Battle of the Grilled Hot Hogs
Hot dogs are classic fare at barbecues across planet barbecue. If you are going to or hosting a cookout there is good chance, there will be grilled hot dogs on the menu. How do you like your hot dog? The best way to prepare a hot dog is up for debate.
Did you know that the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year? About 70 hot dogs per person a year!
Steven Raichlen asked me to take on a hot dog challenge. Is there a “best” way to prepare a grilled hot dog? Crowd Cow sent me Pederson’s Natural Farms uncured beef hot dogs for my quest. Thank you!
I might eat one hot dog a year and it is usually at Fenway Park. It’s steamed and served with mustard from a vendor hustling through the park. I knew I could improve on the steamed hot dog.
I wanted to test the traditional hot dog served with mustard and relish against nontraditional preparations. Here is what I came up with after researching all the creative ways hot dogs are prepared around the world. I even put my own twist on a few.
Grilled Hot Dogs
To grill the hot dogs, I used the Nomad Portable Grill and Smoker. If you would like to learn more about the Nomad, check out my blog “Outrageous Brined, Smoked Pork Chops On the Portable Grill and Smoker from Nomad”. Hot dogs are often cooked at the beach, during camping trips, and at tailgate parties, so the Nomad was the perfect match for my hot dog challenge.
I prepared all the topping and accoutrements for the hot dogs while I heated up Nomad-brand charcoal in a chimney starter. When the charcoal was ready, I loaded up the Nomad and set it up for direct grilling.
I buttered and toasted the buns for each of the five hot dogs. The Nomad grate creates cool-looking grill marks. Now for the hot dogs. Three of the hot dogs were grilled as usual, but two were dressed up for the grill. One hot dog was wrapped in bacon and seasoned with barbecue rub, while another was split open and stuffed with mozzarella cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. I used toothpicks to secure the bacon and prosciutto.
Once the hot dogs were grilled it was time for the fixings.
In no specific order, here are the results. No surprise here; the barbecue dog was tasty. I liked the kick of the spicy barbecue sauce and the tangy pickles. The bacon was crispy, and I still got the snap you expect when eating a hot dog. I enjoyed the texture the sauerkraut gave the Reuben dog, and it balanced the creamy dressing. The Italian dog was the biggest surprise.
The freshness of the basil was fantastic. The crispy prosciutto balanced the creamy mozzarella, and the spice of the mustard was a perfect pairing for the beef hot dog. The avocado dog was a creation of available resources. I made an avocado salsa for fish tacos the night before and I didn’t want it to go to waste. The avocado salsa added a creamy and crunchy texture to the hot dog and the hot sauce put it over the top. The traditional dog did not disappoint, either. The spice of the mustard, the sweet relish, and snap of the beef hot dog was spot on!
So, what was my favorite? First place goes to the Italian dog since it was such a nice surprise, and second place goes to the traditional dog. If I only had to cook a few hot dogs, it would be the Italian or the barbecue dog. If I was cooking hot dogs for a crowd, it would be the traditional hot dog.