In search of a Corny Dog

In Mexico City

Creative county, state, world’s fair and sporting event concessionaires have always been looking for creative ways to put delicious food into portable form so that attendees can eat without the necessity of a table or a fork.

The burger was allegedly created by a Paris, Texas resident, Fletcher Davis, known to friends and family as Uncle Fletch, who traveled to St. Louis in 1904 to sell Hamburg steaks between a couple of slices of bread to world’s fair attendees walking the fair grounds. The hamburger was born, and the rest is now history.

Some 38 years later, at the Texas State Fair, a couple of enterprising brothers named Carl and Neil Fletcher decided a more portable form of the popular hot dog was possible.

The Fletcher Brothers took a Frankfurter wiener, stuck it on short wooden skewer, dipped it in a thick corn meal batter, deep fried it, slathered it with mustard, and Wha! La! The corny dog was born.

Now, the popular concession stand phenomenon, also known in some circles as a “corn dog”, hasn’t quite reached rock-star status, like the burger, but it’s still an interesting and tasty treat. Like its predecessor, the burger, it’s a quirky edible treat, that foreigners, including Latinos, want to try, and try again.

Corny dogs bear a strange resemblance to some types of meat-filled tamales, a staple of Mexican cuisine. So, residents of Mexico City should have an even stronger affinity to this odd tamale/sausage morph.

We went in search of a stick with a corny dog attached in Mexico’s big capital city. And we found one. And the good news is you can guzzle down a pint or two of German beer while you’re trying this culinary treat.

Where can I find it, you ask?

At Grüner Hofer Biergarten atop the Mercado Roma in Roma Norte. This place is a pretty good spot to go for a brew. Lots of variety in that department, including tasty local artisanal beers and some good European imports.

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We provide a blow by blow account of how we gussied up our corny dog to create a culinary masterpiece.

Our gussied-up Corny Dog

at Grüner Hof Biergarten

Gruner Hof Biergarten has a corny dog on the menu for a reasonable 95 pesos (about $4.75 US). It’s actually two mini-corny-dogs, each about four inches long, each on its own wooden skewer. It comes with a side of French fries, a squirt bottle of mustard, and a ramiken of ketchup.

The customary way of eating a corny dog, other than holding the stick and biting away, from the top down, is to slather a bit of bright yellow mustard all over it before chomping away. Adding ketchup is popular as well. The Gruner Hof version gives you all you need to do it the “old fashioned way”.

But since the Biergarten has tables, plates and spoons, we figured we’d have the ability to be a bit more creative with our corny dog?

They don’t serve sauerkraut as an accompaniment, as they do with their German sausages. But they provided me with a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut on request. The sauerkraut at Grun Hofer’s is delicious. Homemade. Sweet. A great accompaniment to any sausage.

And adding just a dab of sauerkraut to every bite of corny dog provides a great improvement, in my opinion, over the mustard alone.

But I decided to be even more creative.

There’s a vendor downstairs that sells artisanal salsas called Chilipines Gourmetier. I purchased a small jar of their Mango and Arbol Chili salsa before I headed up to the biergarten.

With each bite of the skewered corny dog I would dab just a touch of the slightly sweet, slightly hot salsa on top of the sauerkraut.

Alakazam! With the addition of the sweet relish to our deli mustard-slathered and kraut-topped corny dog, we had created a culinary masterpiece.

Whether you eat it with nothing more than some mustard (they have a sweet mustard as well as the standard bright yellow stuff), ask for the sauerkraut, or bring your own little bottle of salsa to add some extra punch, you’re in for a treat.

The Fletcher Brothers would be proud of the ingenuity you used to better their already delicious creation.

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