Though easily dismissed as a food of convenience rather than one of taste, the hot dog is getting a gourmet makeover, thanks to Food Network Magazine—just in time for National Hot Dog Month (July) and National Hot Dog Day, July 20.
Hundreds of millions of hot dogs are consumed each year, typically synonymous with holiday cookouts and sporting events, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. So it’s no wonder the group reveres this American icon with its own month and day.
But the dog’s status doesn’t end there. The Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest held annually on July 4 at Coney Island—the site which helped propel the hand-held edible to popularity—is covered live by the likes of the ESPN cable sports network.
Though Food Network Magazine stopped short of acknowledging the hot dog holiday—there’s no mention of the national month or day—its 30 creative variations of what to put on the dog more than made up for its own slight.
To its credit, Food Network Magazine had fun with the frankfurter, getting creative with toppings that range from the daily to the daring. So if chili cheese and sauerkraut have become too blasé, here are seven sophisticated tastes to tantalize your taste buds in honor of National Hot Dog Month and National Hot Dog Day:
- Low-Country Dogs: A regional favorite, the Low-Country Boil, goes to the dogs on mini potato buns filled with hot dogs, Old Bay seasoned potatoes and corn.
- Taco Dogs: Ditch the bun for a south-of-the-border taste of grilled hot dogs, shredded cheddar, lettuce, salsa and sour cream stuffed in a flour tortilla.
- BLT Dogs: The popular sandwich gets reconfigured with hot dogs cooked in bacon grease, then served on toasted buns with mayo, bacon, lettuce and tomato.
- California Dogs: This vegetarian-friendly fare calls for tofu dogs on whole wheat buns topped with avocado, cucumber, sprouts and carrots, and drizzled with salad dressing.
- Po’boy Dogs: Bayou flavors like rémoulade sauce and Creole seasoning dress up these grilled dogs garnished with romaine lettuce and pickled okra.
- Jerk Chicken Dogs: Grilled jerk-seasoned chicken dogs served with lettuce, jalapenos, mango chutney, mayo and jerk sauce give the hot dog a Caribbean makeover.
- Curry Dogs: A puree of lime juice, brown sugar, dates, cumin and chili powder add Asian flair to these chicken dogs topped with cilantro, onion and curry snack mix.