“Ball Park franks plumped when you cooked them, but Hercules Hot Dogs did something better. They came out of the package looking like normal, udder-pink wieners, but as they got hot, an amazing transformation took place…” -Jeffery Eugenides, MiddlesexA hamburger, done right, is a gorgeous, perfect thing, but how often do you come across the perfect burger? Either your standards are low or the burger is a plane ride away and you just have to settle. And there is no way you can get a good, simple burger for 50 cents at IKEA, at least, not in this century. Hot dogs are the underdog of the backyard barbecue. I find them highly underrated for what they are- perfect in any way, whether garnished with fifty toppings or a schmear of mustard.My ‘dog of choice is Ballpark’s Smoked White Turkey Franks. With 45 calories per dog and no fat, you’d have to eat eight of these suckers to knock off a little over half of your daily calories. This opens them to a wide range of possibilities and customization to give you a meal that doesn’t fatten you up from wet sausages or pork calories, leaving your belly room for the real star of the barbecue- beer and potato salad. Salud!We polished off a package of these in about a week, customizing them with a near-obnoxious amount of toppings, from slathering them with our two favorite mustards to a New England bastardization of a Georgia Hot. Keepitcoming Love even baked special hot dog buns for the occasion. I like to cook my dogs one way- with as much open surface area as I can possibly fit and a near-black char on that exterior so that the skin is bubbling and crisp. You can never overcook a turkey dog. When hot dog buns aren’t available, we turn to hamburger buns, an awkward fit but a better ratio of dog to bread, filling the bread to the gills with avocado, hot sauce, and in tonight’s case, tomato basil mayonnaise. Any way you slice it, the lowly hot dog can be made king with a few easy customizations. Convert the nay-sayers and start frying with some of our favorite sauces and sides. Tomato Basil Mayonnaise
Ingredients (tops three dogs)
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of ketchup
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
1. Chop basil and put it in a bowl. Measure out your two sauces and mix together.
2. Refrigerate until needed and top liberally.
Mustard Potato Salad
Ingredients (serves 2)
10-12 fingerling potatoes
4 tablespoons of oil or butter
4 tablespoons of grainy mustard
1. Chop your potatoes and throw them in a frying pan along with oil and spices. Heat and fry until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Place in a bowl and let cool.
2. When room temperature, toss with mustard and serve immediately.