Crispy “Fish Dogs” with Comeback Sauce

Ricky Moore's Fish Dog with Chunky Comeback Sauce

Chef Ricky Moore shares his recipe for crispy “fish dogs” with a chunky comeback sauce straight from his Durham-based seafood joint. This winning combination will have you “coming back” for more and renounce all other hot dog variations. His restaurant, Saltbox Seafood Joint, is a testament to his passion for simple, locally sourced seafood. Moore’s recent winning of the 2022 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southeast put him—and Saltbox Seafood Joint—on the map. We recommend that you use Duke’s Mayonnaise when making Ricky Moore’s chunky comeback sauce.

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Serves 4

    For the chunky comeback sauce
  • 1 cup Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon small diced dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon small diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon small diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and small diced cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon small diced red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • For the crispy “fish dogs”
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless cod fillets, cut crosswise into 8 strips
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • 3 tablespoons malt or cider vinegar
  • Vegetable oil, about 3 quarts
  • 8 split-top hot dog buns
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  1. Make the chunky comeback sauce: Add the first ten ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl and use a small whisk to fully combine.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and fold in with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated.
  3. Store in an airtight container and store for up to 5 days.
  4. Make the crispy “fish dogs”: Lightly season cod with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  5. Whisk flour, cornstarch, Old Bay, baking powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, baking soda, cayenne, 2½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Add beer and vinegar and whisk just until combined and no lumps remain.
  6. Fit a large heavy pot with a thermometer; pour in oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium-high until the thermometer registers 375 degrees. Working in batches, dip fish into batter, allowing excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Lower carefully into oil and fry until light golden brown and just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium. Spread the bottom and sides of each bun with butter. Toast buns, pressing down lightly, until golden, about 2 minutes per side.
  8. Generously spread some sauce on each bun; top with butter lettuce and a fried fish fillet. Serve with lemon wedges.
  • Recipe By
    Chef Ricky Moore
  • Contributing City
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