State Fair Food Fight: Poncho Dogs vs. Pronto Pups

Categories: Food Fight

CornDog.jpg
Sara Rice
Two versions of this classic fair food, battling head to head
To the uninitiated, a corn dog is a corn dog; but the nuances are worth appreciating--whether it's the kind of dog used or the blend of flours in the batter.

In this Food Fight, we put to the test the original food-on-a-stick from two favorite State Fair institutions: Poncho Dog and Pronto Pup.




ProntoPup.jpg
Sara Rice
Pronto Pup
Multiple locations (tested on Underwood opposite the Food Building)

This on-a-stick specimen starts with a beef and pork dog dipped in a batter made from a blend of seven kinds of flour (the staff would only divulge two kinds: wheat and corn), a mere one egg per bucket, and some milk. Consistency is this corn dog's game, with each one placed on a wheel that dunks them into hot oil to fry them for just the right amount of time.

"You can't leave these under a heat lamp," says one longtime Pronto Pup employee. "They get soggy if you do that."

It's that soft, doughy exterior that differentiates itself from Poncho Dog's offering, along with their (visibly) well-seasoned dogs.

And, whether you like it or not, someone paints on your condiments. Pretty snazzy.

At $3.75, Pronto Pup's corn dogs are a bit spendier than Poncho Dogs'.


PonchoDog.jpg
Sara Rice
Poncho Dog
Multiple locations

Although the hot dog dipped at Poncho Dog isn't anything to write home about (made from chicken and pork), it matters far less after you taste the batter. Made specially for Poncho Dog by Pillsbury, it's sweeter than other corn dogs'. Since it's a proprietary blend, they weren't at liberty to share the ingredient list, but it's clear there's more cornmeal than Pronto Pup's because these could indeed be left under a heat lamp without suffering--not that it matters much, because each one is hand-battered and fried (no timed wheel here) and sells nearly as quickly as they can make them. And that extra cornmeal gives it just a slight extra crisp to each bite.

The lines tend to be shorter here than at Pronto Pup stands, meaning you get your corn dog faster. And not only that, but it's $3 to boot.


The Winner: Poncho Dog
All things considered, at a lower price with a superior exterior flavor and texture, Poncho Dog is the winner in this food fight--although you'd be hard-pressed to go wrong either way.


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12 comments
csbunin
csbunin

When I was younger I always prefered the Poncho Dog.  Then they changed from the beef and pork dogs to the chicken and pork dogs, which in my mind are inedible.  No question that the batter on the Poncho Dog is superior, but the taste of the dog is absolutely putrid and totally ruins the product.  I'd be willing to pay $4 if they'd change back to a beef/pork dog.

Diane B
Diane B

I have worked for Poncho Dogs for over 35 years. People tend to say there is no difference but there is. First off Pronto Pup was always known for being a hot dog on a stick wrapped in a bun deep fried while Poncho Dog was always known as a corn dog.  Anybody that remembers going out to Como Park as a child standing at the concession stands waiting to wrap their lips around their corndogs knows what a Poncho Dog is!! Through the years Pronto Pup tended to stick in the heads of people in name only when it was actually the Poncho Dog that everyone was looking for, not the so called Corn Dogs now also being sold at the fair!!

Dgtank
Dgtank

Right. I always thought a Pronto Pup was like a corn dog that used pancake batter, not corn batter, and thus not a corn dog.

SaraMari Rice
SaraMari Rice

Since they both use cornmeal (in varying proportions) and flours, that aspect doesn't bother me. They're both batter fried hot dogs on sticks of which the average person considers to be the same thing, which is why it's a food fight between two vendors' products, not "best corn dog." Agree to disagree. (PS: you'll both likely have a field day with an upcoming post of mine if this ruffles you...)

john demarre
john demarre

 not only did i eat poncho dogs i cooked them for over 20 years and worked for Oniels at Como park ...state fair mn ....Oklahoma ...and Shreveport Louisiana. i did the taste test for years and i still like the poncho dog the best ...believe me they don't sit under a hot lamp  long.    John  DeMarre

mike
mike

corn dogs are the better tasting  of the two

Donnie Terry
Donnie Terry

Do quite well, the next time must attend

Mkjkbk
Mkjkbk

Thanks for the state fair coverage,but this article is very confusing.  I thougt it's pretty muchdoctrine by now that a "pronto pup" is not an example of a corn dog.  Why suggest this is a comparison between two corndogs?

Hannah3Hannah
Hannah3Hannah

Well done! Still, neither can hold a candle to the wild rice and beef corn dog in the food building. Even lower price and much more quality dog. My state fair go-to food every year!

SaraMari Rice
SaraMari Rice

I guess I don't know what you'd call a pronto pup except a "corn dog," which is why it stands for comparison -- there's corn in the batter. Plus, it's all in fun -- we're not covering war or genocide here.

SaraMari Rice
SaraMari Rice

I keep forgetting about that one! Hoping to get back this year -- I'll make sure to try it!

rhpendley
rhpendley

Pronto Pups don't have any corn meal in the batter.  Anything made like this with corn meal in the batter is a Corn Dog.  Pronto Pups are made with a pancake type batter only.  Why anyone would want to eat a corn dog after eating a true Pronto Pup is beyond me.  For the best Pronto Pups in the world check out the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival in Evansville Indiana during the first full week (Monday to Sunday) in October.

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