Hot dogs, like golf, keep you humble and yet happy. Humble: It's hard to be a big shot when you're slicing balls into the wild blue yonder or when you've got mustard on your chin. Happy: Playing golf on a warm-but-wow day, how can you top the thrill of hearing your crisp 8-iron hiss heavenward? And then holding the pose as it hops softly on the green and rolls to eight feet from the cup? How can you top that? With a hot dog and a beer!
Hear me now: You can only go so long without a good dog, especially on the golf course or as the centerpiece of a post-round meal. I mean, there are limits to the lofty life of denial! Yes, yes, hot dogs are a no-no when you're trying to eat healthy — no argument here. But it's not good for the soul to always be good. To never be naughty with the likes of a filet mignon, martini, hot fudge sundae or, yes, a hot dog? C'mon!
There are limits to the lofty life of denial!
Hot Dog How-to
For those times when you have to answer the howl of the hot dog, here are three tips on preparing a dog right and one heavenly recipe from Steven Raichlen, author of "Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys". Raichlen knows full well the power of the dog. As his grandfather lay on his deathbed, his final food request — "uttered with some of the last words he spoke on Earth," writes Raichlen — was for a hot dog.
Here are the tips:
- Buy the best. If you're only going to do the "naughty nosh" in moderation and on special occasions, make the dogs the best. Raichlen says the top commercial brand is Hebrew National, which has the "perfect ratio of salt to spice."
- Grill, baby, grill. Nothing beats grilling dogs until the casings blister and brown. Two minutes per side, six to eight minutes in all, turning with tongs. To get an even smokier flavor, cut the dogs almost in half length-wise. Now open them and grill cut side down. Give a quarter turn halfway through the grilling to create a crosshatch of grill marks. Grill the second side the same way. If you don't have a grill, brown the dogs in a cast-iron skillet or cook them under a broiler until the casings blister.
- Toast your buns. Raichlen writes to split the buns in half, brush the insides with melted butter and lightly toast them cut side down on the grill (directly over the fire) for about one minute.
The "Dear" Dog Recipe
Raichlen's grandfather, Sam Raichlen, was nicknamed "Dear" and this is how he prepared hot dogs. He did all of the above using Hebrew National all-beef hot dogs sliced lengthwise nearly in half. He seared them in a skillet, browning the inside and exterior.
Next, he browned thin bologna slices and wrapped them around the hot dogs. He butter and toasted the buns, writes Raichlen, "slathered them with spicy mustard, and piled sauerkraut and pickles high on top" of the bologna-wrapped hot dog. The pickles were dill slices, sweet pickle slices or — incoming!! — pickled jalapeños. Now, we're talkin'!