I and, I think I'd be right in assuming, a lot of other Irish people have a complicated relationship with hot dogs. They don't offend me, I like them, but I eat them quite rarely in comparison to the other fast food staples. Put this down to their lack of availability, comparatively speaking to other countries where they're on every corner and in every shop, or the fact that most chippers make an absolute hames of them by thinking lettuce and red sauce are appropriate combination of toppings and by burning the absolute bollox out of the dog in the deep fat fryer, if you'll excuse the imagery.
Personally I want something more substantial and a burger is always going to fill that void over a hot dog anyday.... But I do like the occasional hot dog... and I think they can be something better so this is where that journey begins.
Unknown hours (likely in the region of 2) of research were spent running videos past my eyes and reading recipes and tutorials about 'The Perfect Hot Dog' before I landed at this, my main event of Hot Dogs (we'll get to my other, drunken, variety later on), a combination of a few of the best ways of eating hot dogs out there which I rolled into one super dog and proceeded to double in size and package in a common as muck roll.
I guarantee if you eat one of these you'll never go back to a simple dog again.
At first glance some of the techniques in this operation may seem a little excessive, but trust me, they all serve a purpose, so stick with me...
Round 1: Sober.
Let's address exactly what this beast is right from the start: 2 hot dogs stuffed with processed cheese, wrapped in bacon, fried in a load of onions and green peppers, laid down on a bed of the aforementioned bacon infused vegetables along with some mayonnaise, topped off with the traditional red sauce and mustard all encased in a freshly baked baguette.
The ingredients are very straight forward; your sauces, onion and pepper, streaky rashers, hot dogs of your choosing, a standard aul par baked baguette (the stuff of bread purists horrors) and shit cheese... I say 'shit' cheese, firstly because that's a fact but more so because I've recently come to realise for functions such as this, where quick and consistent melting is paramount, the cheaper and lesser known the brand name the better. The brand name I'm using escapes me but I'm picking up slices regularly from a German dealer in town for a unit cost of 7.5cent when bought in 10's. You'll also need some cocktail sticks to hold the rashers in place.
Wrap a rasher around it and stick a cocktail stick through both ends to hold it in place.
(A sentence I never envisioned typing)
Set those lads off with a bit of oil in a hot pan. Now is also a good time to tell you that you should have put that baguette in the oven before even touching the hot dogs.
Chop up about half an onion and half a pepper per double hot dog roll.
One of these baguettes takes about 10 minutes in the oven to hit optimal breadness, leaving it to chill out for at least 5 minutes afterwards ensures you won't get severely burned and more importantly the roll won't disintegrate in your hand when you go to cut into it. I suggest cracking a bottle of Finkbrau from the aforementioned German dealer (from which I received no commercial incentive to mention) while you wait. Slice it open and get very generous with the mayonnaise.
When the rashers look cooked and nice 'n' crispy you're ready to roll, if you'll pardon the pun. Get them out of the pan and remove all the cocktail sticks, you'll have a bad day otherwise.
When the peppers and onions are tender and a little brown you know you're good to go.
Load them into the roll.
Hold that gloriously bacon and cheese infused veg in place with the 2 hot dogs laid end to end on top.
Top with the traditional combo of American mustard and red sauce. Serve with a freezing cold beer and thank me for the next 5 to 7 minutes of Heaven that you're about to experience....
Round 2: Drunk.
And then, unsurprisingly, after my evenings business was attended to and a few pints were consumed down my local, I arrived home with the urge for a bit of grub pestering me...
Now I have it ingrained in myself not to operate any more kitchen equipment than is absolutely necessary while mildly, or otherwise, intoxicated. If you can get away with just operating an oven and leaving the hot frying pan out of your life then I thoroughly recommend it for the well being of yourself and the fellow occupants of your home.
It's highly unlikely, at the stage of the night, that you'll be arsed with all that stuffing cheese into the hot dog carry on. The drunken gut wants strong flavours, hot spices, cheese and none of your fancy stuff. Quickly and with as little hassle as is drunkenly or humanly possible bake a roll and then put a few slices of cheese into it arranged like above...
You can be sure I still wanted fried onions though so I compromised and chopped some up onto a plate and poured a little olive oil and black pepper over them then threw them into the oven along with the cheesed up roll for a few minutes to heat and melt all that stuff nicely.
Then as I put the onions on top of the cheese I remembered I had Tabasco Sauce. Ace.
After I destroyed the onions with Tabasco I lashed on a load of mayo and threw in 2 hot dogs that I microwaved to perfection, and topped it all off with the obligatory mustard and red sauce. This was an utter success, I'd be only delighted to eat it sober. The only problem I had was I still wasn't full and I was out of baguettes.... And there was only one measly slice of bread left...
The Bonus Round: Desperation.
I think you see where this is going. One slice of bread, toasted, cut in half, topped with a folded over slice of cheese on each side, onions, pepper and olive oil and into the oven....
Then topped it off in the now familiar manner....
And if my memory serves me correctly, there wasn't a damn thing on Earth wrong with this effort either...
Hot dogs are great, we just need to, as a nation, put a little bit more effort and imagination into what we do with them, it's not that hard at all to make them feel a little more special... They're back on the menu in my world...