Hot Dog Toppings

The hot dog is quite possibly the most misunderstood food item on the face of the earth. Many people view them with disdain. They've probably never had a "well crafted" hot dog. When this tubular delicacy is properly prepared, it can be a scrumptious meal.

The foundation for a good hot dog is the hot dog itself. Those skinless, mass produced, chicken lip filled dogs most markets carry just won't do. I go for a natural casing "deli style" dog with all meat and no fillers. Kayhem and Deutchmacher are two of my favorites but there are many other good quality dogs out there. These dogs are best steamed, not boiled. I throw some onions and beer in the steaming pot for added flavor.

The bun should be lightly buttered and grilled, anything less just won't do.

Toppings make the dog and there are many ways to do it. "All around" means mustard, chopped onions and relish-that's a good tasting dog without getting too fancy. Another favorite is sauteed kraut with cheese and Guldens (spicy) mustard. A very yummy topping is onion relish-you can make it in a small batch- simply chop an onion, put them in a pot with enough vinegar to cover about a third of the onion in the pot, toss in 2 or 3 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar and a few squirts of barbecue sauce, sprinkle in some celery seed and simmer for 10-15 minutes; chill and serve on a dog with a little mayonnaise and honey mustard-this dog is out of this world! If you like peppers, you can make an easy pepper relish by chopping up a bunch of peppers (I always use one large green, red and yellow pepper, two chili peppers and 2 jalapeno peppers-you can use any kind you want though) and filling a jar with them, pour enough vinegar in the jar to cover the peppers, add some mustard seed and let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours; this relish is good with a spicy mustard. I sometimes have my specialty toppings available at the truck-when I do they go fast! Lots of people like ketchup and onions-I'm not much of a ketchup guy when it comes to hot dogs though; try barbecue sauce in place of the ketchup for a change.

Happy Eating!

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