When we think of Disneyland’s food, three classic items come to mind: deeply fried Chimichangas, greasy Turkey Legs, and crunchy Corn Dogs. What trip to Disneyland is complete without eating at least one of these treats, if not all three? We don’t judge here. But it has to be said here and now Disneyland’s Corn Dogs > Chimichangas > Turkey Legs. That’s just the way it is.
The corn dogs from the Little Red Wagon just off Main Street are crunchy, sweet, savory, and have a real cornmeal flavor reminiscent of the best late summer nights spent wandering around the state fair. Add in some over-sweet and umami ketchup packets, indiscriminately mixed with slightly tart bright yellow mustard and… lips kissing fingers.
Few of us live close enough to Anaheim (or Orlando) to justify owning a Disney year pass. So, it’s very unlikely we get to eat the delightful Little Red Wagon corn dogs more than once or twice every few years. That’s unfortunate.
But the good thing about corn dogs is that they’re not that hard to execute at home. You don’t need any fancy-schmancy kitchen equipment. And, time-wise, we’re talking 15 minutes max. Let’s dive in and make the famously delicious Disneyland Corn Dogs.
You’ll need a wide mixing bowl and something wide to fry the corn dogs in. Instead of running out to drop three digits on a large deep fryer, go to IKEA and spend $9.99 on this wok. It’s perfectly suited for quick and easy deep frying. Next, find some hefty cocktail sticks — six-inches should be long enough (insert Vince Mancini’s, “Hey, Oh!” here).
Always buy good ingredients. Get some nice, organic and preferably grass-fed (or at least local) thick hot dogs. Hebrew Nationals will do the trick but tend to be a little on the big side. The key here is a classic, very savory hot dog flavor. You’ll also need cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sea salt, raw sugar, buttermilk, olive oil, and an egg. Please make sure your buttermilk and egg are from non-factory farmed sources… assuming you’re into that sort of thing.
Before you get started making anything, place your new wok on a burner on medium to medium-high heat. Heat up around three pints of a neutral cooking oil. Rapeseed or Canola does the trick. You want the oil to be around 350F when you start cooking.
It’s probably a good idea to set up some paper towels on a plate already, just so you’re ready.
Measure you sticks against the hot dogs. The stick should go into the hot dog about 2/3 of the way while still having enough handle to hold onto easily.
Combine one cup each cornmeal and all-purpose flour, two tablespoons raw sugar, two teaspoons baking powder, and a healthy pinch of sea salt. Whisk together until well mixed.
Next, add in one cup of buttermilk, two tablespoons olive oil, and the egg and whisk until you have a fairly thick batter. This recipe should be able to coat six larger-sized hot dogs. But that will vary depending on what you buy.
To test your batter and oil, take a spoon full and drop it into the hot oil. If it puffs up and browns in less than 60 seconds, your oil is a little too hot and lower the heat on the burner. The corn dogs need to cook for 90-120 seconds to heat all the way through without burning the outer layer.
Dip your already skewered hot dogs into the batter. If you stand the corn dog on its head, you can use a spoon to dollop batter over it until you have a nice even coating.
Lay the corn dog into the oil gently. You want to maintain an even flow of oil over the whole corn dog. The cornmeal batter should immediately start to puff and brown. After about 45 seconds, roll the corn dog over gently to brown the whole thing evenly.
Remove after about another 45 seconds — or when the color starts to fade from golden to brown. Place on the paper towels and repeat the battering and frying process with however many corn dogs you plan to make.
After your corn dogs have had a fair amount of oil seeped out of them by the paper towels, serve immediately with a nice dollop of ketchup and mustard. Here it’s served with low-sugar Heinz ketchup and fancy-schmancy French Dijon. But old-school full sugar ketchup and French’s yellow do the trick too if you’re feeling extra nostalgic for those hot summer days walking around Disneyland’s streets. Enjoy!