Talking About Hot Dogs

We have talked about hot dogs before, but I feel compelled to do so again. It’s been a long time since I had a hot dog anywhere but at home. I have a gas grill on my stove, and it does a good job of browning them, as they should be. What could be worse than a hot dog that has been only boiled and is limp and unappetizing? It’s just got to be a little crusty for me. I know the proponents of Chicago-style dogs, or any big city that has hot dog carts ambling about their streets would disagree, but so be it. Of course, the very best way to cook a hot dog is over the embers of a hardwood fire (hardwood charcoal is good too).

What’s the worst possible dog of all? Chicken. The chicken dog is simply an abomination. You know it made with chicken “parts,” just like chicken tenders, which included head and all. I used to fish for brim in a river close to where I lived for a while in Florida and usually used hot dogs as bait. The river was loaded with bream, and I caught a ton (I always threw them back), but once I used chicken dogs instead, I never got a bite. That’s how bad chicken dogs are.

Better quality hot dogs are all beef. Nathan’s are good, as are Hebrew National, Whole Food’s 365 Organic and believe it or not Oscar Mayer’s are pretty good too. But perhaps the most important question is what to put on your dog. As far as I am concerned, almost anything goes. I wouldn’t add pineapple, or any other fruit, peanut butter might be stretching, but other than that, I am game. 

I want my hot dog to be messy, and I mean really messy. If you don’t have stuff running down your hand when you eat a good dog, then you did something wrong. I love lots of cheese, chili, coleslaw, and of course mayo, ketchup, and hot German mustard. Pickled jalapeños are good, and pickle relish too.

I’ve eaten hot dogs in tortillas, and especially like the small wheat street style taco. I’ve also had them on white bread too, but only as a last resort. The best is simply a hot dog but and absolutely the best when browned over a hardwood fire. 

I recently had a hot dog at Five Guys in D’Iberville. Although they are known for burgers and fries, their hot dogs are amazing. Definitely the best around. They are split and grilled, so that there are caramelized, and they have a long list of condiments too. It was a pretty tame dog, by my standards, adding only bacon, cheese, ketchup and grilled onions, but it was a damn good hot dog. A good dog doesn’t need fries or chips. It does just fine solo, but never forget the napkins. 


Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."


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