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Fletcher's reveals the secret behind State Fair corny dog greatness

Fletcher's reveals the secret behind State Fair corny dog greatness

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Fletcher's corny dogs, now with a better dog. Photo by Andreas Praefcke

If you've been to the State Fair of Texas, there's a good chance you've also had a Fletcher's corny dog, the quintessential fair snack consisting of a hot dog wrapped in a cornmeal crust that long preceded the fried-food hullabaloo.

If it's been a while since you've had a Fletcher's corny dog, you may spot a difference in the dog itself. Fletcher's changed vendors a few years ago and now uses a hot dog provided by Syracuse.

"It was a few years ago that we changed meat vendors," confirms proprietor Gigi Fletcher. "But we feel like we now have a more quality frank without as much filler."

 "Now have a more quality frank without as much filler," Gigi Fletcher says. "It's much better for you."

Fletcher's switched its hot dog source when the previous supplier changed hands. "The last supplier told us we were too small a company for them," she says. "It was sort of at the last minute. They said, 'We're being bought out.'

"Syracuse was doing our jalapeño dog, we had known them for a good while, and we asked if they could do our original for us too."

She says that some customers have noticed a difference. "It has a firmer texture," she says. "It might make it look a little different, but it's the same size. But they don't use a lot of filler. It's much better for you."

At first, some people complained about the quantity of salt. Too salty, right?

"When we first changed, people would say it's not salty enough," she says. "It doesn't have quite as much salt, which you might think would be a better thing."

Fletcher's says that during an average 24-day fair season, the stands sell nearly 500,000 corny dogs (although Eater puts that number is 630,000). There's no guarantee that any two corny dogs will be alike.

"We try hard to be consistent," she says. "But it depends on the day you show up, which stand you go to, whether that cook is new or in training, how thick the batter is. That's what happens with something made by hand."

In addition to the original and the jalapeño dog, Fletcher's began offering a turkey dog three years ago. Gigi says her daughter is encouraging her to add vegan and gluten-free options next year.

"It's surprising how many people come up and ask us for that," Gigi says. "A few years ago, we had a few people who asked if we could cook vegetarian dogs and brought their own, which we were happy to do. But we had to put a stop to that because of health regulations. You can't take things that people bring."

Meanwhile, Fletcher's heard back from its original vendor. "They came back later and wanted our business back," she says.