Okay, I promise that I will stop writing about hot dogs after this post, but I just have to tell you about this thing that Sir Loin and I do in the summer. It's called Hot Dog Party! Now, the first rule about Hot Dog Party! is how you talk about Hot Dog Party! You must never use an article, definite or indefinite, and you must refer to it as an entity, a thing. It is always capitalized and you must always include the exclamation point. For example:
WRONG: Let's have friends over and have a hot dog party.
RIGHT: Let's have friends over and have Hot Dog Party!
WRONG: Okay, I'll go and pick up what we need to have a hot dog party.
RIGHT: Okay, I'll go and pick up Hot Dog Party!
Once you've got the grammar worked out, you can begin to prepare Hot Dog Party! First, you start with the best hot dogs you can find. Let's Be Frank dogs will work, but I sort of prefer the Whole Foods dogs (beef, salt, honey, spices . . . the most processed thing in them appears to be onion powder). Hot Dog Party! dogs must be nitrate/nitrite free, and should not contain high fructose corn syrup or any other nasties. Then you get some nice buns. The buns aren't really that important and they don't have to be whole wheat or anything too too crunchy, just nice white buns. This is one of the few times that white flour is permissible, but avoid hypercommercial products if you can.
Then, and this is the important thing about Hot Dog Party!, you work on your sides. Hot Dog Party! is a very seasonal event and may not occur outside of the tomato and corn months. Get yourself some lovely heirloom 'maters in lots of colors. Local and organic is best, obviously. Augment with either mozzarella/basil or with feta/thyme. Also get some corn, which you boil, cut off the cob, and cook in a pan with some diced peppers (any color) and green onions. Add some hot red pepper flakes if you want. Oven roast some potatoes. Duck fat is best for making them crispy, but if you have to accommodate any vegetarians, olive oil or whatever is fine too. (A word on vegetarian presence at Hot Dog Party!: They are permitted to attend and you can make them a tofu dog or vegetable skewers, but they are not officially participating in Hot Dog Party! and they shouldn't brag about it to their friends or anything. They should just keep kind of humble and quiet about it.) Radishes and salt may be served as an appetizer.
Condiments. They should be of very high quality. I put out ketchup and mayo and some pickle slices. Relish is frowned upon. The very ambitious may caramelize some shallots.
Once everything is in place, you fire up the grill (Hot Dog Party! may NOT be cooked anywhere else) and cook 'em until they get a bit black and the skins start to split slightly. Plop the buns on the grill at the last second to crisp them up. This is important because if they are not toasted, the condiments sink into the bread in an unpleasant manner. Hot Dog Party! may be consumed indoors or outdoors, paired with an inexpensive red wine or some expensive beer.
If you have questions about Hot Dog Party! regulations, feel free to post them below and I'll respond right away. It's important to do Hot Dog Party! properly and you want to be quite clear on how it works before you begin. I'm here to help.
Sample question: Is it okay to substitute other side dishes, like macaroni salad, at one of these hot dog things?
Likely answer: First, it's "at Hot Dog Party!" not "one of these hot dog things." Jeesh. Second, no, you absolutely may not substitute other side dishes. The corn and tomatoes are an essential part of Hot Dog Party! You may, however, add additional side dishes to the mix.