Growing up in Latin America, one of the most anticipated moments of my life, not unlike Coronel Aureliano Buendía greeting ice for the first time, was vacationing to the US during the summer and enjoying "American" treats like hamburgers and hot dogs. Much like Gabriel García Márquez's latter-day personal politics, hot dogs were, well, a bit of a disappointment.
Whether grilled or boiled, the simple charm of mustard and ketchup on a cold bun was lost on my discerning third world palate. Where were the toppings? The gravity-defying towers of crisp accoutrements and flowing rivers of sauce? Where was the flavor? The joie de vivre?
Why would such a progressive and advanced country like the United States sit around so peacefully accepting such bland fare? Had they finally gone full Brit? This was, after all, the '80s and the massive hordes of largely unwanted Latinos had not quite rooted themselves as deeply as they have now, bringing with them their many-splendored flavors into the culinary siege of America.
But fear not mis queridos gringos, for National Hot Dog Day, we have five tasty variations on your favorite form of tube meat that you, yes you, can make at home this Sunday. Fun for the whole family! Your taste buds will thank you.
1. The Sonoran Dog
Hailing out of Mexico and the reason why many white people in Arizona are against the Nazi-like patriotism of Arizona SB 1070, the Sonoran-styled dog combines the greatness of tube meat with the nobility of mesquite-smoked bacon. For this baby you'll need:
One warmed bun of your choice
One hot dog
Two strips of mesquite-smoked bacon
Chopped Campari tomatoes
Beans of your choice, pintos preferred
Mayonnaise and mustard
Wrap the bacon around your dog. Grill it on a flat-top until the bacon is nice and crispy. Put a little mayo in the bottom of your warmed bun, add the dog. Top it with the remaining ingredients in a manner that you find most manageable for consumption.
2. The Colombian Perro
Nothing quite hits your tummy after a night of serious boozing like a Colombian perro. Yummy in ways that defy logical explanation on paper, the Colombian dog is clearly the invention of the Aguardiente-consuming masses. Get ready to sleep like a baby with:
An oversized bun of your liking
One hot dog
Crushed potato chips, original flavor
Mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup
Pink sauce (Salsa Golf)
Three hardboiled quail eggs
Prepare your dog on the grill or in a dirty water boil, warm your bun and add everything into a manageable mess, topping the dog with the three hardboiled eggs (peeled of course) and a generous dusting of the crushed potato chips.
3. El Venezolano
Ah! The hot dog of my youth. Very similar to its Colombian cousin, this here is my personal recipe. As a matter of fact, like many of my friends have remarked in the past: "Is there even a fucking hot dog in here?" Yes there is. I'm pretty sure there is. You'll need:
An oversized bun with a flat bottom, preferably a submarine roll
Shredded chicken thighs (previously cooked)
Pik-Nik shoestring potato sticks
Grated mozzarella cheese
Mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and Salsa Golf
Spicy BBQ sauce
Grill your dog, absolutely no dirty water here. Line the bottom of your bun with the mozzarella and toast until the cheese melts. Add the hot dog, chicken, ham, onions, and cabbage. Pour in your sauces into a manageable mess. Load up some more onions and the shoestring potato sticks and dust the Hell out of your lunch with the Parmesan cheese. Final product should be twice the width of your mouth.
4. El Choripán
Maybe you wanna be a little crazy and stay within the subject but execute differently. No sweat! Our Argentine neighbors have taught us that no grill in South Florida should go without the slow plump of Argentine chorizos. These flavorful pork tubers are full of spice nuances without being spicy. Here's what you do:
Chimichurri (homemade or store-bought, your call)
Grill your sausages until you get a good mark on them but can tell that the juices are heated thoroughly underneath the casing. Under no circumstance and under penalty of death are you to poke these ready-made mouth-parties and let their juices escape while grilling. Remove your sausage from the grill, place into previously cut piece of halved French bread, and slop on a heaping tablespoon of chimichurri. Bite into this bad boy and agonize over the boiling oils burning your tongue as grease gently escapes the corners of your pleased mouth.
5. Chicago Style
No, no, no. We're not going to debate MLA versus APA or some such nonsense. We couldn't got this full blog with full-on cheekiness and not acknowledge some American contributions to the wonderful world of hot dogs! While there are many takes on this piece of culinary Americana, the Chicago style is our favorite of the US versions this year to make at home. Here's what you'll need:
A steamed poppy seed bun
One kosher dog
Chopped white onions
Neon green relish
Sliced dill pickle
Two tomato wedges
A chili pepper
Steam or boil your dog, add to the bun with the relish and mustard going down first in heaping helpings. Arrange your pickle, tomatoes, and pepper on the sides and you are good to go. Add ketchup and prepare yourself for an eternity of devious torment at the hands of the most sadistic demons in the deepest bowels of Hell. You've been warned.
For all of these hot dogs, go for the brand of dog that makes you the happiest (or is on sale), multiply in accordance of guests (estimating two dogs per head), and have yourself a happy little cookout.
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