How to Do Hot Dog Party!

img_3639.jpgOkay, 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.

img_3634.jpgThen, 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.

img_3642.jpgOnce 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.

8 Responsesto “How to Do Hot Dog Party!”

  1. JT says:

    Miss Steak – What sort of regulations govern usage and selection of mustards at Hot Dog Party!?

  2. Miss Steak says:

    JT, your proper usage of the nomenclature is noted and appreciated. In my view mustards are a necessary evil at Hot Dog Party! Careful readers will have noticed that there is some mustard pictured in the photograph of the last Hot Dog Party! Chez Steak but that I do not mention any such substance in the post itself. This is because I believe that the taste of mustard competes with the flavor of the dogs. However, I do recognize that many people like mustard and consider it a part of the condiment trinity. I’m more Manichean about my condiments: Ketchup and mayo are all you need. However, just as some governments frown on smoking marijuana or underage drinking but permit it to occur under the radar nonetheless, I also permit the use of mustard at Hot Dog Party! But you wouldn’t find the local cops scoring bags or rolling joints for you would you? No, and similarly, I have no recommendations or prescriptions for mustard selection. This must be left to your own conscience.

  3. Man of La Muncha says:

    Another option for corn is to grill it, which carmelizes the sugars, cut off the kernels, and mix them with a blend of lime juice, melted butter and hot red pepper flakes. We usually put the lime-butter-pepper mixture on the cobs, but the combination should be delicious with the kernels.

    Carmelized shallots? I’ll have to try that.

    We might just have the house ready for a housewarming party before Hot Dog Party! season ends.

  4. Kate says:

    If there are any juvenile attendee’s at Hot Dog Party, I recommend having available a copy of the children’s book “Pigeon Eats a Hot Dog” by Mo Willems. The pigeon does violate your rule number one by using the article “a” before the phrase “Hot Dog Party”, but hey, he’s a pigeon…and the illustrations are inspiring to any hot dog lover, not just the small, barely literate variety.

  5. Man of La Muncha says:

    Hi Miss Steak,

    I have a few questions.

    Does Hot Dog Party! require the use of hot dogs, or may we substitute sausages? Should the dogs be all-beef, or may we venture into the chicken and pork realms?

    Is there a resource center where we can find out more information about Hot Dog Party!? (Perhaps this should be included in our Glossary and FAQ.)

  6. Miss Steak says:

    Kate: Non-humans are exempt from the grammatical constraints of Hot Dog Party! and we approve the use of literature to introduce the younger generation to the concept. Is the pigeon’s hot dog nitrate/nitrite free? This would be an important thing for the book to mention. Thanks for the tip.

    MOLM: For shame! This is Hot Dog Party!, not Sausage Fest. Hot dogs, and only hot dogs, may be served (with the above noted exceptions for vegetarians). Equally, if guests have dietary constraints based on religion, chicken hot dogs are grudgingly approved. Other exceptions must be considered on a case by case basis by a trained Hot Dog Party! professional. They will likely be denied: There are perhaps some non-beef brands currently unknown to us that pass quality control, but we we find it unlikely.

    Thank you for the suggestion about a comprehensive Hot Dog Party! resource center. I think that would be a good idea — there is so much to learn.

  7. Dear Miss Steak ->
    My post has two parts.  First, I write in regards to the Hot Dog Party! condiment list.  I understand your method of removing mustard from the list, as it does distract the mind from our main focus – the hot dog.  Why then is mayonnaise allowed for the item?   Is this a French HDP! More information on this choice please.
    Next, you suggest using Whole Foods Dogs®.  We are gearing up for an HDP! tomorrow night.  As an experiment, I’ll grab some of these recommended dogs and server them alongside the usual – Hebrew National Dinner Franks.  Results to come for crowd preferences.
    Thanks!  KY

  8. Miss Steak says:

    Hello Kelly! Thank you for your interest in Hot Dog Party! This is the right time of year for HDP, so I congratulate you on your wise timing. Mayonnaise is a permitted condiment because it is more neutral in taste than mustard and the fatty mouthfeel can serve to complement the salt flavors of the dog and the sweet flavors of the ketchup. I hope you enjoy the Whole Foods Dogs! You can also try the uncured beef franks from Organic Prairie: The important thing is that they not contain any nitrites or nitrates. This is key.
    I look forward to hearing the results of your taste test tomorrow. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep tonight! Hot Dog Party is always an exciting day and you want to be well-rested.