Ottawa restaurant Babylon will be hosting 'Beer, Barley and Food' Thursday night, an event that brings local chefs, brewmasters and musicians together in support of Mary's Meals, a charity that provides meals to children in struggling countries.

Steve Mitton, the owner and chef at Murray Street, will be taking part in the event, and as part of All in a Day's weekly D is for Dinner segment, he offers up his recipe on making hot dogs from scratch.

Home-made hot dogs

Here’s a standard hot dog recipe, you can use any as a base. Mitton encourages people to just play around with some of the ingredients after you’ve nailed it a few times. He uses smoked but raw pork belly instead of the lean pork and pork fat, and throws in some grated cheese as well.  He uses Clocktower Kölsch beer in place of the milk! Have fun with it!

Ingredients      

  • 3 feet sheep or small (1-1/2-inch diameter) hog casings.
  • 1 pound lean pork, cubed.
  • 3/4 pound lean beef, cubed.
  • 1/4 pound pork fat, cubed.
  • 1/4 cup very finely minced onion.
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped.
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground coriander.
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard seed.
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon freshly fine ground white pepper.
  • 1 egg white.
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste.
  • 1/4 cup milk.

Preparation

Prepare the casings (see instructions below). In a blender or food processor, make a puree of the onion, garlic, coriander, marjoram, mace, mustard seed, and paprika. Add the pepper, egg white, sugar, salt, and milk and mix thoroughly.

Grind the pork, beef, and fat cubes through the fine blade separately. Mix together and grind again. Mix the seasonings into the meat mixture with your hands. This tends to be a sticky procedure, so wet your hands with cold water first.

Chill the mixture for half an hour then put the mixture thorough the fine blade of the grinder once more. Stuff the casings and twist them off into six-inch links. Parboil the links (without separating them) in gently simmering water for 20 minutes. Place the franks in a bowl of ice water and chill thoroughly. Remove, pat dry, and refrigerate. Because they are precooked, they can be refrigerated for up to a week or they can be frozen.

Preparing the Casing

Hot dogs

Want to learn how to make delicious hot dogs? We're on the case. (Courtesy Steve Mitton)

Snip off about four feet of casing. (Better too much than too little because any extra can be repacked in salt and used later.)

Rinse the casing under cool running water to remove any salt clinging to it. Place it in a bowl of cool water and let it soak for about half an hour. While you're waiting for the casing to soak, you can begin preparing the meat as detailed above.

After soaking, rinse the casing under cool running water. Slip one end of the casing over the faucet nozzle. Hold the casing firmly on the nozzle, and then turn on the cold water, gently at first, and then more forcefully. This procedure will flush out any salt in the casing and pinpoint any breaks. Should you find a break, simply snip out a small section of the casing.

Place the casing in a bowl of water and add a splash of white vinegar. A tablespoon of vinegar per cup of water is sufficient. The vinegar softens the casing a bit more and makes it more transparent, which in turn makes your sausage more pleasing to the eye. Leave the casing in the water/vinegar solution until you are ready to use it. Rinse it well and drain before stuffing.