Corn Dog: The Beef Wellington of Common Folks, On a Stick

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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13 Responses

  1. George Turner says:

    To me, beef Wellington is edging past Turducken and Surf & Turf territory, perhaps on par with cheesy bacon turtles (redneck turtle burgers) and other foods that should have been abandoned in the 50’s as indulgent, overwrought kitsch, like the period’s horrifying tuna, salmon, and sardine molded holiday Jello concoctions.

    The corn dog, in contrast, has an elegant simplicity and an appealing axial symmetry. It’s not a meat, wrapped in a different meat, coated with yet some other meat, then breaded and sauced. It’s just an inoffensive batter dipped hot dog.Report

  2. DensityDuck says:

    As someone on a blog pointed out, the basic idea of Working Class Food is “processed meat remnants wrapped in carbohydrates in such a way that you can eat the whole thing with one hand while walking back to work”, and corn dogs definitely fit that.Report

  3. J_A says:

    On Gordon Ramsey

    I’ve had the “luck” (scare quotes intentional) of eating in several GR’s restaurants through the years, both in New York City and in London (neither a gastronomical backwater). From the first to the last, I’ve been severely underwhelmed. Part of GR’s shtick is to make simple food extremely well, delivered with excellent service. Of the three goals, I’d say the restaurants I’ve been in meet only one: simple food. I don’t recall anything that I could describe as , sophisticate, original, or creative, only seen in a GR restaurant. In no occasion has this *simple food* been excellently cooked: overcooked, undercooked, poorly seasoned, all that, yes. Perfectly done, not even close. And the servers might have mixed up the name of the owner with their own. Not being Gordon Ramsey themselves, they shouldn’t treat customers like GR treats cheftestants on TV, like we should be grateful the doorman allowed us in. After the fourth of fith GR restaurant, I decided it was not worth my time and my employer’s money to give him another chance.

    BTW, I feel the same about Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, which I have tried in the UK and, of all places, Brazil, in that they are not worth my time and money. They are extremely overpriced for the supermarket market value of the ingredients. Having said that, JO restaurants succeed in doing what GR promises: simple food done extremely well. I think JO’s Italian based food is actually simpler to cook brilliantly than GR’s elaboration of British food, so it’s easier for him to deliver that part. But it doesn’t justify it being twice as expensive as the next best similar food in the location.

    On Beef Wellington, I used to hate it, until I got it in a restaurant in a provincial city of Panama (David, if you want to know), owned by a retired Italian chef. I ate it in 2001, and it is still one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life. Alas, that chef died in 2005, an I won’t be able to have it ever again. I think it is very difficult to make Beef Wellington in a way where the meat is not overcooked while the pastry is completely cooked. Tenderloin, which is what I’ve seen mostly used, is a very lean meat, and will dry very quickly if overcooked. Meat pies, Cornish pastries, etc. normally would include enough gravy or fat to keep the whole thing moist. Given my experience with GR’s places, I would never trust them to cook Beef Wellington without giving me a dry piece of meat, the kid apparently is de rigueur in the current White House. To me, overcooked meat is a cow that died in vainReport

    • Michael Cain in reply to J_A says:

      The only time I had Beef Wellington I was on a ski club trip north of Montreal. Several of us were sitting together in the restaurant when the waiter told us there had been a last minute cancellation and asked if we would be interested in the nearly finished Beef Wellington at a discount price. It was excellent, made better by simply lucking into it.Report

  4. fillyjonk says:

    Pasties. Anyone with a little Upper Peninsula Michigan heritage will have Opinions on them. And I do, as my mom grew up there and for many years we traveled there every summer to visit my grandmother and other assorted relatives.

    I didn’t like pasties until I was nearly an adult – I didn’t like “mixed food” as a kid and I wouldn’t touch a rutabaga with a ten-foot pole (and yes, the One True Pastie has both potatoes and rutabagas in it. And I don’t want to HEAR about carrots as a vegetable in them).

    The OG pastie, in my mind: shortcrust, like a heavier version of a pie crust, chopped beef (not ground), potatoes, rutabaga. The original pasties were probably just seasoned with salt and pepper, in my family we tend to use a few more things, usually allspice and thyme and put a little onion in as well. And we usually didn’t use leftover beef but bought and cut up some kind of inexpensive cut and cooked it in a frying pan with the onions and other stuff.

    I’ve had restaurant pasties, my mom’s homemade pasties, pasties I made myself, pasties made in church basements and sold frozen as fundraisers. Generally homemade (or church-basement made) is best, I think it’s that they’re fresher and also the crust tends to be less cardboardy. (These days when I make them, I use a crust recipe from a Tourtiere – a French Canadian pork pie often served at Reveillon or New Year’s Eve. It’s okay, I have French-Canadian heritage too….)

    Sometimes they’re served with gravy but that isn’t my preference. I guess some other parts of the country that had Cornish mining heritage knows them; I knew someone from the Bisbee, Arizona area who knew what they were.

    I’ve been told that in the tin mines the miners would eat the pastie and then throw the crust edges down in the mine for the fae beings that lived there. Since their hands probably had arsenic on them, probably eating the crust where you held it wouldn’t have been a good idea anyway…I’ve also been told some pasties were made half and half, with the meat mixture in one half and jam in the other for “dessert” but I am not sure how you’d keep it from mixing and getting all gross.

    (Cursed thought: an Uncrustable is a modern PB and J version of a pastie….)Report

  5. I know I told you this already, Andrew, but I really really really enjoyed this article.

    I’m not too proud to admit I eat a frightening amount of corn dogs. For some reason, I really like them and ever since we moved to the Basin where affordable restaurants are few and far between, and yet we have to spend hours driving to get anywhere, they’ve become my go-to since they’re easily available at convenience stores and grocery delis.Report

  6. Corn dogs are good. Bagel dogs are amazing, but they seem to have disappeared. Googling for them turns up recipes instead of “You can buy this here.” Amazon has a non-beef sausage with cheese injected into it. (I am not making this up.)Report

  7. George Turner says:

    Korean corn dogs. Instead of corn they use wheat flour, and instead of hot dogs they use cheese. But the stick – the stick is the same.Report

  8. PD Shaw says:

    The Illinois claim to inventing the corn dog (mentioned in one of the links as the modern battered and deep-fried corn dog) is to Ed Waldmire, who called his a cozy dog and set up shop along Route 66.

    His son was well known as the hippy artist who illustrated all of those maps crammed with sites and trivia along Route 66. If you’ve been to a Route 66 tourist site, you’ve almost certainly seen his work being sold in the souvenir shop. Examples here. Bob was also known for traveling the Mother Road in his hippy VW Van, which formed the basis of the Fillmore character in the Disney movie “Cars.” It was originally going to be named “Waldmire,” but Bob didn’t want his name to be used to sell McDonald’s Happy Meals.Report