I’m a consummate dog lover. I adore the furry four, legged kind, every breed and size. I’ve also an animal lover all my life’ I have a special affinity to horses, they are such intelligent, graceful and noble animals. I’ll admit, I’m bug-phobic and for that matter I have arachnophobia (although I am pretty handy with a can of Raid). When I lived in AZ, open, desert areas abound with wolf-spiders. If you’ve crossed paths with a wolf spider and I’m sure the possibility of that is rather slim, they are large, hairy arachnids that have distinctive markings and make their burrows in the sand. The dwelling of a wolf spider, are nickel-sized holes in the ground, surrounded by a mound of earth. They are dormant during the day’s heat, active hunters at night and they qualify for the arachnid Olympics as they are extremely fast and agile jumpers – they do bite but aren’t venomous and the one good thing about them is that their sustenance is vermin. Be forewarned, the sheer size of them is intimidating enough to have you running for the hills!
Anyway, this is called One Hell of a Dawg and not One Hell of a Spider, so I digress.
Hotdogs, the true nostalgic American favorite, reviving heartwarming memories of cook-outs and ballgames. Almost anything can be slapped on a dawg. From chili, fries, sauerkraut, slaw and that’s before you’ve selected any toppings and sauces. Today, hotdogs aren’t just wieners smacked atop bun with ketchup, mustard and relish, their transformation is astounding, their adaptations are truly adventurous making them an uplifting dining experience.
The best way to prepare the wieners is to steam them and then split them lengthwise but keep them connected through the middle, flatten them a bit and get a nice sear on them on a frying pan or griddle. Plain hoagie or sandwich rolls with seeds are the best vehicle to showcase dawgs, as they’re larger and accommodate the toppings better.
ASIAN DAWG – Slap the grilled dog on the bun and top with teriyaki sauce, very finely chopped Vidalia onion, Sriracha mayo and chopped pieces of grilled pineapple
CHICAGO DAWG – Slice some think slices of ripe tomato, place the dawg on top, half a large dill pickle, finely chopped Vidalia onion and some banana peppers – add relish, ketchup and mustard
CONEY ISLAND DAWG – All beef dawg on a bun, topped with bean-less chili, diced white onions and yellow mustard
MEXICAN DAWG – Top with Mexican crema, grilled onions, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, fresh salsa, pickled jalapeños, chopped avocado, cilantro Cotija cheese
L.A. DAWG – Wrap the wiener with a slice of bacon and secure with toothpicks. Fry the dog till the bacon is crispy. Sauté some onions, red and green bell peppers till soft with some salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add some mayo, mustard and ketchup on the bun and place the dawg on top, top with the pepper onion mixture, fresh chopped tomatoes, cilantro and slices of pickled jalapeños
SONORA DAWG – Wrap wiener with a slice of bacon like for the L.A. Dawg and fry till crispy. Add some yellow mustard on the bun, the bacon wrapped dawg, BBQ sauce and crispy fried onions on top
KOREAN DAWG – Place the seared dawg on the bun, add some Sriracha mayo, Asian Slaw, and finish with chopped scallions and cilantro and some more Sriracha mayo. (Asian Slaw: red and green cabbage shredded, thinly sliced apple, Vidalia onions, cilantro, scallions and whisk together some lime juice, lime zest, sugar, mayo and sour cream and mix with the cabbage)
HAWAIIAN DAWG – Place seared dawg on bun, add yellow mustard, mango salsa and slices of avocado (Mango salsa: chopped tomatoes, chopped poblano and jalapeño chilis, cilantro, chopped ripe mango, salt pepper and lime zest and juice and some sugar)
REUBEN DAWG – Slice some pastrami, give it a rough chop and sear on a skillet or griddle. Add some German mustard and Thousand Island on the roll, top dog, sauerkraut, the hot pastrami and Swiss cheese on top. The heat of the pastrami will melt the cheese
ITALIAN DAWG – Place some warm marinara on the bottom of the bread add a slice of mozzarella, place under the broiler for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and top with the seared wiener, fresh grated parmesan, Giardiniera and some fresh basil chiffonade. What makes this dawg is the pickled Giardiniera
BOSTON DAWG – Sear the dog and place it on a hoagie roll, add some yellow mustard, chopped Vidalia onions, grated Swiss cheese and baked beans topped with crispy onions
SOUTH OF THE BORDER DAWG – Lay a large flour tortilla down, place to seared dogs in the middle, some yellow mustard, Mexican crema, thick chili (with or without beans), grated cheddar cheese, chopped Vidalia onions, crunchy fresh bacon bits, crushed corn chips and red pepper flakes. Fold the sides like a large burrito, warm the whole “burrito” in a griddle and to serve cut in half with some chopped cilantro and some Mexican crema. This is perfect to use leftover chili!
Relish is rather a spectacular addition to dawgs and making your own is best as the preparation is beyond effortless and the flavor-bomb result is life-changing. Once you make it, you’ll never again purchase the store-bought kind.
2 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and cut into cubes
1 TBSP salt
1 red bell pepper – rough chopped
1 green bell pepper – rough chopped
½ sweet onion, rough chopped
¼ cup of ACV
1 TSP of mustard seeds
¼ cup of water
3 TBSP sugar
½ TSP of celery seeds
In a bowl, place the cucumbers, add about 1 TBSP of salt to bring out the water and leave for about 15 minutes. Cook the red and green bell peppers in a pan for about 5/10 minutes – half cooked but not mushy. In a medium sauce pan, add the cucumbers, the semi-cooked peppers, the raw onion with the rest of the ingredients. Add enough water to cover them (don’t add too much or your relish will be too watery). Bring everything to a boil and promptly remove from the heat, allowing it to cool down before blending with immersion blender. The relish keeps for about 2-3 weeks refrigerated