There is little doubt that the hotdog came to us from Germany. If you visit a German butcher shop, you might well be confronted by dozens of sausage choices (Wikipedia lists more than forty). Bratwurst, Currywurst, Knackwurst, Leberkäse, and Weisswurst are just a few of the ones you might recognize, but there are dozens more you would not.
But when you walk up to the meat counter in a local grocery store, you won’t find near the diversity in sausages that you will find in Germany, but you will find a pretty good selection of hotdogs to choose from. Are you sticking your nose up into the air at the mere mention of the great American sausage? Sure, there are hotdogs whose ingredient list you will not want to read, but there are others that are much better. If you buy good quality hot dogs and treat them with the respect they deserve and load them with all the wonderful things that can make a hot dog sensational, then you will have something pretty amazing to eat.
Are you still doubtful? OK, what if I tell you about a nicely grilled hot dog, anointed with pimento and cheese, then put back on the grill until the pimento and cheese are melted and bubbly hot? What if you were to add smoky bacon to that pimento and cheese dog? What about a hot dog loaded with the same mixture that makes Oysters Rockefeller so delicious in spinach, butter, breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese? I think you see my point.
Here are a few of the top hotdogs, as selected by The New York Times:
(We Taste-Tested 10 Hot Dogs. Here Are the Best. By JULIA MOSKINJUNE 27, 2017)
1. Hebrew National Kosher Beef Franks
2. Applegate Organic Beef Hot Dog
3. Nathan’s Famous Skinless Beef Franks
4. Oscar Mayer Classic Beef Uncured Franks
5. Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters Original Family Recipe
One final note of your choice of bread for your hot dog feast. There is nothing wrong with traditional hot dog buns, but my preference is Kings Hawaiian hot dog buns. The flavor is better and the texture is as well. If you want to go for a more European-style approach to a sausage in a bun, use crusty French bread or a po-boy loaf.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a regular hot dog, in a plain bun, anointed with catchup and mustard, but if you crave something just a bit more exotic, try one of these recipes.
6. Pimento and Cheese Hot Dog
1-2 best quality hot dogs per person
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 block cream cheese
½ cup mayo
Season with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
Combine the cheese, cream cheese, and mayo, season, and mix well. Grill the hot dogs until they have a good, well-marked char, add a hot dog to each bun, load with pimento and cheese and put back on the grill for the bread to toast and the pimento and cheese to melt. Serve at once.
7. Chili and Pimento and cheese hot dog
A variation of the above recipe is to add Wolf brand chili with beans, or if you have a homemade recipe of chili us it instead, on top of the hot dog, then add the pimento and cheese, and finally grill to melt.
8. Pimento and cheese with bacon hot dog
A final variation on the pimento and cheese dog is to add crispy smoked bacon then load with the P&C, then grill.
9. Olive Salad Hot Dog
I am a big fan of olive salad, which most people use for the famous New Orleans muffuletta sandwich. It is a versatile beginning to a lot of recipes, but to use it as a topping to a well-charred hot dog is nothing short of delightful and delicious. Add sliced jalapenos for spice.
10. BBQ and slaw Hot Dog
This is a pretty unusual hot dog idea, but I am told by friends that it is delicious. Choose the bread of your liking, grill the dogs until they have a good char, then load the bun with hot dog, coleslaw and your favorite BBQ sauce. Make sure to have paper towels on hand!