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make your own hot dogs
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vinicode™ wine reviews Make your own sausage?!? Have they gone off the deep end? OK, we'll admit, this process is a little tedious - but a lot of fun. The first time we attempted to make our own sausage we used a pastry bag for the stuffing. It worked, but... Finally, we broke down and purchased a sausage stuffer that connects to our Kitchen-Aid mixer. Much faster. But both methods produce the most delicious hot dogs you will ever have.
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Kitchenaid mixer fitted with the meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachments, scissors, kitchen twine, sausage casings (1/4 pound will make approximately 30 sausages). Note: this is really a two person job. An additional set of hands is almost essential. (If you don't have a sausage stuffer, you can use a pastry bag fitted with a large, #8, tip.)

4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
4 pounds boneless thighs cut into 1/2 inch cubes (most of the fat left on)

Makes about 16 hot dogs.

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Sausage casings can be purchased in many grocery stores or butcher shops. We bought ours at Whole Foods from the butcher there. Generally they will come to you on a styrofoam tray, covered in salt and sealed with plastic wrap. Soak them in water for 30 minutes to remove the salt. Change the water and rinse. Keep them soaking in cool water while you are working with them. Sausage casings are reasonably tough but they will tear or break, so handle them gently until you are familiar with them.

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Take 1/4 of all of your ingredients and mix them in a large bowl. Until the chicken is coated with the garlic and sage. (if you are working with a pastry bag, place the chicken in a food processor and process until smooth, about 30 seconds)

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Take a little cooking oil and apply it to the tip of the stuffer. Cut about an 18 inch strip of the casing, and slice it all the way on the stuffer tip, leaving about 1 inch hanging off. You are now ready to start stuffing.

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Turn the mixer on to the medium speed. Using the utensils provided (or a wooden spoon) have your helper start feeding the chicken and herbs into the grinder. As it begins to come out of the tip, allow the casing to gently slide off. This method should keep tears to a minimum, but if it does tear, and it did with us. Cut the casing at that point and keep going.

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Every so often stop feeding the chicken into the grinder and allow your helper to gently squeeze the meat mixture into place, filling up the casing. Keep grinding until you reach the end of that casing. The repeat the process. Usuing the kitchen twine, ties off your dogs to whatever length you prefer. Don't be concerned if the sausage is a bit floppy at this point, it will firm up once you place it on the grill.

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Place the sausages on a hot grill. We painted the grill with some olive oil but sticking did not seem to be a problem. Allow them to cook through (approximately 10 minutes on each side). Enjoy them on a nice, thick roll topped with chili, guacamole, horseradish sauce, or crumbled cheese but these hot dogs are also delicious plain. Check out our toppings here.

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