gourmet my ass

it is my belief that those who claim there are such things as gourmet hamburgers and hot dogs are the same people that should be made aware of recent advances in the fields of mental health. in my researches one of the more understated gourmet dogs is served up by the GHC in London. good dogs, sure, but their mantra states: "We've taken the humble hotdog and reinvented it." why?

we may label extravagant and overpriced items of cow and pig as gourmet but it is up to the true purist of summer grilling to maintain the blue collar status of these foods. most gourmet burgers and hot dogs are garnished with enough sides and toppings that the real joy of the hand held meal is lost: the meat. want a good brat? don't smother it in almond paste, sprigs of romaine, peanut oil and salmon chutney. poke some holes in a fresh link from a vendor like hempler's or otto's. put the link in a pan of boiling beer and give it a few minutes. the beer shouldn't be too powerful - when you're dealing with this type of flavouring you will quickly lose the lovely individual spiciness of the meat if boiling in a really strong IPA or Porter (though a simpler pale ale from a brewer like full sail should be just fine>. instead stick with the classics like pabst or rainier. this will also carry the "everyman's" aspect throughout the entire cooking process - a simple meal requires a simple drink. but beware beers like budweiser or coors unless you enjoy eating what will end up tasting like scrapings from the underside of a wheelie bin lid from behind tesco's. once the link has had time to soak up the beer, toss it on the grill for marks or fry it in the pan after straining the beer out.

or, and in my opinion this is reaching, you can put together what i ate myself not twenty minutes ago. get a healthy red onion, cut width wise around the onion's latitude and create quarters out of the resulting onion rings. begin to fry those in a small amount of oil (the onion will create most of its own cooking oils as it sautees). wait for the onion to brown but make sure the centers of the larger slices are still a bit crunchy. next toss your link of choice in, the simpler the better - a spiced link such as a chorizo or a louisiana hot will work nicely for our purposes. let this cook on low heat for a while and in the meantime prepare your buns: pull them out from the fridge and put them on your plate. once the links are finished cooking let them sit in the onions and, while the pan is still hot, pour a bit of worcestershire sauce over the mix. finally, and this is really what makes this a little different, put a bit of chevre on the buns. a good chevre will go miles with just a few crumbly bits but beware the bad stuff. as a good former roommate told me, good chevre is irreplaceable as a meat accompaniment but bad chevre will taste something like turpentine. there are a lot of varieties out there but for this type of application i tend to go with a basil & oil flavoured cheese. put the links in the buns, garnish with those lovely sauteed onions, eat until you feel like bursting and remember that never do you need to pay $8 for a gourmet link. this is the essence of hot dogs and grilling - these simple recipes that will liven up an already respectably simple food. it's like giving a Lamborghini ray guns: it doesn't need them to go faster but it sure might make the experience more enjoyable.

enjoy the nice weather.



Benjamin said...

i must respectfully disagree with this post. there is a shop in chicago called hot doug's that is completely unpretentious (it's called fucking hot doug's. they have a theme song. it goes "clap, clap, clap clap clap, clap clap clap clap--HOT DOUG'S) and yet they make things like venison sausage and thai sweet chili sausage and all kinds of ridiculous shit and it is AMAZING.

this does not mean the original hot dog is invalid (chicago knows from hot dogs probably above and beyond just about any city on the planet), and doug's serves those too. but getting proper gourmet in an encased meat format ain't such a bad thing when it's done with the kind of casual aplomb in evidence at a place like that.

Benjamin said...


seriously, listen to the theme song and tell me this place is somehow not completely awesome

erriott said...

the rock mix is pretty awesome, actually. i suppose a gourmet dog, a recently non-vegetarian friend of good foods pointed out, should be gourmet because of the meat. if a dog is going to be slightly expensive, you should be paying for the good stuff.

hot doug's prices looked pretty low though! $4 for the most expensive is great - we have a vendor serving up awesome links here on campus but his top o' line dog is like $6 or something.

Benjamin said...

well i mean, the top of the line at doug's is like $7 or $8, but that is because it is like, prime kobe beef or venison or made with insane herbs or something. nothing over $10, though, i'm pretty sure. by chicago standards, anyway, that's pretty damn good.

erriott said...

i'd eat a hot doug. fyi.

Benjamin said...

come to chicago and you WILL eat a hot doug.