Monday, August 4, 2014

DOG days of summer. (Do you sense a pun?)

To fully appreciate the season and kick my bucket list into the stratosphere I decided it was time to have a party at the Ranch.  Buckle up, people!  It's about to get rowdy!  

Until 11:00 pm.

After a random discussion regarding the merits of Sonic's (the restaurant not the hedgehog) hot dog selection, I decided my upcoming party would be a hot dog bar!

via Honey Rider (NSFW)
I thought it was the BEST IDEA EVAR that surely no one had ever thought of until I went on Pinterest and saw that EVERYONE had thought of it already.  It's like the new 'cupcake' kind of viral.  Except with phallic-shaped meats.   People are having hot dog bars for tailgating, children's birthday parties and as their wedding food.  I'm late to the game.  As usual.

But despite being terribly uncool (as usual) I forged ahead.  All you need for a hot dog party is meat, bread, toppings and a high tolerance for wiener jokes.  This is my jam!  Everyone else can be in charge of the sides and appetizers.

As a single person entertaining can sometimes get... hectic.  Fortunately, this idea allowed me to do almost everything beforehand so I don't have to recreate a Thanksgiving cornucopia of oven-time fuckery in the summer.  

So let's go step by step so you can throw your own sausage fest!

Step 1: Hot meat.
I was told Hebrew National are the best so I bought 50.  Done.  I don't grill (I'm only one girl and not sure I can handle that many hot wieners at once) so I found a way to roast them.  Yes, I googled the best way to roast hot dogs and of COURSE there's a "recipe."  
Closeup of meat trench from here. Seems almost indecent...
Making the slice down the middle was actually pretty beneficial (if not a little surgical?).  It was like a little trench that holds all the toppings and meat juice in place!  This is tube meat scienze, y'all.  I could fit about 20 on a cookie sheet so it was perfect.  I kept them warm on the stove in a double boiler with about 2 inches of water in the bottom until everything was done.  Easy.

I also threw in some chicken and apple sausages in case someone wanted to switch it up.  Too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

A friend just said she's been experimenting with marinating brats in different craft beers...  I'm intrigued!

Next year...

Step 2: Luscious buns.
Make sure your high quality wiener is nestled between the best buns available.  I searched high and low for pretzel buns but couldn't find them.  I even thought about making them but remembered I'm a fucking terrible baker.  Maybe next year.

Instead I just got a variety of potato buns and wheat buns and a few hoagie buns for the chicken sausages.  I found poppyseed buns the day AFTER the party.  Thanks for nothing, area grocery stores.  Gourmet hot dog party gone to SHIT!

I went to my best friend again, the internet, for all my burning bun questions and they said you could steam hot dog buns in the microwave in their plastic bag...  Really?  I don't even reheat food in Tupperware but those flimsy bags are microwave safe?  

By the time we were ready to eat I'd already had a cocktail or two so that plan sounded like a great idea.  However I'm 110% certain I poisoned my guests with that method.  No one's complained but their future children might possibly have three eyes.

I also totally miscounted (math iz hard) and ran out of buns.  But the next morning I woke up and found a bag of buns in the microwave so... 

But it was so easy and they stayed warm for so long I'll totally do it again.  For only 45 seconds next time...

Next year I'm making pretzel dogs and possibly corn dogs...  A variety of buns is best.

Step 3: Top it off.
This is where you really get to shine, fellow hot dog enthusiasts.  It's the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the sundae, the, um... condiments on a hot dog.

I accidentally grew some cucumbers this year (more on that in a later post) so I made some homemade sweet pickle relish.  I'm practically a homesteader when it comes to phallic foods!

Making its umpteenth appearance in my kitchen was my favorite bacon jam recipe.  I jazzed it up with some pomegranate balsamic I recently got at Olive (for local readers) and maybe cut back on the sweetness for this usage.

I also made a garlic aioli and it was my personal fave topping of the night.  This was real aioli - not garlic mayo - and was so, so easy that as long as you have two arms you can make it.  Or one arm and a nice friend.  I jazzed it up with some lavender rosemary olive oil (also from Olive, you can tell I had a recent shopping trip) and trying to figure out what else I can put it on because there's only so long an egg yolk can last, right?

The other players in the condiment orgy included:
Onions a million different ways: raw, fried, caramelized.  Those are actually the only ways I know how to serve onions...  onion jelly?

Mustard for days: classic yellow because this is America, you beef-loving fuckers, a spicy brown and even a champagne dill if you're feeling fancy.  I even used some of those honey mustard Snyder's pretzel bits but I think I was the only one to eat them.  That's fine.  I'm obsessed with them and they were a perfect bit of tangy crunch.

Other options included shredded cheese, pimento cheese, feta, pickled jalapenos, pepperoncini, mayo, apple relish (for the chicken and apple sausage), vegan chili (because why not?), Fritos, sour cream, salsa, bacon, sriracha, bbq sauce and Slawsa.

Oh and ketchup.  I was going to make some bacon pickle ketchup that I found in Food Network magazine but technically all the ingredients I already had listed above so I just combined them ON the dog.  Somewhere I have a gourmet "fancy catsup" recipe in an old Food&Wine but there's only so many condiments one girl can make and consume within the next few months.

I guess technically anything can be made a condiment if you're brave enough and depending on its geography so pasta salad, baked beans and coleslaw also topped that delicious cylinder of beef.  

I'm not a fan of coleslaw but my friend (@thebex) brought this lime and cilantro version and it was fantastic.  It has zero - ZERO - vinegar which come to find out is the reason why I'm not a fan of coleslaw.  Vinegar alone can't cover up bland flavors.

Once you have all of the elements in place you really just let nature take its course and watch people get creative.  There might be a contest next year.

I think these won the prize for biggest and most decorated pair of wieners of the night:

Pic from Eat Drink Frolic.
I am a bad blogger but a fun partier because I forgot to take any pictures.  Also, I was tipsy.  I did however take this picture of my fave combo I ate for leftovers the next day.

The money shot.
On the left: garlic aioli, honey mustard pretzel bits, caramelized onions and ketchup.

On the right: pimento cheese, bacon jam, fried onions.

Two wieners is about all I can handle at once.

If you're keeping track that was 304830849382 wiener jokes and I'm exhausted.

Because I'm all dawgged out I'm going to save the alcoholic beverage portion of the party for later but magic was made there too.  It was nothing but social lubrication, yummy meat and cringe-worthy innuendo so naturally we'll be doing it again next year.  Possibly every week in the near future until I can eat the leftover hot dogs...

I'm sweating onion and bacon out of every pore of my body right now...  I might actually BE a giant beef hot dog right now, I don't even know.  I'm so sated I can't even turn that into a wiener joke so y'all work something out in your heads.

In unrelated news, this is also my 600th post!  How exciting!  And it's full of the lamest jokes about wieners... sigh... I'm not surprised.  Thanks for reading and maybe I'll see you all next year at #WienerFest2015!


  1. I should not have read this post with a full stomach. I'm slightly nauseated and hungry now, dammit. I'm intrigued with your sauce madness. Memorial Day was a sausage fest over here (hur hur) and buying 8 different types was a terrible idea on my part (who needs pork & chicken Italian sausage?). Your idea is much better. All condiments, all the time.

    Seriously though, WeinerFest AND Beyonce in one summer?! Truly you are the queen of get-shit-off-your-bucket-list. All us plebes can do is shout "huzzah!" at your awesomeness....because apparently we're British....and it's 100 years ago.

    1. Just typing this made me hungry but grossed out too so it's a win/lose situation. I definitely recommend going bananas with the condiments and nothing else. The hot dogs are just the vehicle for the other flavors. Also, I'm lazy.

      I'm working like a BEAST to make the most of this summer and been pretty happy with my efforts so far! But as a plebe myself I can assure you that you can do it too! Even if you're 100 years old and British and possibly a ghost...

  2. This makes a potato bar look so boring!