There are so, so many ways to cook and to top a hot dog. While each special in their own way, here’s is my “go to.”
With all the variations of hot dog available, none of them perfectly satisfy me, although the Chicago Dog comes close. So here’s my ideal dog recipe including the toppings that make it shine, custom made for me by the Great Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s.
Serve with: your favorite pale ale.
- 1 fresh baked bun long enough to hold it all. This may be the trickiest part. For my ultimate dog I do not use the flimsy hot dog bun. I look for a fresh baked oblong bun about 7" long and 3" high. I want a soft center that will make a pocket for the dog and all the ingredients. I also want a crunchy crust but nothing so tough as a baguette. A hard crust will cause the dog to squirt out the end and onto the lap of the person across from you. Slice it open and toast it on the grill.
- 1 bun length jumbo hot dog. A Sabrett. But they're hard to find outside NY and NJ, so try Hebrew National or the Oscar Mayer XXL Premium Beef Frank. It's not a bland kid's dog and it's big enough to fill the bun. Most of the other dogs in my grocery are too small. And don't turn your nose up at Oscar Meyer. The Premium is for adults. The others are for kids. Cut an X in the ends before grilling until there are char marks but don't allow the casing to burn or blister. Place in the bun.
- 1 long thick squirt Dijon-style mustard. Goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Steak and potatoes. Hot dogs and mustard. The combo is unbeatable. I prefer brown, spicy Dijon style mustard's depth and complexity to ballpark yellow mustard for this recipe. Better still, try my Grownup Mustard Sauce. Lay down the mustard on one side of the top of the frank so it will act like glue to hold down the raw onions.
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh onions. Chop enough onion just before using it or it can get stinky. Vidalia or Walla Walla onions are sweet, juicy, and less biting than other onions. Spread them between the frank and bun on one side only.
- ½ onion, caramelized and flavored. I love Sabrett's Onion Sauce, but frankly I prefer caramelized onions for this recipe. Slice the remaining onion and slowly cook it in a nonstick pan with 2 pats of butter until brown throughout. When it is brown, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of hot chipotle powder. Spread them along the other side of the frank.
- 1 tablespoon Japanese pickled ginger, chopped. This is the stuff you get in Japanese restaurants to garnish sushi and sashimi. You can buy it in jars in a lot of groceries nowadays. Sprinkle on top of the mustard.
- Celery salt. Sprinkle lightly over the ginger.
- Cook. Toast the bun, cut the X in the ends, and grill the hot dog.
- Prepare the caramelized onions using our recipe here.
- Serve. Place the hot dog into the bun. Add mustard, chopped onions, caramelized onions, and pickled ginger. Dive in.