Lesson 9 – Dawgs – Hot dogs with all the trimmings

Memorial Day Weekend and Hot Dogs go hand in hand. Here on Long Island, we call ’em: “Dawgs” and beer! Whether it’s root beer or the icy cold adult version, you need something to drink with a tasty dawg. There is nothing like a frosty cold one on a hot summer day!

I start with making either Sabrett brand or Nathan’s hot dogs. I often buy them in May at Costco. It’s only the beginning of the summer season and we go through so many over the course of the next two months. I don’t want to run out, so it’s the club size package for me! I freeze them so I always have a good supply for last minute BBQs with family, friends, or neighbors. Franks, weenies, Red Hots, or dawgs, whatever you call them they all cook quickly on a hot grill. Therefore, it’s best if we prepare all the side dishes first.

Potato, macaroni and cold slaw always take the longest and are more labor intensive than baked beans from a can. You can make these all on the same day (like Memorial Day at 6:00am), but they taste better if they sit overnight and you let the flavors blend. You can make these salads up to five days in advance.  I start cooking Thursday for MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.

There are other easy sides too, like sauerkraut. You can make this at home, but I buy the fresh stuff that comes in a bag in the meat department for this big weekend, like the Board’s Head brand. The canned stuff is horrible if it’s overcooked right from the can. You cannot uncook something that is overdone, yuck. There isn’t anything you need to do to good sauerkraut aside from heat it up when using it for hot dogs. We can do that in a pot on the side burner of the BBQ.

Oops. That might be where my stockpot is full of corn on the cob. Nope, Memorial Day weekend is too early for that. We will save that recipe for the Fourth of July. Please remind me, if I forget.

Next, we have Baked Beans. That can go one of two ways. You can serve them directly from a can by just heating them up in a pot on the stove (I use my Coleman stove for this), or you can make them yourself in the oven.

Let’s say it’s a party…I NEED a party as things open up now after COVID! I have set up the Coleman stove to keep the sauerkraut and the baked beans hot.

We could however make the beans from scratch and have them in a chafing dish. Okay, chafing dish it is. See the Baked Beans recipe. After you’re done making the beans, let’s look at the Spicy Onions recipe and we can keep that on the burner next to the sauerkraut.

We will need Condiments like: spicy brown and mild yellow mustard, ketchup, and relish.

Chili would be good, but ONLY after Labor Day (no more white blouses to be ruined are worn after Labor Day.) Sometimes I wait until later in September or early fall (Octoberish) to make chili. When the weather turns colder and you need to keep the Dawg hot, it works best when it’s cool out. For now, we have beans, for the kid in all of us!

Oh! Yes! We need pickles and maybe potato chips too!

Now, it’s time to fire up the grill! The gas barbeque vs. charcoal BBQ is always a dilemma. There is nothing better than a burger or a steak over charcoal but what about a hot dawg? Well, it depends what else is on the gas grill at the moment. I always start my hot dogs on charcoal and keep them warm on the gas grill in the beginning of parties. Once the charcoal is gone or the kids are toasting marshmallows, I move everything to the gas grill. I may have a batch of chicken wings or chicken legs on the grill early on. In that case, I keep the burgers and the dawgs on the charcoal grill.

In winter, I stop BBQing and the hot dawgs move inside. Then, they are the New York City “dirty water dawgs” or fried in a pan as if Ben’s Deli or Nathan’s made them. These recipes should be posted in the fall (Novemberish), so check back then.

Before you go and invite all those guests, don’t forget to check out the BBQ wings recipe and Chicken legs recipes that I will post tomorrow.

Also try these side dishes: Cold Slaw, Potato Salad, and Macaroni Salad

Enjoy! Stay safe and have fun!

-The Drunken Chef (Russ)

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