Make us your home page
Instagram

Salute the baseball season with dressed-up hot dogs

At its essence, a hot dog is just a mild sausage in a bun. Nothing terribly complicated about that, until geographic preferences are considered, some so strong that they might bring dissenters to blows.

A Jersey dog is deep-fried and piled with fried potatoes. In Cincinnati, they like them dripping with thin, spicy chili without beans. Chicagoans pile on the toppings — mustard, sweet pickle relish, onion, tomato, pickled sport peppers (hot yellow chiles), celery salt and a dill pickle spear on a poppy-seed roll — and hope they don't tumble out and down the front of their shirts. Out West just about anything goes, including nacho cheese and avocado.

A Florida hot dog doesn't have much distinction, but we could start a tradition with a Cuban sandwich-style dog dressed with melted Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and a dill pickle. Or maybe a Tarpon dog piled with tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Still, just like the rest of America, we like hot dogs, especially at outdoor parties and baseball games.

We are thinking about hot dogs because the Tampa Bay Rays are back at Tropicana Field, opening the season against the Baltimore Orioles. Our Pavlovian response to the crack of the bat is a hot dog piled with toppings, a cold beer and peanuts.

Besides the toppings, many people are loyal to a brand, and among the most popular are Nathan's, Oscar Mayer, Hebrew National, Ball Park and Vienna. It's such a beloved treat that even nonmeat eaters have demanded vegetarian varieties, often called "tofu pups."

There are a number of ways to cook them, including boiling, steaming, pan-frying and even microwaving. Each enhances the flavor in a different way. Grilling leaves those appealing char-stripes, and that's the preparation method we are recommending today to go with some innovative topping ideas.

How about it, slugger? Ready to trade your relish for pickled jalapeno? Or transform your sauerkraut dog into a Reuben on a bun by adding Swiss cheese and Thousand Island? Remember, if you want the cheese to melt, shred it finely and place it on top of the hot dog as soon as it comes from the grill or melt it on the bun under the broiler or on a closed grill.

The drippier the toppings, the sturdier the bun needs to be.

The dogs

Here are some ideas, inspired by foodnetwork.com and other Internet recipe sites, to get you started:

Southwest Dog

Wrapped in bacon and grilled; topped with pinto beans, tomato, onion, avocado and cilantro.

Reuben Dog

Sauerkraut heated with caraway seeds, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and dill pickle chips.

Fugetaboutit Dog

Sauteed peppers (red and green), onions and garlic stewed with diced tomatoes.

Cuban Dog

Swiss cheese, mustard and dill pickles.

Crunchy-Corn Dog

Chili beans, shredded cheddar, pickled jalapenos and crushed Fritos.

Far East Dog

Brush with hoisin or plum sauce before grilling. Garnish with sliced cucumbers, scallions, cilantro and more sauce.

Guacamole Dog

Guacamole, sour cream, diced tomatoes and onions.

BBQ Dog

Brush dogs with barbecue sauce before grilling then top with coleslaw.

Real Hot Dog

Shredded jalapeno Jack cheese and sliced pickled jalapenos.

SKINNY Dog

Turkey dog or tofu pup with mustard, ketchup and dill pickle relish. Whole wheat bun, of course.

Onion Dog

Saute 1 sliced onion in vegetable oil; add 3 tablespoons ketchup, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 ½ cups water and cayenne and paprika; simmer until thick.

Philly Cheesesteak Dog

Melted cheese (Velveeta!), sauteed peppers and onions and a dash of hot sauce.

Salute the baseball season with dressed-up hot dogs 04/02/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 1, 2013 3:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  3. ‘80s acts dominate lineup of 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

    Blogs

    Oh, yes. Christmas is coming early this year to ‘80s fans in Florida. Disney’s Epcot Center has announced the lineup to its “Eat to the Beat” concert series that coincides with their annual International Food & Wine Festival.

  4. Equality Florida leader honored at Tampa U2 concert

    Briefs

    TAMPA — Equality Florida director Nadine Smith couldn't attend last week's U2 concert in Tampa, but she can tell you which of her friends had great seats for the June 14 show at Raymond James Stadium.

    Nadine Smith, Equality Florida founder and CEO, received a unique distinction last week when U2 included her in a montage of photos saluting activism and women leaders.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 23

    Events

    Leslie Odom Jr.: A solo concert by the Broadway star who won a Tony for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. 7 p.m., Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35.50-$55.50. (813) 229-7827.

    Leslie Odom Jr. accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical in "Hamilton"  during the 70th Annual Tony Awards  on June 12, 2016.  (Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)