Who doesn’t love a good hot dog? It wouldn’t be summer without them.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, more than 7 billion hot dogs are consumed in the United States, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. (In case you were wondering, that’s 818 per second .)
They are so pervasive, chefs everywhere are experimenting with the basics (dog, bun, mustard, ketchup, onions, relish). And we decided to call some chefs and issue a double dog dare: Top this!
And they did.
At Hippo’s Hot Dogs in Clinton Township, Mich., owner Mark Platt’s menu already features more than a half-dozen hot dogs with various toppings.
There’s the classic Hippo Dog, a Chicago-style Vienna beef dog with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, sport peppers and seasonings. Variations include the Slaw Dog, topped with mustard and coleslaw.
For the Free Press, Platt, 48, started with a Chicago-style dog and produced the Southwest Chicago-Style Dog topped with a salsa-pickled vegetable mixture and crunchy tortilla strips.
“I wanted to create something from the Southwest because on our menu we already have the New York-style, the Chicago-style with its traditional toppings and the Slaw Dog that originated in the South,” Platt says.
Union Woodshop in Clarkston, Mich., — the Free Press’ 2011 Restaurant of the Year — not only takes hot dog toppings seriously but the hot dog, too.
“We make our hot dogs from scratch, in-house, with beef chuck and pork shoulder,” says executive chef Aaron Cozadd, 29. The Smoky Dogs are served with house-made sweet and spicy relish and a drizzling of the restaurant’s South Carolina-style barbecue sauce.
For the Free Press, Cozadd created the 3 a.m. Dog topped with fried eggs, hash browns and bacon jam.
Carole Wendling, 28, corporate executive banquet chef for Matt Prentice Restaurant Group, loves Latin flavors and created two dogs for us — the Argentinian, with chimichurri, chorizo, pickled red onions and marinated queso fresco, and the Cuban, a variation on a Cuban-style panini.
Serves: 1; Preparation time: 30 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes.
1 all-beef hot dog
1/4 avocado, diced
2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
1 tablespoon cilantro, optional
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 hot dog bun
1/4 cup caramelized onions
Grill or cook the hot dog as desired. In a small bowl, combine the avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.
Place the hot dog in the bun. Top with caramelized onions and avocado mixture and serve.
Southwest Chicago-Style Hot Dog
Serves: 1; Preparation time: 30 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes
From Mark Platt of Hippo’s Hot Dogs, Clinton Township.
1 steamed all-beef hot dog
1 steamed poppy seed bun
Fire-roasted onions and peppers (white onions and red and green peppers, chopped, sauteed)
Purchased spicy giardiniera (mixed pickled vegetables)
Fresh favorite salsa
Place the steamed hot dog in the steamed poppy seed bun. Top with roasted onions and peppers. Mix together the spicy giardiniera and salsa (about 2 parts salsa to 1 part giardiniera). Top the hot dog with the salsa mixture and tortilla strips.
To make the onions and pepper mixture: Chop white onions and red and green bell peppers. Place on a hot grill or in a skillet and drizzle with oil. Saute until caramelized and tender.
Argentinian Hot Dog
Serves: 2; Preparation time: 35 minutes; Total time: 1 hour
From Carole Wendling, corporate executive banquet chef, Matt Prentice Restaurant Group. This recipe requires making the pickled red onion and the marinated queso fresco one day ahead. The chimichurri, pickled red onions and marinated queso fresco make enough for at least 2 hot dogs.
Pickled red onions
Marinated queso fresco
2 grilled beef hot dogs
2 hot dog buns
4 ounces chorizo sausage, cooked and crumbled
To make the chimichurri: In a food processor, place 1/2 bunch parsley leaves (roughly chopped), 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic. Pulse to combine until the mixture is similar to a loose pesto. Fold in 1/4 cup finely diced red and yellow peppers and 2 tablespoons grated carrot. Set aside.
To make the pickled red onions: In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water until sugar dissolves. Place 1/2 sliced large red onion in a bowl and immediately pour the sugar mixture over. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon grenadine and marinate for one day.
To make the marinated queso fresco: Combine 4 ounces of the Mexican cheese (crumbled), 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic, zest from 1/2 lemon and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To assemble. Place grilled hot dogs in buns, top with cooked chorizo, chimichurri, pickled red onions and marinated queso fresco.
Serves: 1; Preparation time: 30 minutes; Total time: 30 minutes
From Carole Wendling, corporate banquet chef, Matt Prentice Restaurant Group. This recipe has several parts that can be made in advance. Here is what you need for one hot dog serving.
1 beef hot dog (4 ounces)
1 telera roll or 6-inch Italian bread roll, hollowed out
1 ounce shaved smoked ham
Roasted Tomatoes slices (see below)
4 Pickled Jalapenos (see below)
2 tablespoons Chipotle Mayo (see below)
For the roasted tomatoes:
1 roma tomato, cut in 1/4 -inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pickled jalapenos:
1/4 cup fresh jalapenos sliced 1/4 -inch thick
1/4 cup fresh carrot slices
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon pickling spice
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
For the chipotle mayo:
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
Juice from half of a lime
To roast the tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the tomato slices on a sided baking sheet and toss with the oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
To make the pickled jalapenos: In a saucepot, combine all ingredients and heat to a simmer. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plastic container and marinate for one day.
To make the chipotle mayo: Stir together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
To assemble the hot dog: Grill or cook the hot dog as desired. Place in a hollowed-out roll. Top with shavings of smoked ham, slices of roasted tomato, pickled jalapeno and a generous dollop of chipotle mayo and serve.
3 A.M. Dog with Bacon Jam
Serves: 2; Preparation time: 30 minutes; Total time: 45 minutes
From chef Aaron Cozadd, Union Woodshop, Clarkston. The bacon jam makes about 2 cups, enough for several hot dogs. Chef Aaron Cozadd says you can serve bacon jam on biscuits or toast, too.
For the bacon jam:
1 1/2 pounds of bacon, diced small
1 onion, peeled, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Michigan maple syrup
3/4 cup dark coffee
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the hot dogs:
2 smoked hot dogs or all-beef hot dogs
Hot dog buns or favorite rolls
1/2 cup crispy hash browns
2 fried eggs
Sliced green onion for garnish
To make the bacon jam: In a medium deep skillet, render the bacon. Continue cooking the bacon over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the bacon browns. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined tray. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings. Place the skillet back over the medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic. Stir and reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook until the onion is translucent. Add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, coffee and black pepper.
Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil hard for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stir the browned bacon into the onion mixture. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, adding water if it seems to be drying out. When the onions are soft and the liquid is thick and syrupy, remove the skillet from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse several times or until the bacon jam is a spreadable consistency.
To assemble each hot dog : Grill the hot dogs. Place the hot dog in the bun. Spoon on whole-grain mustard, 1/4 cup of the hash browns, bacon jam and top with fried egg. Garnish with green onion slices. Repeat with the other grilled hot dog. Serve.