Sunday, June 13, 2010
A Hot Dog Social and Taste Test
The Hot Dog...few things in life evoke such feelings of nostalgia ~ another place and time... when we were young, things were simple ~ and life ~ was good. We eat them at baseball games, festivals, on city streets and the beach. We eat them in parks, by the fire and on wooden benches in our own backyard. So this weekend, with the opening of the World Cup Finals and in the spirit of the Serious Eats Weekend Cook and Tell Hot Dog Showdown, we decided to host an impromptu Hot Dog Social!
There were few rules, just bring your favorite homemade toppings or choose a country to highlight (so we might sample and expand our hot dog eating repertoire). My husband and I provided some toppings of our own, the dogs (Hebrew Nationals), an assortment of buns and the Weber charcoal grill. As with most friendly competitions...there were highs, lows, light-hearted 'trash-talk' and only one instance of unprovoked aggression when the neighbor's Lab ran-off with one of the wieners! So, without further ado... here are some photos, notes and highlights of how it all went down:
The Mexico City Hot Dog ~ My husband's submission (after some research) ~ and new all time favorite! He noted, "it will be sometime before I can go back to the doldrums of mustard and ketchup."
Mexico City -"jocho" pronounced "hocho" A hot dog offered on street carts outside of nightclubs. Served grilled and covered with melted oaxaca cheese , pico de gallo, ketchup, mustard and bacon. <--- (source: Wikipedia) (1 favorited this hot dog) SPICY AWARD
The Brazilian Hot Dog ~ my submission #1 ~ inspired by one of my best friend's who spent a year in South America, she has fond memories of the ginormous hot dogs sold on the streets of Buenos Aires. I tried my best to do it justice - just short of the kitchen sink, I promise you there is a hot dog in there!
Grilled hot dog with mashed potatoes, peas, corn, grated cheddar and parmesan cheese, homemade shoestring deep-fried potatoes, ketchup, mustard and a mayonnaise-sour cream sauce. (2 favorited this hot dog) COMPLEXITY AWARD
The New York Hot Dog ~ Joe's submission ~ He's a man of simplicity, no fuss ~ just a good old fashion hot dog with mustard and kraut. Joe reminisced about frequenting Manhattan hot dog vendors when he used to live in the city. During a recent trip back to The Big Apple, he was astonished by the $2-$3+ price tag from the vendors peddling their dogs on the Upper East Side.
Grilled hot dog with mustard and sauerkraut (2 favorited this hot dog) CLASSIC AWARD
The Italian Hot Dog ~ Jackie's submission ~ she told a story of growing up in New Jersey ~ her family used to visit an 'old school' establishment that only sold authentic, Italian hot dogs. One dog...one price...no substitutions! Young and naive she always demanded hers plain (just some mustard on the side). This drove her father nuts, as he'd be paying for 'the works' but only getting - a dog - in a bun. Today, Jackie loves the Italian hot dog - potatoes, peppers and all!
Grilled foot-long with grilled green peppers, onions, fried potatoes and spicy mustard (2 favorited this dog) HOME-STYLE COMFORT AWARD
The Plain Jane Hot Dog ~ Mike's submission ~ grilled dog, no bun - ketchup & mustard on the side.
Picture says it all. (All children favorited this hot dog) NO-CARB ECONOMY AWARD
The Smokey Apple Hot Dog ~ my submission #2 ~ since I lean towards the aforementioned New York style dog, I thought I'd try to come up with something different, using a combination of no-fail flavors and textures.
Toasted Italian roll with melted Cherrywood Smoked Mozzarella, charcoal grilled hot dog nestled into the cheese, topped with: grilled sweet onions, sauerkraut, diced-up gala apple that was sauteed in a bit of butter and 1 teaspoon spicy whole-grain mustard until soft, finished off with generous pinch of crispy homemade bacon bits. (3 favorited this hot dog) TASTE & CREATIVITY AWARD
Let me conclude with a shout-out to all those who participated on such short notice! As we relaxed watching the World Cup, sampling beers and each others work, it occurred to me... whether an all beef frank, veggie dog, or sausage...... eaten alone, on rice paddy or stuffed between a bun...the hot dog is an iconic symbol whose definition is only broadened by state, country, and continental lines. An unpretentious, simple food with the unequivocal power to unite, the hot dog (in all its forms) will always represent our human need to eat and unyielding will to create!
SO...what did we do right? What did we do wrong? What is YOUR favorite Hot Dog creation YOU make at home or buy!?
The only Bad Dog in this post! (but look at that face...)