Post #620 Puttin’ on the Dog

January 9, 2019 at 2:17 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

At work the other day, we got into a conversation about hot dogs.  Our conversations are pretty far ranging.  But at that moment, it was about hot dogs.  We had this toy from Asia and it was in the shape of a loaf of bread.  It was made out of some soft foam rubber and was impregnated with a scent that was very much like cake.  It was definitely sweet smelling, not like bread at all.

As one guy was squeezing it and sniffing, he said, “This reminds me of the sweet dogs I used to get.”  He went on to explain that a local eatery no longer in business used to make a hot dog encased in a sweet bread and baked until the bread was done.  He said you got a taste of the hot dog and the sweet bread in one bite and it was amazing.

Another guy said, “I love a good hot dog.  When it’s made right, and you get that snap of the casing.  It’s tremendous.”

“Nathan’s,” I said.  “They’re the best.”

One young lady wasn’t having it.  “They’re terrible!” she squealed.  “They’ll kill you.”

“Only if you choke on one,” I said.  “Anything will kill you if you get too much of it.  Even water.”

“You know what it’s made of, don’t you?” she asked.

“Everyone knows what it’s made of,” we all said.

The second guy went on to describe how his favorite hot dog was made locally with pig intestine for casing to get that snap he liked so much, and the filling was made with quality pork and beef parts, mostly shoulder meat, he said.

The lady walked off in disgust and the conversation died a few moments later.

But I’ve been thinking about hot dogs ever since.

Hot dogs as a thing are simply sausages wrapped in a bun with condiments on top.  They’ve been around for centuries in one form or another.

Here in the U.S. many cities and states haves their own claim to fame for the hot dog.

The New York Style hot dog is served with sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard, and sometimes onions.  The hot dog though has to be all beef.

New Jersey Dogs have sautéed bell peppers, onions, and potatoes on them.

Chicago Dogs are intricate and if any of the ingredients are missing, it’s not a Chicago dog: they are served on a poppy seed bun and topped with mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions, “sport peppers”, bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt.

Rhode Island, where we just lived, has it’s own Hot Weiner, sometimes called just a Weiner.  It’s a dog on a bun with a chunky meat sauce and onions.  I’m told they’re delicious.  We never tried one.  Just never got around to it.

Even in Arizona, where we’re from, the hot dog takes on a distinctly Western flair, wrapped in a flour tortilla, lots of chilis and cheese, and any other topping you like, it’s nothing to turn your nose up to.

Hot dogs, though, get kind of a bum rap.  For so long, they were mass produced as cheaply as possible, and earned a reputation for being cheap and non-nutritious.  But as people started understanding how their food impacts them, and demanding better quality, hot dog makers paid attention and most of them changed their product to reflect the new norms.  Hot dogs really aren’t that bad for you anymore.  I’m not suggesting you make a full diet of them, but having one once in a while is not a bad thing.

My favorite way to eat a hot dog is grilled or boiled, on a sliced bun with a large squirt of mustard on top.  Nothing else.  Occasionally, maybe once in every hundred dogs eaten, I’ll add a thin line of ketchup, too.  My second favorite way is the chili-cheese dog.  But I eat that one mostly for the chili.

When we were kids, mom used to make up hot dogs when she got tired of arguing with us about dinner.  I got used to the idea that you had to have potato chips, cherry Kool-Aid, and a hotdog in a bun with mustard, ketchup, relish, and onion.  That’s how mom liked ’em, and that’s how she served ’em.  As I grew, I discovered I hated raw onions, and sweet relish (like sweet pickles) are a waste of time.  If it’s not dill, I don’t want it near me.  Then I lost my taste for ketchup, so by default, it was mustard only.  About the time I decided that, mom decided she wasn’t fixing a dozen hot dogs a dozen different ways and told us all to fix them ourselves.

I like a hotdog that’s a little bland and a little tasty.  I like a hot dog that come 8 to a package.  I like a hotdog that I’ve eaten a hundred times before and have never been let down.

If the package says “sausage” on it, my brain shuts down on the hot dog idea, and opens up to the “sausage” idea which need to be handled completely differently.  However, when I was in Frankfurt, Germany, I stumbled upon the:

Pretzelbrat!  This monstrosity is street food.  You can also get them in the beer halls, and low key restaurants.  It’s a fried bratwurst in a sliced pretzel roll.  In the corner is a dollop of spicy mustard.  I ate so many of these, I made myself sick of them.  The bratwurst is pork and seasonings that make a savory delicious morsel; and the pretzel bread is all the best of soft pretzels and bread combined.  So so good!

Well, that’s all I have to say about hotdogs today, but I’m likely to talk about them some more in the future.  Holler back and let me know what your favorite hot dog combos are.  And if you want to share this post, or any other post, please feel free.

As always,


  1. I adore hot dogs! Roasted, grilled, boiled, diced up in stuff, love em! I like sauerkraut and brown mustard and small amount of sweet onion. I love a good chili dog, a plain dog in a steamed bun…..ahh hot dogs……..

    • Sounds like we think alike!

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