Reader’s in Hot Dog Heaven!

Hey, everybody!  Reader here, and now that barbecue season is in full swing (though really, does it every truly end?), let’s talk about one of my favourite things to grill…

The humble hot dog.  The terrific tubesteak.  The wonderful weiner.

Whatever you call them, it’s tough to beat a few hot dogs, whether they’re done on the BBQ, or roasted over an open fire.

What makes a great hot dog?  Is it the quality of the meat, the toppings, or maybe the way it’s cooked?  I think it’s all of those things combined.

First and foremost, you’ve gotta have great meat.  A happening hot dog starts with a good quality sausage that is juicy and full of flavour.  Whether it’s beef, pork, chicken, or a combination of meats, the tubesteak should be well-seasoned and have a nice snap when you bite into it.

We’re lucky here in east central Saskatchewan, as we have the best hot dogs right here in our own back yard, made by Harvest Meats.  You can’t beat a Harvest hot dog!  So good!

Next, let’s talk about the toppings.

You can put pretty much anything on a hot dog, and customize them just the way you like ‘em.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to dressing up a hot dog.  From classic mustard and ketchup to sauerkraut, relish, onions, chili, cheese, and more, the toppings can take a hot dog from good to great.

It’s all about finding the perfect balance of flavors and textures to complement the savory sausage.

For me, at the very least, I have to have mustard for my dogs.  If I have the fixin’s right in front of me, I’ll go nuts with one of two combos – chili and cheese, or mustard, onions, sauerkraut and bacon.

About to tuck in to my two favourite hot dog combos… chili and cheese on a couple, with mustard, sauerkraut, onions and bacon on the other. It’s hot dog heaven!

I will say, many people seem to say ketchup is a no-no on a hot dog, especially in Chicago, but I say do what you like.  I save ketchup for my fries, but don’t care for it on hot dogs or burgers.  But you do you!

In fact, the Chicago-style dog is famous around the world. I’ve never been to the Windy City, but if I ever get there, I’ll definitely be trying one!

And of course, how the hot dog is cooked plays a big role in its greatness.  There are many ways to do up your dogs – grilled, boiled, steamed, or even fried – there are so many ways to cook a hot dog.  Each method brings out different flavors and textures, so it’s really a matter of personal preference.

I will say, though, that after years of elementary school hot dog sales as a kid back home in Conquest, if I never eat another boiled hot dog, it’ll be too soon!  The smell of hot dog water alone almost makes me gag.  But I digress!

In high school in Outlook, a retired teacher, Mrs. Petty (RIP) used to run the concession stand (affectionately known as the “Petty Stand”) at lunch time, and she always fried hot dogs on an electric griddle, and they were always tasty.

Personally, I love a grilled hot dog with a nice char (though not burnt to a crisp) on the outside, and a juicy center.

I live in an apartment with no balcony, so a barbecue is out.  I always do mine in the oven, under the broiler.  It’s about as close as I can get to the weiner roast experience without a fire!

My mom actually does them in the air fryer, and they’re pretty good.  I’ve never tried that… I may have to give it a go!

Hot dog preferences are definitely a case of “different strokes for different folks.”

In the end, what makes a great hot dog is a combination of high-quality meat, delicious toppings, and expert cooking techniques.

Whether you prefer a classic ballpark hot dog or a gourmet creation with unique toppings, a great hot dog is tough to beat.

So next time you’re craving a hot dog, make sure to seek out the best of the best and savor every delicious bite.

My last round of DIY chili cheese dogs, with my homemade chili and Harvest hot dogs (of course!)

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