HOT DOG…ITS FINALLY SUMMER!

| July 12, 2014

Since July is officially “Hotdog” month, here are some interesting facts about national hotdog consumption:

  • Americans eat 7 billion franks from Memorial Day until Labor Day. 
  • Midwesterners prefer the pork and beef variety, while Westerners take the lead in chicken and turkey hotdog consumption along with Southerners.
  • Easterners prefer and eat the most all beef hotdogs.

Numero uno for those of us from NYC is the delectable Hebrew National all-beef frank. This New York classic is really a “tube steak” since it has no fillers and is very satisfying.  To be the real deal, it can be boiled or grilled (preferably the latter) and topped with kosher deli mustard, sauerkraut and is served with a crunchy sour or half-sour pickle.  This lip-smacking dog can be found at most kosher delis and occasionally at your neighborhood food cart.  Old time New Yorkers say the perfect drink pairing is a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda if you are lucky enough to find it.  There are other all beef hotdog choices, but since Hebrew National “answers to a higher authority” we think it is the best!

Of course, a close second would be the original pushcart version Sabrett hotdog served on corners all over NYC.  Sabretts are a garlicky all-beef frank in a natural casing cooked on a flatiron griddle. They are dressed with spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut, and topped with a griddled onion sauce. There are more than 5000 pushcarts selling these dogs all over the big apple.  Stop at any corner and see a happy NYC foodie munching away. We have shared a recipe for the “delish” onion sauce below, so those of you at home can experience a true NYC hotdog.

Chicago is also famous for it’s popular hotdog. Conceived in 1929 at Flunky’s deli in Chicago, this “Windy City” treat is steamed or grilled and served with mustard, relish, onion, pickles, banana peppers, lettuce, tomatoes and celery salt in a poppy seed bun and is still readily available in the Chicago area.

In 1929 the Chicago dog was known as a "Depression Sandwich" since the Hot Dog with all the fixings and french fries was ONLY $.05!

Here is a recipe for the secret sauce that makes a NYC hotdog unique:

hotdog cart by Kathleen Conklin

Photo by Kathleen Conklin

Pushcart Onion Sauce

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions:

1) Combine the water and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk it until smooth, whisk in the tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, hot sauce, and season with a pinch of cinnamon.

2) Warm the oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt to extract the moisture. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Cook until the edges start to brown. Remove from heat immediately. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

3) Add the liquid, stir, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom. Turn the stove to low and simmer with the lid on for 1 hour. Check frequently to make sure it is not burning and the water has not evaporated. Add water if needed. The final result should be thick sauce. Let it cool for an hour. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Makes enough sauce for four hotdogs.

Have a Happy HOTDOG  Season!

cgoldblatt@dailyfoodandwine.com

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