If you’re looking to become a master of American cooking techniques, then it’s pivotal that you learn how to make some top-notch hot dogs. While some chefs may be satisfied with a classic ballpark frank topped with nothing more than ketchup and mustard, others may be looking to take this handheld meal to the next level. There are numerous ways to create a signature hot dog that will have your friends, family and neighbors gathering around your backyard. Here are four tips to get you started:
1. Master the grill
There are many theories on the best way to grill a hot dog, but no matter your style, the key is to cook it evenly. Some people prefer a completely charred outside, while other like uniform grill marks, and some diners may want no lines at all. Grilling takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, grilling evenly cooked hot dogs charred to individual preference will showcase your culinary prowess. For the best results, consider simmering the hot dogs in a flavorful liquid first, such as beer, to add dimension and thoroughly warm the meat before placing it directly on the grill.
2. Double down on condiments
Ketchup and mustard are hallmark condiments of a good hot dog, but who says you need to stop there? Finding quality spicy mustard, homemade ketchup, horseradish or pickle relish can take the flavor profile to a whole new level. To really impress your friends, consider making a homemade sauce for your hot dogs, or jar your own pickles to make homemade relish.
3. Learn the landscape
Similar to many other American culinary classics, hot dogs vary a lot from region to region. Locales such as Chicago, New York City and Seattle all have their own takes on how to top a truly delicious frank, so learn from the many different styles of hot dogs across the U.S.
4. Go the extra mile with toppings
Quality ingredients are important to a good hot dog. Once you’ve found the right meat and buns, shouldn’t you find the right toppings to match? Consider going to your neighborhood farmers market to find fresh, seasonal vegetables with which to garnish your hot dogs, and seek out other local options. For example, if you’re looking to cook a great New York dog, opt for high-quality sauerkraut to make the flavor stand out.