Most people might think a chef would turn her nose up to hot dogs, but not this one! Hot dogs might seem like a low brow food to some, but I beg to differ. A hot dog is a Frankfurter, and a Frankfurter is a gourmet sausage! I’ll do you all a favor and refrain from turning my blog into political commentary, but I may press a few hot “dog” buttons. Frankfurters should be made with pork; there I said it. I might be thrown out of Chicago for that statement, but I believe it wholeheartedly. If you don’t eat pork that is clearly a good reason to disagree, but if you do eat pork make sure to select a hot dog made with pork or at least some pork in it. A traditional Frankfurter is made with pork and pork gives a hot dog its unique taste and wonderfully rich, airy texture. All beef hot dogs do not indicate a better-quality hot dog. In fact, I would argue that the measure of a high-quality hot dog is that it is made with pork!
Now that we have established that hot dogs are gourmet, our second hurdle is to convince you they are worthy of being the centerpiece of your party. One of the things I have found that makes a party really fun, is simply to do something unexpected. A chef throwing a hot dog party is certainly that. If you are not a chef, serving some truly unique dogs will do the trick.
My late friend Kathleen Rabe was the queen of this idea, and she threw the best parties ever. They were fun, quirky, elegant, and she managed to make everyone feel like the party simply wouldn’t be the same without you. My nickname for Kathleen was Kathleenie Weenie and most of the time, just Weenie. Weenie was an amazing cook and made every single thing she did a celebration.
Only she could turn the lowly hot dog into a party and her Dragon's Breath Hot Dog parties had waiting lists of people trying to get in. The assembly of the Dragon's Breath Hot Dog was a serious matter, and no one could attend if you couldn’t commit to eating at least one Dragon's Breath Hot Dog assembled in the manner is was intended to be eaten: bun, hot dog, spicy barbecued onions, pepperoncini peppers, sliced tomato and pickle. It was pure sacrilege to leave off one of the ingredients!
Weenie threw a Dragon's Breath party centered around just one hot dog preparation, but I felt like I needed to create another specialty hot dog in her honor and to bring just a little more party to the party. The second recipe I will share with you today is a Banh Mi inspired hot dog. Banh Mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich, which if you have never tasted you should run out and try immediately! I just taught a virtual cooking class this week on how to make a grilled chicken Banh Mi sandwich.
There are many versions of Banh Mi, but traditionally it is made with pork or pork pâte. Since a hot dog is essentially a pork pâte, I thought it would be perfect to turn into a hot dog Banh Mi. I have topped my hot dog Ban Mi with some of the traditional toppings: pickled carrots and daikon, basil, cilantro, cucumber and hot chilis, but instead of the traditional mayonnaise and sriracha, I made a peanut sauce aioli. What I did to make this sauce was basically make a peanut sauce and added the elements of homemade mayonnaise, and the result was a smash hit!
Dragon's Breath Hot Dog
2 packages pork hot dogs
2 packages hot dog buns
For the Barbecued Onions:
4 large onions, peeled sliced thin
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup barbecue sauce
3 Tablespoons Sambal Oelek
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 Tablespoon mustard powder
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup of water
For the Garnishes:
1 jar pepperoncini peppers
1 jar of dill pickle spears, sliced lengthwise into about ¼ inch thickness
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
Preheat a deep skillet over low to moderate heat. Add oil and onions and cover, cook for approximately 20 minutes stirring every 3 to 5 minutes. The lid helps to keep the moisture in and keep the onions from browning too much. We want to cook these onions until very tender, but not caramelized. A little browning is fine but too much will make the onions too sweet.
Add the barbecue sauce, Sambal, hoison, mustard, vinegar and water. Cook uncovered until reduced to half, about another 20 minutes.
Add the hot dogs to the cooked onions and store in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours.
Remove the hot dogs from the onions and place the onions in a sauce pan, over low heat to reheat them. While the onions are warming, grill the hot dogs over a low heat, about 250 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Warm your buns slightly on the grill.
To assemble, place the hot dog in the bun, cover with hot onions, 3 to four slices of tomato, dill pickle slice and a pepperoncini pepper.
Banh Mi Hot Dog
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
2 packages pork hot dogs
2 packages of hot dog buns
For the Peanut Sauce Aioli:
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon peeled ginger
2 green onions, white and green parts
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup of mint leaves
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Salt to taste
Put all ingredients into blender except grapeseed oil and salt. Turn on the blender and blend until pretty smooth and then slowly drizzle in the oil. Taste for salt and add some if needed. If your peanuts are salted, you may not need any.
For the Garnishes:
1 cup pickled carrots
1 cup pickled daikon
1 English cucumber julienned
2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup basil leaves
2 red and green jalapeno or serrano peppers, sliced thin
For the Pickled Carrots:
1 cup of carrot, grated or julienned
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fine salt
Put the shredded carrots in a mason jar, top with remaining ingredients and let marinate in the fridge overnight.
Note: Pickled daikon is made the exact same way, just substitute grated daikon for the carrot. If you can’t find daikon, just double the amount of carrots or use radishes.
Cook your hot dogs over a low heat on the grill, approximately 250 degrees for about 10 minutes. Remember to warm your buns slightly on the grill.
To assemble: spread a nice amount of peanut sauce aioli over the insides of the bun, place the hot dog inside, top with basil, pickled daikon and carrot, cilantro leaves and hot peppers.
I wish you all a happy Fourth of July and hope that you find time to celebrate with friends and family, whether that be virtually or in person. If you want to join us in celebration we will be offering several virtual classes around the holiday weekend:
- Virtual Cook Along: Fried Chicken Picnic Dinner Friday, July 3 4pm CST
- Virtual Family Cook Along: Ricotta Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Monday, July 6 5pm CST