Please understand that I have no interest in discrediting the standard summer hot dog served up on that doughy white bread bun and weighed down in yellow mustard or store-bought ketchup. Plant one of those babies in front of me right now and I dare you to predict how long it lasts!
The whole experience of the low-brow, shiny stadium-style dogs clumsily wrapped in cheap wax paper and dripping with salty juices will never get old. Forget that they’re considered traditionally American, family-oriented, and best of all, cheap. They just taste good!
But a simple, inexpensive hot dog can go so much further. And right now is the perfect time of the year to take this standard summer staple out for a test drive, and see what it can really do for you.
First off, steer clear of those standard supermarket hot dog buns. They’re too soft, they spilt in half too easily, and after coming into contact with condiments, they quickly degenerate into multi-colored, spiritless soggy messes. Instead, get yourself some large sourdough or pane rolls, the kind you usually see housing a meatball or Italian sausage sandwich. You’re going to need a roll strong enough to keep a steady grip on everything this Bobby Flay recipe packs into it.
Next, add a sweet tangy, sauce that works nicely against the flavors in the salty dog. Molasses, brown sugar and honey bring the sweet, while a little red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce provide the tang. Simmer it nice and slowly in plenty of pureed tomatoes, onions and garlic. Let it thicken up to the point that it will still cling to the dog if you turn it upside down – at least thirty minutes.
Lastly, you’ve gotta have a little crunch to let your ears in on some of the fun your nose and mouth are having. A simple slaw with cabbage, carrots and onions, gently seasoned, and some good crunchy sour dill pickle slices will fit this bill nicely. Any leftover slaw can be mixed with a can of tuna for a thick and crunchy tuna salad.
Make sure you brown the inside of the rolls slightly and serve the slaw at room temperature. The sauce should also be at room temperature at minimum, but preferably slightly warmed so it can wind its way into the crevices of the slaw, allowing every bite you take to consist of a little of every element. You’ll never be able to look at a hot dog at the little league park the same way again.
A simple recipe for some sweet potato fries to serve with these dogs accompanies below. Place them on a large dish and cover with any leftover BBQ sauce and slaw and place in the middle of your dinner table.
Texas Dogs from Bobby Flay
8 kosher beef hot dogs
8 good quality hot dog buns, split 3/4 through
Sour dill pickles (not half sour), for serving
For the BBQ sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 cups canned plum tomatoes and juices, pureed
1 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
3 tablespoons pasilla chili powder
2 to 4 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, pureed (depending on how spicy you like it)
Freshly ground black pepper
For the cole slaw:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 small white onion, grated
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon celery salt
3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head cabbage, cored, finely shredded
1 large carrot, finely shredded
For the hot dogs: Heat the grill to high. Grill dogs until golden brown on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove to a plate. Place buns on the grill cut side down and grill until lightly golden brown, about 20 seconds.
For the BBQ sauce: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for an additional 30 to 40 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. Sauce will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator stored in a tightly sealed container.
For the cole slaw: Whisk together the mayonnaise, onion, sugar, celery salt, vinegar and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cabbage and carrot and stir to combine, season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving.
Place hot dogs in the buns and brush dogs with BBQ sauce, top with coleslaw and pickle
Sweet Potato Fries
- 4 sweet potatoes, washed
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a baking sheet in the oven.
Work in two separate batches, separating the oil and potatoes up evenly.
On a cutting board, slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Slice each potato half into 6 wedges. Place wedges in a large bowl, add canola oil, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to coat.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Place the fries onto the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the fries and bake for another 15 minutes until brown and crispy. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.