Posted May 31, 2012

Kyle Rourke’s Gourmet Chicken Kielbasa Corn Dogs

Eat + Drink

Hot diggity! We’ve got a dog for you.

Okay, we know these don’t look like the typical corn dog. And that’s exactly what makes them so special. They were created by Kyle Rourke, executive chef at Red Star Tavern in Portland. He thought you deserved something better than a ballpark frank and decided chicken kielbasa was a flavorful and healthy alternative. The kielbasa is dipped in from-scratch cornbread batter, which adds down-home flair.

Chef Kyle Rourke reinvented a ballpark favorite

Rourke, who grew up a Phillies fan and was constantly snacking at the stadium, thought it was high time somebody elevated the concept of traditional baseball food. Here’s his story, as he tells it:

“When I was young, we would go to Veterans Stadium {in Philadelphia} and I would buy soft pretzels. You could get three for about 50 cents and I would gnaw on them for the whole game. Sometimes, I’d get some peanuts or a funnel cake too. One thing I never ordered, though, was a hot dog. Those dogs were just not good. That’s why I created a menu of gourmet corn dogs for baseball season. I wanted to put my own twist on traditional ballpark food and make sure anyone who craves a corn dog can order one here and not be disappointed.”

You can taste how Rourke hits it out of the park at Red Star Tavern. If you can’t make it out, then try making your own chicken kielbasa corn dog at home. Rourke was nice enough to share his recipe.

Chicken Kielbasa Corn Dogs

{Serves 12}

For the chicken kielbasa:

1 ½ lbs. chicken breast or thigh meat, diced in 2-inch-thick pieces
9 ½  oz. boneless pork shoulder, diced in 2-inch-thick pieces
3 tsp. salt
3 tsp. sugar
¼  tsp. cure salt/pink salt
1 oz. crushed ice
2 tsp. mustard seed, ground
½  tsp. Colman’s mustard powder
½  tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. white pepper, ground
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried marjoram
Sausage casing

1. Toss chicken and pork with salt, sugar and pink salt. Cure for 1 hour.

2. Grind meat with proper attachment of Kitchenaid mixer, adding crushed ice to help with the emulsification.

3. Place ground meat in a bowl and mix well with dry ingredients.

4. Stuff sausage into casing. Twist into links or leave in a coil.

5. Smoke or poach until internal temperature reaches 165.

For cornbread batter:

4 tbsp. melted butter
1 ½  cups medium-grind cornmeal
½  cup all-purpose flour
1 ½  tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ¼  cups buttermilk
½  cup carbonated water

1. Measure dry ingredients and mix together well in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients. Temper butter with eggs.

3. Combine wet with dry without over-mixing. Allow batter to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

4. Test a spoonful. Adjust with flour if it’s too thin and carbonated water if it’s too thick.

For final preparation:

1. Cut sausages into 6″ pieces and run a wooden skewer through each.

2. Dip sausage into batter and fully coat.

3. Dip sausage in oil that is preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Swirl around to get off excess batter. Fry until golden brown, typically 6 to 8 minutes.


Red Star Tavern is located at 503 S.W. Alder Street, Portland (503-222-0005 or


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