoes from Olsen Farms at the Farmer's Market and they were out of beef that day. So we make due.

The problem was that I rendered a pound of raw suet, and got a little over half a pound of rendered fat. The recipe is a bit vague. Is it 1 lb raw suet? Or 1 lb rendered? So on the day of I had to cut it, again, with the last of the Wooly Pig Lard. Otherwise everything went fine. New grinder kicked ass. Everything emulsified nicely. Went into casings fine. Poached till done the next day. Even smoked them this time! Two hours in my Weber Smokey Mountain: six lit coals at the bottom with some alder chips over the top. Added cold water to the pan whenever it got near 90 degrees. Never went over.

But they were just...meh. There was a hint of gaminess from the lamb and the pork fat just didn't have the right texture. I wonder too if I should have got a leaner, tougher piece of beef to grind? The texture was just completely wrong. Not a broken emulsion, just too squishy. Argh. Not complete failure like last time, but not nearly as good as the first time. The lesson is: watch your substitutions! If I do another round of hot dogs anytime soon I'm going to try a different recipe. I do kind of wonder what an emulsified hot dog made using lamb and lamb suet would taste like though...

But in all probability, next time I do an emulsified sausage I'm going for Weisswurst. I know those will be a tasty success.


Trish said...

I love you bro, but I proclaim lamb suet in a hot dog as a culinary no no...

Post a Comment