Meet Stanley S. Jenkins, the American Inventor of the “Clean and Healthy” Corn Dog

Hail Stanley S. Jenkins, the king of fair fares in the state.

The Buffalo, NY businessman, civic leader, and part -time inventor conceived – and then described in poetic detail – the all -American corn dog in 1927.

He pioneered a bold new world of sausages where hot dogs were lovingly fed a delicious cornmeal batter and then bathed in hot oil, a meal worthy of culinary royalty.

Jenkins ’dream of a more refined frankfurter quickly spread across the country. Today, corn dogs are enjoyed by millions of Americans each year at street festivals, carnivals and state fairs from coast to coast.

Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs sells up to 600,000 cornmeal-encrusted wieners each fall at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, said third-generation corn dog queen Amber Fletcher, to cite a unique example of its popularity.

Jenkins (1884-1967), the beaten joy baron, bravely defended his heart attack with a stick. He calls his concept of emulsified and fried tube meat “clean” and “healthy”.

This champion of American appetite has channeled his deep genius for the public good. He served on Buffalo City Council, where he heroically fought for the rights to Joe Six-Pack and “a good glass of beer”-demanding regulations limiting the amount of foamy froth on the beaker. mousse.

Sausage and pint patriot Jenkins is largely forgotten in history. He seems to have no wife or children. But it stands in the country today as a great American cuisine.

“Clean, healthy and delicious fresh”

The United States celebrated its 151st birthday on July 4, 1927.

The next day, pork pioneer Stanley S. Jenkins filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a device that allowed him to nail beaten meat with “a stick or handle” and fry it in oil. .

“I have found that foods such as, for example, sausages, boiled ham, boiled eggs, cheese, sliced ​​peach, pineapple, bananas and similar fruits, and cherries, dates, figs, strawberries, etc., when nailed to the stalks and dipped in a batter, which includes its ingredients in self-raising flour, and then fried in vegetable oil at a temperature of about 390 F., the resulting food product of a stick or handle is a clean, good, delicious fresh, ”Jenkins proudly wrote in his patent application.

In his hard work, he discovered that almost any food can be nailed and fried. His frying skewer epiphany, as the patent application notes, is not limited to sausages.

Stanley S. Jenkins stands at the top of the nation as the great in American folk cuisine today.

Things like corn figs were never available to the American public – the superior Newton fig was introduced in 1891.

But Jenkins predicted the nation’s obsession with frying everything for decades. The corn dog was the first to catch the public eye. A whole new category of American casual dining has been born.

Rise of the Corn Dog in World War II

Jenkins received the patent for his counterattack in 1929, two years after filing the application. There is no evidence that he made his patented machine or sold a corn dog.

But in the early 1940s, when the United States entered World War II, the corn dog versions he described in his application began to appear almost simultaneously in the most remote corners of the country – for reasons that remain a mystery even to those in the corn dog community.

Oregon hot dog dealers George and Vera Boyington branded the name Pronto Pup, their version of the corn dog, and began selling it in 1941 at the Pacific International Livestock Exposition in Portland.

They sold 15,000 Pronto Pups in the first year alone, according to the Pronto Pup website. Success has surprisingly made headlines even on the East Coast.

People line up for corn dogs at the Minnesota State Fair.
Getty Photos

“If you haven’t heard of Pronto Pups yet, prepare yourself. They show signs of being as ubiquitous as Tom Thumb golf, at least in the West,” wrote the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor in 1945.

“[Boyington] nail a “hot-dog” to a stick, dip the “dog” in the dough, place it for a few minutes in the boiling fat, and presto! You have a Pronto Pup.

Pronto Pup is now most closely associated with the Minnesota State Fair, where more than 25 million have been consumed since 1947, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

In the year after the Boyingtons stabbed an helpless battered frankfurter in Oregon, brothers and former vaudeville performers Neil and Carl Fletcher did the same at the State Fair in Texas, seemingly unaware of Jenkins ’invention. or the Oregon Pronto Pup. This is a coincidence that few can explain.

“My mom would always say that sometimes the idea is just in the air and it seems like a lot of people get it,” Amber Fletcher said of her grandfather Neil’s invention. “I can’t imagine how anyone in Dallas would have heard about it from anyone [like Jenkins] in the North East.

State fairs have become laboratories over the past few decades for efforts to fry every meal imaginable. There is no substitute for dog corn.

“Every year there are new fried food concoctions, and every year we’re the #1 seller at the Texas State Fair,” Fletcher said. “We’ve been doing this for 80 years with a product that hasn’t changed much.”

The family business is changing, though. Its year-long mail-order business, starting Friday, June 10, will ship corn dogs to all 50 states for the first time in its 80-year history.

Buffalo: Incubator of excellence in casual American cuisine

Corn dogs may be breeding in the most remote corners of the country.

But the fact that Jenkins first conceived this all-American delicacy in Western New York makes a lot of sense to food lovers who champion Buffalo as a renowned American center of casual dining excellence. .

“Buffalo is for the most part a little -known food town, but one with a lot of culinary heritage,” said Michael Stern, author and editor of Roadfood.com. He has been criss-crossing the country for nearly 50 years documenting American food culture.

He makes many delicacies unique to Buffalo in addition to his name hot wing: beef on weck, sponge candies and “some of the best chocolates on the continent.”

“Sometimes an idea is just in the air and a lot of people seem to get it.”

It’s also one of the top hotdog towns in the country, Stern added.

“For anyone who loves good American food, it’s hard to prioritize Buffalo, New York, as a destination,” proclaimed Buffalo History Museum spokesman Brian Hayden, author of the upcoming book, “111 Places in Buffalo You Won’t Forget “. for release in 2023.

The city has a “strong hot dog culture,” he said, while the Visit Buffalo Niagara trade group offers a hot dog trail on their website, saying “Buffalo is over 250 years old. history. ‘collective history of the hot dog’.

The Sahlens’ have been selling hot dogs in Buffalo since 1869, Hayden said. In 1927, the same year Jenkins filed his patent for corn dog contraption, Greek immigrant Theodore “Ted” Spiro Liaros opened Ted’s Hot Dogs in western Buffalo near what is now the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie, Ontario.

Hayden said Ted’s is Buffalo’s “iconic” hotdog chain, famous for its empty wieners.

It seems that inventor Jenkins worked hard on his invention at a time when hot dogs were at the forefront of Buffalo’s culinary culture-nearly 40 years before Anchor Bar first poured the sauce blocking the chicken wings.

The struggle for a good glass of beer

Jenkins ’Insight comes from several clippings from local newspaper articles, including a Sept. 25, 1967 obituary, published in the Buffalo Courier-Express.

Jenkins, born in Louisville, Ky., Was 83 when he died in Buffalo “after a long illness.” He would have been 42 or 43 when he filed a patent on his frying machine.

His patented cooking utensils with a good description of the very first dog corn were not his only invention. Jenkins filed a patent for an “invalid foothold” in 1923.

It seems like a hobby to invent. His death records that he was the president of Samson Plaster Board Co. and that he was “elected councilor general in 1930 and after serving a term was appointed chairman of the Municipal Civil Service Office of Buffalo in 1934”.

As a member of the city council, Corn Dog King tried another stance for ordinary Americans.

He suggested “limit the size of the foam neck in a glass of beer” – apparently fearing that too much foam in the glass meant too little delicious golden beer for his ingredients.

“I don’t think we should get into that kind of heckling,” said anti-foam platform opponent Jenkins, the Buffalo Evening News reported on July 25, 1934.

“People just want a good glass of beer,” a Jenkins supporter on the town council replied.

His measure, however, was rejected by the council, prompting Jenkins to attack a deep critique of the political classes.

The beer bubble, he said, “like a lot of the talks we hear on the blackboard, makes no sense,” the Buffalo Evening News reports.

Jenkins’ obituary does not mention a wife or children. He was survived only by his niece Elizabeth Jenkins and his nephew William Jenkins, both of Chicago.

His dream, however, did not die. Jenkins ’vision of an America made better by beaten, flaming roasted hot dogs with a stick continues at every carnival and state fair across the country today.

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