I made hot dogs the same way pretty much for years. They were always okay, but nothing to brag about. I think maybe in the back of my mind, the lowly wiener was just not important enough to warrant creative input from my imaginative culinary side. Then one day, I decided to try something different.
As a youngster, I was taught to boil the wiener in water, put it in a bun, and squirt various condiments on top. But as I grew and advanced in culinary skills, I knew there had to be a way to improve on this method of cooking a hot dog.
Things that go great with hot dogs are: potato chips, baked beans, coleslaw, or potato salad.
This method of cooking the lowly wiener is now a regular thing around my house. My family loves them, and they really are good. Here's what you'll need:
* All beef wieners (you can eat that other "stuff" if you want, we only eat beef wieners; we also prefer bun length)
* Soft buns (you want fresh buns here, not stale, although you can steam stale buns back to life if you insist on using old bread – I have other uses for old bread such as Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce)
* Hot dog relish
* Diced onions
* Mustard and ketchup
* Kraft shredded mexican style four cheese blend
* Hot dog chili sauce (Castleberry's is our favorite)
* Laura's homemade cole slaw
* Tin foil
* Cast iron skillet
Now, you do not have to do everything the same way I do it. I am letting everyone know how I do it, and you can adjust as you see fit.
Please note the hot dogs need to spend some time in the crock-pot in order to be good, and the steaming method I mention below is great. Plan properly so the dog packets get to warm and meld inside their "packet" in the hot crock-pot. I usually make the dogs and allow them 45 minutes to an hour in the crock.
- About an hour before dinner, turn the crock-pot on low and let it get warm.
- Heat up the iron skillet, and add a tablespoon of butter.
- Fry the beef wieners in the iron skillet.
- When they have a good "fry" on the outside, sort of like you get if you grill them, remove and place inside of a fresh non-stale soft bun (I am very particular about my bread being soft and fresh)
- Immediately wrap the assembled bun and wiener in tin foil, sealing all edges.
- Place in crock-pot.
- Repeat with remaining buns and wieners.
- Cover the crock-pot and leave it alone.
- Heat up the chili in the microwave or on the stove.
- Prepare the other condiments.
- Get everything on the table, including drinks, chips, dip, whatever.
- Then get out one assembled dog at a time for each diner, keeping the rest in the crock-pot with lid on to remain warm.
These warm up really great. Simply take the bun and wiener combination out of aluminum foil (do not forget this step in order to avoid a nasty microwave incident), wrap loosely in a paper towel, and microwave about 10-15 seconds. Do not overdo it, the bun will get hard.
Alternate method: I tried this once and it was even better. Place a rack in the bottom of the crock-pot before adding hot dogs. Add one tablespoon or so of water. Be careful, you do not want to have the dog packets sitting in liquid. The idea is to lightly "steam" them instead.
I usually eat two hot dogs, each made as follows:
Version # 1: (ingredients are in the order used) mustard, ketchup, relish, chili sauce, cheese, onions
Version # 2: (ingredients are in the order used) mustard, relish, onions, sauerkraut, homemade coleslaw
Now, a note here about slaw. There are all kinds of different ways to make coleslaw. There is also slaw mix that can be bought in a bag. I am as particular about my slaw as I am about my bread. My momma made coleslaw pretty much the same way for years, and it always tasted good.
If you've ever eaten bad coleslaw, you'll remember it. Some fast food restaurants have the audacity to CALL it coleslaw, but it is more like tasteless cardboard "stuff." Did it ever seem to you that the slaw in many restaurants is often stark white, as if it is all made entirely from the cabbage core? Makes you wonder what happened to all of the GREEN stuff.
I'll be sure to place a link to my coleslaw recipe at the end of the article, so be sure and grab that and try it with these delicious stadium style hot dogs.
I am very picky about certain things: fresh bread is one; fresh milk is another; good tasting coleslaw is important; I think the hot dog chili sauce by Castleberry's is great; I use the Kraft Mexican style four cheese blend almost daily; I want to know what is in the meat I eat. However, to each his own. Enjoy!