Grinding to Grilling: Students Learn the Hotdog-Making Process

Intro to Animal Science students pack and form hotdog links at the Abattoir.
Lauren Thomas

Intro to Animal Science students pack and form hotdog links at the Abattoir.

Last week, students in the Intro to Animal Science Lab, taught by Dr. Lauren Thomas, learned the full hotdog-making process, from grinding to grilling. The students began their journey at the University of Arkansas Abattoir at the North Farm, where they ground and seasoned a beef, pork, and goat mixture at the direction of abattoir technician Tim Johnson. After grinding and casing the meat, Johnson pre-cooked the hotdogs for the students to grill the following week.

The students rotated between three stations once the meat was ready to be grilled. The students began at Janeal Yancey's station, where they learned tips for effective meat selection. They covered topics such as the various cuts of meat, how to understand the meat grading system, the purposes of various types of packaging, and how to transport meat home safely.

"We're just trying to give students useful knowledge that pertains to their degree but also can be applied to the real world," said Yancey. "Even the type of packaging the meat is in can make a difference."

At the second station, Jason Apple discussed various meat cooking methods and food safety in the AFLS kitchen.

"Today's students don't know as much about cooking meat as they used to, so we wanted to give them guidance through the whole process," said Apple. "We talked about cookery methods on different cuts of meat and how to make them palatable and safe to eat. Stuff they can use for the rest of their lives."

Once the students were sufficiently prepared, Tim Johnson gave tips on how to effectively and safely start and use charcoal and gas grills. After getting acquainted with the Department's gas grill, the students grilled and ate the hotdogs they had ground at the Abattoir the week before.

"A lot of people don't know what's in hotdogs, but these students got to be involved in the whole process, from start to finish," said Apple. "It was neat to see their faces before they took a bite, not knowing what to expect. They ended up really liking their creations. It's a little bit of science and a little bit of art, so it's a fun opportunity for everyone."


Lauren Husband,
Animal Science


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