Monday, September 13, 2010

You put what on your hot dog?

Now that Labor Day has come and gone, the time has come for students and teachers to head back to school. Where did that three month vacation go?

When we were in school, nearly every lunch consisted of a hamburger, hot dog, basket of fries, slice of pizza, or sometimes all of the above. Good times indeed. But, depending on where you grew up, those hot dogs could be vastly different. New York and Chicago have strong hot dog traditions, but so do other parts of the country.

Here, FoodPair breaks it all down for you, so next time the hot dog cravings hit you can take a culinary road trip.

1. The New York Dog

New Yorkers are opinionated about their dogs, and a lot of other things for that matter. The classic New York Dog is relatively plain- topped with deli mustard (something along the lines of Gulden's Spicy Brown) and sauerkraut. Some places will add steamed onions, but mustard & kraut are the classic NY toppings.

2. The Chicago Dog

The Chicago Dog is a monster and can handle nearly everything you throw at it. These dogs typically come with yellow mustard, neon green relish, fresh chopped onions, two tomato wedges, a pickle spear, two sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. Wait, you're not done yet- you'll also need an all-beef dog and a poppy seed bun. Oh yeah, hold the ketchup.

3. The Southern Dog

Southerners are partial to Slaw Dogs, which come slathered in a mayo-based coleslaw. We've also seen versions with BBQ slaw and Chili slaw, so feel free to get creative.

4. The Midwestern Dog

Across the Midwest people love their Coney Dogs, which come topped with meaty chili, mustard, chopped onions and often shredded cheddar cheese.

5. The Sonoran Dog

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs have been popping up across the country, especially right outside bars at closing time. The Sonoran Dog is popular in Arizona. They start with a grilled bacon-wrapped dog and then add pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, mayo and jalapeños. Some places offer shredded cheese, salsa verde and even guacamole.

6. Honorable Mention

There are plenty of other regional varieties when it comes to hot dog preparation. In New Jersey some shops deep fry their dogs until they burst. In Kansas City, they top their dogs with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese.

Baseball stadiums have also entered the creative hot dog craze. The Fenway Frank is served on a New England style bun with mustard and relish. The Rockie Dog is a footlong with grilled peppers, sauerkraut and onions. The Texas Dog at Minute Maid Park is covered with chili, cheese and jalapeños.

Unless you're a World Champion hot dog eater like Joey Chestnut or Kobayashi, you may want to try these recipes one or two at a time, but don't let us stop you from going for the record!

Have additional creative hot dog recipes or regional specialties? Post them in the comments section!