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I love hot dogs. I will choose a dog over a burger most of the time. I’m picky, though. I want perfect hot dogs.
I won’t eat a cheap weenie. I actually really like turkey dogs, but all beef are also good. They need to be bun length and not too thick.
I’m less picky about toppings. I change it up. Here are my most frequent rotations:
- Chili, cheese and onion
- Chili and slaw
- Mustard, ketchup, relish, onion
- Just mustard and ketchup
- Cole Slaw
I’m picky about how hot dogs are cooked, too. Never boiled or microwaved. I don’t want an Instant Pot hot dog (looking at my sister, here).
I like my wieners burnt. I’ve achieved this in a pan on the stovetop, on a George Foreman grill, in the air fryer or by roasting in the toaster oven. My daughter and I tried cooking hot dogs over a candle flame once. That was a failed experiment.
My true weenie love is grilled hot dogs. However, I got married at 21 to a man who was afraid a grill would cause the house to explode. I moved out in April at age 40. My rental home has a propane grill in the backyard. The only thing I’ve known about grills is from watching Hank Hill.
(Sidenote, I recently learned the term “latent homosexual” and also learned the Internet often uses it to describe Hank Hill, who sells propane and propane accessories.)
I was excited to grill my own hot dogs. But I kept burning them to ash. A couple of my friends helped me troubleshoot. I had the temperature too high and I was getting distracted by going back into the house, coming back to blackened logs.
“Master grilling hot dogs and no one will ever underestimate you again,” my friend said.
High stakes. (Not steaks. Baby steps, yo.)
A different friend came to visit Memorial Day weekend. I had big plans to grill up the perfect hot dogs for him. I was going to conquer it.
But when it came time, I lost my motivation. He’d been cooking delicious food all weekend and I like people being take care of. I gladly let him take over hot dog grilling, too.
He started by chopping up onion and baby bell peppers from his mother’s garden. He grilled those in a foil packet. He toasted the buns on the grill.
He informed me my grill cooks really unevenly and getting my hot dogs so completely charred beyond edible was actually a talent. He wasn’t even being snarky. I truly have the best friends. (Though some of them are also wonderfully snarky.)
He’s a pro and despite grill imperfections still grilled up magazine photo spread worthy perfect hot dogs.
We chopped up horseradish pickles we got at the liquor store and found some Boar’s Head peppercorn dijonaise in the fridge.
How to build perfect hot dogs:
The perfect hot dog is a grilled all beef bun length dog on a toasty bun, topped with dijonaise, grilled peppers, caramelized onions and chopped horseradish pickles.
Oh. My. God.
Explosion of flavors. Hot dog perfection achieved.
I kept practicing and did eventually master grilling hot dogs. People still underestimate me, though.
I just wrote a 500 word love letter to a hot dog. I’m ok with that.
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