Hot Dogs International!
By David Rosengarten
By David Rosengarten
I can offer some help, though, for your dog-dressing decisions--by listing some leading hot-dog traditions, combinations that have stood the test of time. The following list of regional and international 'hot dog dishes' comes with recipes, and addresses, that'll enable you to mimic these great dishes at home. Just remember that all hot dogs are already cooked when you buy them, needing some fire just for aesthetic reasons--and that the hot dog world endlessly debates whether direct fire methods like grilling, or water methods like boiling, produce a better-tasting dog. Me? I love 'em both ways--but if you have a dog with amazing snap, nothing emphasizes that crunch like a dunk in hot water.
One classic way to go is warm sauerkraut on the dog, mustard on top of that.
The other way--one that has grown enormously in popularity--is a warm tomato-ey onion mixture over the dog. (I also like to top that mixture with a little mustard.)
Here's a great recipe that reproduces the 'street onions' of Manhattan:
New York City Street Onions for Hot Dogs
Makes enough for 12-16 hot dogs
1. Place the vegetable oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and the garlic. Cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 20 minutes the onions should be softened but not browned.
2. Add the flour, and stir well to distribute evenly among the onion slices. Cook for 1 minute, stirring to make sure the flour doesn't burn. Add the tomato sauce, water, corn syrup, vinegar, bay leaves, mustard, cayenne and cloves. Stir well to blend. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover, and cook very slowly for 45 minutes. If the mixture has become too thick, add a little water. Serve on New York-style hot dogs.
Now, once you have your griddled White Hots, you're going to have to do them justice by serving them in the Rochester style. As any member of the Kodak family can tell you, you need to put that dog on a bun, top it with mustard, chopped raw onions.....and a few tablespoons of meat sauce! Yes, it's a little odd--a thin, pebbly, spicy meat sauce on top of the dog. But it has its own wacky logic, and a White Hot wouldn't be a White Hot without it. So here's how to make the sauce:
Meat Sauce for Rochester White Hots
1. Place the beef, 1 tablespoon of the onions, the paprika, black pepper, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt and thyme leaves in a small saucepan. Pour water over all, and mix well. Place saucepan over low heat, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours; the mixture should be very slowly simmering during that time.
2. Remove cover from saucepan. Simmer very slowly for another 1 1/2 hours. When the time is up, the meat sauce should be a thin gravy, a little watery, not dried out.
OK, here goes: First you cook a Chicago Hot Dog. Griddle or boil? You see it both ways in Chicago--but I prefer to boil the dogs for this dish.
So.....you place the cooked dog on a poppy-seed-hot-dog-bun. It has to be poppy seed! (You can trick up your own by lightly steaming some hot dog buns, then sprinkling poppy seeds on their sides when they're still moist from the steaming.) You put yellow mustard on the dog. You put flourescent green relish on. You add slices of tomatoes, and short hot green pickled peppers that in Chicago are called 'sport peppers.' You add chopped onions. You lay a long, thin slice of dill pickle alongside the dog. You sprinkle all with celery salt, and you wonder how, with inspiration like this, the Cubs can have gone so long without winning a championship.
State Fair Corn Dogs
Makes 6 corn dogs
1. In a medium saucepan (it must be wide enough to accommodate several hotdogs frying at once), heat oil to 375 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cornmeal, 1/2 cup flour, sugar, dry mustard, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg and the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Whisk wet ingredients into dry, whisking only until lumps are gone.
3. Pat hot dogs dry with paper towels. Place flour for dredging on a plate. Roll a hot dog in the flour, tapping off excess. Using a fork or tongs, dip floured hot dog in batter. Drop into hot oil. Fry about 3 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. You can fry 2 or 3 at once, but let the oil return to 375 degrees F between batches. While still hot, skewer each dog with a stick, pushing the stick about halfway up into dog. Serve immediately with ketchup and mustard.
NOTE: Your Corn Dog stick has to be solid enough to support the dog without bending or breaking. Bamboo skewers, for example, may not be firm enough. I have found the perfect Corn Dog stick right in my kitchen drawer: the chopstick. The one you choose should be a few inches longer than the hot dog, and should have a pointy end to facilitate pushing the stick into the hot dog.
The one that I tasted, from a roadside stand in the Guadaloupe Valley of Northern Baja, was a garlicky beef dog (Sabrett or Nathan's would be great) that had been wrapped in bacon, and griddled until crisp on the outside. It was placed in a yellow-ish, eggy kind of roll (Martin's Potato Rolls, made in Chambersburg, PA, and widely distributed, would be ideal.) On went mustard, ketchup and mayo. On top of that went diced raw onions and diced raw tomatoes. On top of that went a fresh green salsa (see recipe below), topped by a few squirts of good bottled hot sauce.
1. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Season to taste with salt. If the salsa seems runny and wet, place in a colander and squeeze lightly to drain off excess liquid.
NOTE: Some Swedes take it one step further--to a place I've never wanted to visit. Believe it or not, the crowning touch, to some, on the hot dog I just described is.....a......blob of mayonnaise-y shrimp salad.
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