What’s a Corn Dog?

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A corn dog is a hot dog coated in cornmeal batter and fried or baked, often served at fairs and school cafeterias. Its origins are disputed, but it was popularized in the 1940s. Most corn dogs are mounted on a stick and can be topped with condiments. They can be high in fat but can also be a healthier option when baked.

A corn dog is a hot dog encased in a cornmeal batter and fried or baked. It is intimately associated with fairs, especially in the United States, and also appears in school cafeterias. Depending on how this dish is prepared, it can be high in fat or relatively healthy, and is usually topped with a condiment such as mustard. Many grocery stores have pre-cooked or frozen versions and can be reheated by baking, microwaving or frying.

The origins of the corn dog are disputed. The food appears to have emerged sometime in the 1940s, but several people claim to have invented it. The 1942 Texas State Fair appears to have been where this dish was first popularized, but evidence suggests it had been made and served in the United States prior to this point.

The first corn dogs were rolled a frankfurter in a thick cornmeal batter that puffed up and thickened once cooked. In the late 1940s, the stick was added to the dish to make them easier to eat, and most modern corn dogs are mounted on a stick. Consumers squeeze the toppings down the length of the dog, which can come wrapped in wax paper per order, and eat them like a popsicle.

Because corn dogs can be eaten with one hand with minimal effort, they’re a popular choice at fairs and carnivals. Hot dogs typically pop up at this venue often, as they’re cheap and relatively easy to cook, making them an easy choice for food vendors. Since the corn dog is associated with the right environment in some people’s minds, they are sometimes thought of as special or unique, and are often not homegrown.

When made with high-quality sausage and good batter, a corn dog can approach gourmet level. Most, however, are made from cheap materials that are heavily salted and often loaded with fat as well. Especially when fried, it may not represent the most ideal nutritional choice, with the baked version being the healthier option. Your choice of toppings can also have an impact on the nutritional value of this dish. While mustard is the most common, relish, sauerkraut, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise are also used, depending on region and personal taste.

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