I have an almost irrational fondness for sausage that extends even more irrationally to hot dogs. A good hot dog can be a thing of beauty and a stupendous culinary experience besides. A bad hot dog is at best sad and at worst something that will make you vomit in a dark alley somewhere far away from home. After some years of obtaining hot dogs in various locales on this planet, here are some guidelines for their proper construction.
- Fried or grilled are much better than steamed or boiled.
- Generally, you want more dog than bun. Too much bun is bad. I don’t really go for poppy-seed buns either.
- A limited number of condiments is better than putting a whole salad bar on top of the poor piece of sausage. There is no reason to ever have more than three things on the dog at once.
- It is not always the case that chili and/or cheese on a hot dog is a sin.
- Under no circumstances, however, should you ever put ketchup on a hot dog.
- Some people like sauerkraut. I’m neutral.
- Never, under any circumstances except possibly the threat of death to you and your entire extended family, buy a “hot dog” in Paris, France. Almost everything related to food is better in Paris, but they know nothing about hot dogs.
- Hot dogs taste better at the ball park.
My favorite hot dogs are made at a place called The Original, or “The O” in Pittsburgh. My favorite O dogs are the big all beef dogs with onions, a bit of mustard and maybe pickles or relish. I also love the same dogs with chili and/or cheese and onions if I’m in the mood. O dogs are grilled on a big flat grill for hours so they have a nice crunchy crust to them that is a pleasure to bite into. They also tend to be larger than the bun.
Of course, what I like may not be what you like. So on the one hand, the list above is really just my own personal set of guidelines. On the other hand, if you disagree with them, chances are you are a sniveling freak who wouldn’t know good food if it came up to you and bit you on the ass. Just my friendly opinion.