Hank’s Haute Dogs
Haute for sure: Hank Adaniya mixes it up.
Image: Margot Seeto

Hand-making sausages with Hank of Hank’s Haute Dogs

Hank’s Haute Dogs / The Weekly loves to party –especially with sausages. Back in June, we finagled our way into the Redondo’s factory [“Hawaiian winners,” 6/23] to get a glimpse of sausage factory workings. We came away cravings arabiki and Portuguese sausage. Far from repulsing us, seeing how sausages were made only increased our desire for more.

Luckily for us, Henry “Hank” Adaniya of the innovative and popular Hank’s Haute Dogs offered to demonstrate how he makes his popular lobster dogs. How could we say no?

Adaniya is, after all, the “king of encased meats”–at least according to a poster autographed by Guy Fieri of the TV show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The poster hangs on the wall of the Hank’s Haute Dogs flagship establishment on Coral Street.

Adaniya, a Chicago-grown restaurateur with family roots in Hawaii, usually orders his high-quality sausages, ranging from the classic Vienna to duck and foie gras, from other companies. But for the lobster dog, which is only offered on Fridays and is so popular customers line up outside the eatery, Adaniya couldn’t find a seafood sausage with his desired balance of complexity and flavor.

So he came up with his own recipe, inspired by a seafood sausage with a lobster beurre blanc he had at a French restaurant 20 years ago.

“I thought, ‘Someone should put those in a bun,’” Adaniya says. His recipe took three months to perfect.

Seafood diet

Adaniya usually has 150-pound batches (that yield about 600 sausages) of his lobster sausage made at Kukui Sausage Company every couple of weeks. But for this session, he is making about 20 lobster sausages by hand, from start to finish (and by finish, we mean in our bellies).

He starts off with chunks of slipper lobster. He adds a puree of shrimp for binding and scallops for softness. Then comes the garlic, onion, shredded carrots, green onions, mayonnaise mixture (which has a white pepper, thyme and a chili base) and the secret ingredient he recently added to this recipe. Panko is another binding ingredient.

As Adaniya walks the Weekly through his sausage-making process, his staff continues to serve hungry customers.

The proof’s in the stuffing

Once everything is thoroughly mixed, Adaniya brings out a sausage-stuffing device from Italy, anchored to the work table with a vice. The natural casing for the sausage, made from pork intestine, is kept in a small container of brine. The casings are so tiny, they slip in and out of Hank’s hands. It’s kind of comical, kind of gross, but all for the noble purpose of holding the gourmet lobster sausage mixture.

Adaniya at last succeeds at gathering the casing onto the nozzle of the sausage-stuffing device and ties a knot at the end. He scoops the sausage mixture into one end of the machine and turns the crank to push the filling into the casing, guiding it with his other hand.

It’s a delicate process that requires practice to get the correct amount of pressure for a perfect sausage–too much filling and the casing may burst, too little filling and you’ll end up with a terribly-shaped thing that yields no good bite. After each sausage has enough filling, Adaniya gives it a few twists and continues to crank filling to complete the next sausage.

After cutting off the excess casing and tying another knot at the end of the sausage line, Adaniya poaches the batch in hot water for 10 minutes, then cools the sausages to tighten them up and set them. Today, because he is illustrating an expedited sausage-making process, he uses an ice water bath to speed up the process.

Butter! Adaniya sautees the sausages in butter, searing them to bring out the flavor. He then poaches the sausages in more butter until the sausages reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit internally and have a nice brown color to them.

When finished, Adaniya nestles the sausages in buns and tops them with garlic mayo, relish and takuan–something he describes as “a deconstructed tartar sauce.”

He gets a generous helping of double-fried shoestring-cut fries and contemplates a dipping sauce for the fries and a soda to complement the lobster dog (while it is truly a sausage and not a hot dog, Adaniya calls it a lobster dog because it has a nice ring to it. Kind of like how his nickname became “Hank” because he thought “Hank’s Haute Dogs” sounded better than “Henry’s Haute Dogs.”).

Finally, he decides on the wasabi mayo for the fries and a ginger soda made with the sweet and spicy ginger syrup from local business PacifiKool.

The first bite of the sausage yields a subtle sweetness that combines with the textures of the toppings.

Adaniya mentions “the snap” that one gets when biting into the natural casing of a sausage. Because of the expedited cooling process used on this batch, the snap isn’t optimal. But that doesn’t stop the sausage from being crave-worthy.

Wine-y dogs

One of Adaniya’s visions is to turn the outdoor seating area of the Coral Street Hank’s Haute Dogs into a beer and wine garden. Adaniya’s five-star restaurant background comes out as he rattles off his ideal wine and sausage pairings.

A “fat, buttery chardonnay” would be the perfect match for the lobster sausage. The red hots would go well with a red rosé champagne. The duck and foie gras sausage would warrant a Sauterne or even a Riesling pairing.

But for now, the ginger soda suits the sausage just fine. The bubbles give the palate a nice cleansing to enjoy the next bite as much as the first.

It’s exciting to anticipate the future offerings from a gourmet- and fast food-lover with a penchant for creativity and accessibility.

The Weekly will be at the next sausage party with buns on.

Hank’s Haute Dogs

324 Coral St., Mon–Fri 10am–4pm, Sat & Sun 11am–5pm, 532-4265; 2330 Kalakaua Ave., 11am–9pm daily, 924-9933, []