Food & Drink | November 22, 2022 7:00 am

This Recipe for Half-Smoke Pups Should Be Your Post-Turkey Go-To

Easy, delicious and a great choice to bring to the potluck

Half-Smoke Pups
Half-Smoke Pups
Fight Club

A half-smoke isn’t just a staple of any hot dog cart in Washington — and the official dog of the Nats. The smoked pork-beef hybrid is also chef Andrew Markert’s go-to.

The Fight Club chef first encountered them at Ben’s Chili Bowl. “My buddy Alex, who was my co-worker at Citronelle, was a regular there,” says Markert. “I remember he just waved at the line and they said ‘Yo, Alex, what do you need?’ He just said ‘two with chips.’”

Markert was sold at first bite.

“It was smokey and spicy, and hit all the cravings of a late night after work,” he says.

His heart and palate thus conquered, Markert was inspired to create his own “pups” — a mini half-smoke corn dog bite ideal for the holidays or as a Monday Night Football treat.

He starts his recipe with store-bought half-smokes — but not just any sausage will do. He’s partial to the ones from Logan’s Sausage, a three-decades-strong family-owned business based in Alexandria. The sausages are sliced into half-inch pieces and dunked in a batter made of equal parts cornmeal and flour, seasoned with tangy buttermilk, salt, pepper and a touch of honey for sweetness. Fried in canola oil until crisp and golden brown, they’re served with your choice of Creole or whole grain mustard for even more of a kick.

Fight Club Half-Smoke Pups Recipe

Servings: Makes 12-15 pups

Ingredients:

For the batter:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil

For the pups:

  • ½ pound half-smoke sausage sliced into ¼-½ inch pieces 
  • 8 cups canola oil, for frying
  • Wood or metal skewers
  • Thermometer for oil
  • Creole or stone-ground mustard (for dipping)
  • Scallions sliced thinly (for topping)

Instructions:

  1. Add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, black pepper and baking powder to a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, honey and one teaspoon of canola oil. Mix the wet ingredients until combined, then mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until well combined.
  2. Add the 8 cups of canola oil into a 4-quart pot and heat to 350 degrees.
  3. Place one piece of the half-smoke onto the tip of a skewer and dip it into the batter. Place the tip of the skewer into the hot oil, and using a second skewer, push the battered half-smoke into the hot oil. Repeat for all of the half-smokes, working in batches as needed, and fry until deeply golden-brown, about three minutes.
  4. Use a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer to remove the half-smoke pups from the oil. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels, and season with salt.
  5. Garnish with scallions and serve with mustard for dipping.