One of the best parts about summer is firing up the grill. As soon as I feel the summer heat of Nebraska, I inevitably crave hamburgers, barbeque, grilled sweet corn, and of course, a hot dog. When it comes to hot dogs, I get really excited about the sauces, garnishes, and other toppings to embellish this simple summer food. You can put more on a hot dog than just mustard, ketchup and relish. During the summer I constantly crave a Chicago-style hot dog that traditionally comes with a multitude of toppings, such as a dill pickle spear, celery salt, thick-sliced tomatoes, yellow mustard (no ketchup), chopped onions, and peppers all on a poppy seed bun. Sometimes I get a hankering for a New York hot dog from a street vendor topped with the customary onion sauce. One of my favorite hot dog establishments is Hillbilly Hot Dogs in West Virginia. Click here to check out their amazing (and amazingly strange!) menu of hot dogs with an assortment of toppings you would never dream of. Perhaps you will get some inspiration for your own hot dog creation. At Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, we love hot dogs so much we are even having special hot dog events every Thursday in October!
As soon as I arrived home from college, I did my hot dog research in order to have a nice family dinner of hot dogs. Whoever said hot dogs can’t be a gourmet meal? To me, a hot dog is like a blank canvas. Once you start with a good-quality hot dog there is an endless possibility of toppings! On this particular night, I made an assortment of Wimmer’s Wiener’s and Omaha Steak hot dogs. Both brands are extremely flavorful! I decided to grill the hot dogs, since this gives them a crisp outer casing and a smoked flavor while the inside remains juicy. My favorite hot dog brands include Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, Wimmer’s Wieners, and Omaha Steak hot dogs. At Vala’s Pumpkin Patch we will be selling Nathan’s Famous hot dogs at our new food location, Cobs and Dogs, featuring corn on the cob and hot dogs with a toppings bar!
The toppings are where I was allowed to be creative. I made quick homemade dill pickles ready to eat in just 30 minutes, homemade coleslaw, and homemade pimento cheese. A homemade coleslaw can be whipped up in a jiffy. Just mix a package of coleslaw mix (or you can grate your own cabbage and carrots) and mix with a chopped onion, ¾ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise, a splash of cider or white wine vinegar, and sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. As the coleslaw mixture sits for a bit, the flavors will meld together. Coleslaw makes a great topping for hot dogs especially with grilled hot peppers, as it will cool down the flavor of the peppers. The pimento cheese is a recipe I adapted from Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon. I mixed together ¾ lb good quality extra-sharp cheddar cheese, ¾ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise, 2 tbsp diced roasted jalapeno, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp olive oil, sea salt and black pepper to taste.
I laid out the buffet of toppings, as my family sat to eat the grilled hot dogs. Everyone’s hot dog was unique. My perfect hot dog included celery salt, coleslaw, pimento cheese, and the homemade pickles. It was an ideal combination, one that I had been craving ever since the weather warmed up. The spicy pimento cheese was cooled down by the creamy coleslaw, and the pickles gave it a refreshing crunch.
What is your perfect hot dog?