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Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Great Pathfinder Vege-Corn Dog Cook-Off

Okay, we've been promising this for more than a week 

There are all sorts of recipes out there for corn dogs. Many are complex and confusing. This one uses just three basic ingredients. This recipe has been bumping around Pathfinder clubs for ages. I got it from a Pathfinder director out of California. Let me warn you. If you're expecting beautiful pristine looking corn dogs like out of the box, you're likely to be disappointed. These things are ugly.

The ones made with Loma Linda Linketts or Worthington Vege-Links are well-tested at countless Pathfinder weiner roasts campouts and more than a few corn dog fund-raisers in the church gym during the Saturday night basketball game/family night. We sold them for $3 a pop one night and went through a bunch of the big deluxe sized cans of Big Franks and paid for a campout. People couldn't get enough of them.

I'm going to give you the recipe here and also do a side-by-side taste test for you. Atlantic Natural Foods provided me with a can of Loma Linda Big Franks and a can of Worthington Super-Links, the deluxe versions of Linketts and Vege-links. So let's see how the big boys stack up against the familiar regular-sized veggie dogs.

Here's what you need:
  • A Fry Daddy - For this experiment, however, since the Pathfinders have the Fry Daddy, I used a Wok, which actually worked pretty well and didn't spit and pop, so I didn't have much trouble cleaning the kitchen.
  • Skewers - Finding actual corn dog skewers usually requires a trip to a restaurant supply, which is worth it if you're doing a fund-raiser. You can also use bamboo skewers found in the grilling section at your local Walmart or you can use flat shish-kebob skewers that I found elsewhere at Wally World.
  • Paper towels - Lots and lots of paper towels
  • Very large or very deep mixing bowl - you have to be able to submerge the dogs entirely in the corn dog batter.
  • Wire whisk - For stirring
  • Metal tongs - Sometimes the sticks get suprisingly hot after cooking, especially the shorter corn dog sticks.
Super Links on the left; Big Franks on the right.
  1. All the veggie wieners you can eat -There are the brands I've mentioned and a few others you can find in the frozen section of most stores. Stick to the canned ones from LL and Worthington. They're the best, especially for corn dogs.
  2. 1 box of “complete” (add water only) regular-sized box of pancake mix - This usually surprises people. Cornbread mix just won't do it. If you can, get Krusteaz. It's the best.
  3. 1 Box Corn Meal Muffin Mix - Be careful here. Most muffin mixes use lard which can get you in trouble at an Adventist fund-raiser.  Martha White brand is safe. They use vegetable oil in their muffin mix.
  4. Gallon bottle of Canola Oil - Healthier oils are best. That way you can tell your wife they're made with "mono-unsaturated" oil when she fusses at you for how many corn dogs you ate.) Safflower oil works too. Some like peanut oil best for corn dogs. You just have to watch out for people with peanut allergies. There's always one!

  1. Fill the Fry Daddy - About 3/4 full enough to cover the entire wiener.  Plug it in and let the oil heat up while you make the batter.
  2. Make the Batter -  In the big mixing bowl, dump a regular size box of pancake mix and 1 box of corn meal muffin mix. Pour in water and whisk it up till the batter is smooth and not too thick, not too thin.
  3. Prepare the Weiners - Wiener preparation is the secret to delicious homemade corn dogs. You have to thoroughly dry off the wieners. I use paper towels myself. Wet wieners prevent the batter from adhering to the dog long enough to cook. When cooking for a crowd, have one person in charge of weiner drying. Skewer the dried wieners on the corn dog sticks.
  4. Dip the Corn Dogs - Dip them into the batter bowl and make sure they are thoroughly coated with batter. Lift them from the batter one at a time, letting the excess batter run off.  
  5. Set the Coating - Set each dog gently into the Fry Daddy. Hold the corn dog by the stick, suspended in the hot oil for about 10 to 15 seconds to allow the batter to skin over. Don't let them touch the bottom of the fryer until the outside is firm.
  6. Rotate the Dogs through the Oil - Put them in one at a time and allow the outside to cook enough so that the next dog you put in won't stick to the first one.   I like to put them in from right to left so I know that the one on the left is always the one ready to come out soonest.  Let them cook till they are golden brown.  Don't let them get too dark or they'll taste burnt.
Serving Corn Dogs
When the dogs are ready, I just put them out on a big serving plate next to a couple of open bags of chips and a stack of paper plates. I set out bowls to put the ketchup, mayo and mustard in rather than letting the guys dip straight out of the jars. That way, I don't have to throw away half a jar of mayo because it's "contaminated".  It just costs less to put it out a bit at a time in bowls with a hand-washing obsessed adult in charge of filling the bowls. Also, you don't lose a whole jar of condiment if some dribbly kid dips his weenie in the mustard jar. You learn this stuff if you do Pathfinders a lot.*

The Results of the Test:

I used bamboo skewers with the Super-links and shish-kabob skewers with the Big Franks so I could tell them apart (see picture). And I did my best to give them a fair side by side comparison, both with ketchup and without. To be frank (no pun intended), this old dog (that one I did on purpose) ate my corndogs so fast it was hard to tell. Man those things are good. Ugly as all git-out, but delicious.

I like both types of super-sized vege-weiners almost equally as well. Which one you will like best kind of depends on whether you're a Linkett or a Vege-Link man. Big Franks definitely come off the Linkett family tree and Super-links are pretty much a giant Vege-Link.

I, myself, have always preferred Vege-links as my dog of choice. They have a smoother taste that I prefer when I'm burning a vege-dog over an open campfire.  So I leaned toward the Super-Links in my judging, but only just. My Sweet Baboo, the culinary expert in the family had no opinion at all on which was better, other than that I kind of burn one of her corn dogs.

I'll just say that, your choice of "Super-sized" corn dog is probably going to depend a lot on which regular-sized veggie dog you prefer. Really, guys, it's a corn dog!  It's hard to go wrong with any sort of weiner if you coat it with corn batter and deep fry it.

For you militant vegans out there, yes, I know that this is probably not the healthiest sort of vege-food when prepared corn dog fashion. It is, however, I'd venture to say, the healthiest corn dog out there (unless you can show me some batterless, baked tofu dog on a stick and then I'd be willing to bet it's not nearly as tasty as these crispy beauties).

So I'm going to call it a tie for right now, with me buying regular-sized Vege-links for most of my future corn dogging efforts. There are more of them in the can so it feels like you're getting more corn dogs for your money. But I'm just weird like that. Anyway, enjoy some corn dogs soon. If you help with a Pathfinder club, make you some money. You'll make more every time you do this as word gets around about how amazing Pathfinder veggie corndogs taste.

* No Pathfinders were harmed in the making of this weblog.


  1. My brother-in-law used to man the corndog stand at campmeeting at Collegedale. He mixed dill relish with mayonnaise for a quick "tartar sauce". Just Mayo makes a really scrumptious one. Next time you do corndogs, try 'em with the sauce. They're the bomb!

    1. I have fond memories of this very sauce.. We added a little mustard to it though.

  2. do you have the recipe for the Vegetarian Scallops. It also was served with a pinkish color sauce. Many years ago. I can remember and I cant find a recipe. TIA

    1. I don't know about "THE" recipe. My wife makes them with a corn meal coating and we eat them with tartar sauce like you would with fish or seafood. If I find anyone who makes them with a pink sauce, I'll post the recipe here. - Tom