We’ve spent quite a bit of time in this space on the hamburger, in its many forms – a hallmark summer grilling treat. We’ve also gone into great depths exploring the myriad aspects of grilling and smoking in general. But, in our rush to the fire, we’ve given another traditional summer favourite short shrift…
For a more comprehensive pictorial guide to Global Hot Dog variations,
It’s probably the cheapest protein you can put on a bun and – contrary to the intuition of many – one of the most asked-for summer grill treats. The Hot Dog, as we know it today, is also a genuinely ‘native’ North American concoction. And there are almost as many ways to enjoy one as there are folks who order one.
Tube Steak, Frank, Red-Hot, Weenie…
They’re all synonyms for ‘Hot Dog. And they all refer, essentially, to the all-beef sausage first created and marketed by Nathan Handwerker on Coney Island back just about a hundred years ago. To Nate’s credit, his brand still following the original recipe, remains one of the best-selling Dogs today! The secret ingredients are garlic and Paprika. Lots of paprika.
To start, I have to say there’s no other ‘proper’ way to serve a Dog than on a lightly-toasted or steamed Soft Roll. The Dogs themselves can be Boiled, Simmered, Grilled or Fan Pried, as you wish.
Toppings make the Dog…
But these days, it’s the toppings that make the Dog and differentiate one ‘style’ of Frank from another.
The Coney Island Dog, for instance, features a pungent red Meat Sauce (thinner than a traditional Chili) and a squirt of Yellow Mustard.
A Texas Chili Dog features – no prize for guessing this one – hot Texas Chili (traditionally con carne, or Beef and Peppers only, no Beans), caramelized Onions, Mustard and Grated Sharp Cheese.
The Montréal Dog goes in a completly different direction: Steamed or grilled Dog n a steamed bun topped with Coleslaw, Onion, Mustard and Green Pickle Relish. Some Folks also ask for a dash of Paprika or Chili Powder on top.
Traditional New York Weenies rely on Sauerkraut, raw diced Sweet Onions and Yellow Mustard for their characteristic tang. A Spicy Ketchup-style sauce is also favoured by many aficionados.
In Seattle, I’m advised the local taste runs to toppings of Creamed Cheese, Fried Onions and some sort of Hot Sauce, Sriracha being the prevailing taste. Most Dog stands there also offer a pot of Pickled or fresh-diced Jalapeños.
Getting the picture?
The official list of recorded Dog styles and origins runs to many dozens, from Sweden to South Korea.
Try ’em all this summer and then decide what your trademark Dog looks like!
~ Maggie J.