Ryan Farr's New York-Style Hot Dogs Recipe

Juicy and snappy with just a hint of smoke.

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Serious Eats / J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why It Works

  • Partially freezing the meat helps it grind better and with less smearing as it hits the blade.
  • Adding ice keeps the mixture chilled as it slowly melts and emulsifies.
  • Vertical sausage stuffers provide better pressure and stuff without overheating the mixture, which leads to faster, better textured sausages.

I've been a fan of Ryan Farr, the proprietor and butcher at 4505 Meats in San Francisco, ever since I took my first bite of his transcendent breakfast sandwich from their stand at the Ferry Plaza Market. In a world of sub-par sausages made from excellent meat, here is a man who really has his technique nailed down, I thought to myself. The maple sausage patty was perfectly juicy, with a springy, meaty bite, and just the right level of salt. It's everything you look for in a good sausage.

Since then, I've had the joy of trying a slew of his other creations—their understandably celebrated bacon hot dog, their bags of chicharrones, their head cheese and cheddar brats—all have been outstanding. So when I was contacted a couple months ago about an opportunity to mess around in the Serious Eats kitchen with the man himself, I jumped on it. The first thing that came to mind? Let's see Ryan's take on the classic New York hot dog.

As it turns out, Ryan has spent time in New York and has acquired an appreciation for the snappy, lightly smoked, garlic and paprika-flavored all-beef dogs served at Gray's Papaya and Papaya King.

"When I think of all-beef hot dogs, I think of the small, snappy links served at Gray's Papaya in New York City. They're rich and juicy, griddled until crispy on the outside: the perfect all- beef dog. If you can't find neck, plate, or shank meat, substitute chuck for all of the meat and fat called for in the recipe." - Ryan Farr

Made with excellent beef from Florence Meat Market, these hot dogs just about the juiciest, snappiest, and most flavorful anyone at this office has had, and they came 100% start to finish out of our tiny, Ikea kitchen.

Ryan Farr is the chef and owner of 4505 Meats in San Francisco. This recipe appears in his book Sausage Making.

March 2014

Recipe Facts

Active: 2 hrs
Total: 24 hrs
Serves: 24 servings

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Ingredients

  • 949g boneless lean beef such as neck, plate, or shank, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 137g beef fat, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 23g fine sea salt

  • 10g paprika

  • 5g granulated garlic

  • 4g coarsely ground black pepper

  • 3g onion powder

  • 1g Cure #1

  • 230g ice

  • 20 feet of rinsed sheep casings

Directions

  1. Place the meat and fat on a rimmed baking sheet, transfer to the freezer, and chill until crunchy on the exterior but not frozen solid.

    Lean cubed beef with cubes of beef suet on a rimmed baking sheet.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

    Placing the baking sheet of meat and fat in the freezer.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  2. In a small bowl, add the salt, paprika, granulated garlic, black pepper, onion powder, and Cure No. 1 and stir to combine.

    Bowl with salt, paprika, granulated garlic, black pepper, onion powder, and Cure No. 1.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  3. Nest a large mixing bowl in a bowl filled with ice. Grind the meat and fat through the small die of the grinder into the bowl set in ice.

    Grinding meat and fat into the bowl.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

    Ground meat and fat.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  4. Add the spice mixture to the meat and stir with your hands until well incorporated; the mixture will look homogenous and will begin sticking to the bowl.

    Mixing meat mixture and spices together in a bowl.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  5. Transfer the meat to the bowl of a food processor, add half the crushed ice and process until all of the ice has dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the remaining crushed ice and continue processing until the mixture is completely smooth, 4 to 5 minutes more. Note: The temperature of your meat during this mixing step is critically important. Its temperature should never rise about 40°F (4°C); work efficiently during this step of the process.

    Weighing the ice.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

    Processing the meat and ice in a food processor.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  6. Spoon 2 tbsp of the meat mixture into a nonstick frying pan and spread into a thin patty. Cook the test patty over low heat until cooked through but not browned. Taste the sausage for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

    Pan frying the meat mixture.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

    A piece of the cooked meat patty.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  7. Press a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the meat to prevent oxidation, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Alternatively, you can vacuum seal the farce.

  8. Stuff the sausage into the sheep casings and twist into links.

    Stuffing the sausages into casings.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

    Twisting the links.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

    Finished links.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

  9. Smoke the links (see page 43) at 170°F (77°C), until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 145°F (63°C), 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the sausages from the smoker, let cool slightly, then transfer to the refrigerator and let stand, uncovered, overnight. The hot dogs are then fully cooked, and can be finished on a grill or steamed.

    Cross-section of a cooked hot dog.

    Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Special Equipment

Meat grinder, food processor, vertical sausage stuffer, smoker

Notes

To smoke in your oven, you can place the hot dogs on one side of a rack in a wide, deep baking dish, place smoldering wood chunks on the other, and cover the whole thing tightly with foil to trap the smoke before placing them in the oven.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
123 Calories
8g Fat
1g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 24
Amount per serving
Calories 123
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 422mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 6mg 0%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 201mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)