Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hot Dogs and Sausages

Processed meats aren't healthy food.

Okay, we got that out of the way.  It's summer and as I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I love to cook outdoors on our charcoal grill.  While we have several recipes that involve homemade marinades and special cuts of meat, sometimes we need some quick grub while we wait for our "real" dinner to get done.  Enter hot dogs and sausages.

I think of a barbecue as a meal in the same style as a fish fry:  you eat the food as it's done.  You don't wait for all courses to be ready before digging in.  That's why we pregame with hot dogs, burgers, and sausages, then wait a bit before moving on to the real stuff (steaks, chicken, pork tenderloin...).  It's also a great strategy for entertaining.  Dogs, sausages, and burgers are ready fast and are crowd-pleasers.  They keep kids happy and keep the hunger from taking over while you take your time on the more expensive steaks, seafood, and other cuts of meat on the grill.  Hey, we're in a recession.  Basic grilled fare is great for keeping the crowd happy until the "real" food is done.

So, as much as I enjoy cooking from scratch, I can't resist enjoying one of these on a nice, fresh potato roll:

 1.  Nathan's Beef Franks - I hope you can get these where you live.  They're a hot dog that kinda tastes like sausage.  It's hard to explain, but they have a smoky, slightly garlicy taste and they snap when you bite 'em.  I prefer the "bun-sized" over the traditional "bigger than the bun" variety.  I like to keep a 60:40 ratio of hot dog to bun.  The long, thin dogs just don't do it for me.

2.  Dietz and Watson Beef Hot Dogs - These are the standard for hot dogs in my family.  I don't care what's on sale, if we're firing up the grill and you ask for a hot dog, this is what I'm serving.  I think they're regional, though, so if you don't live in the mid-Atlantic, these can be difficult to find.  (On a semi-related note, D&W is also my favorite brand for deli-sliced American cheese.  I actually go to a different grocery store just to get it.)

3.  Hillshire Farm Kielbasa - Our favorite is the Lite version made with beef, turkey, and pork.  Who doesn't like a nice smoky kielbasa on the grill?  This brand isn't too greasy or salty, as others can be. We split it horizontally and grill it on charcoal for that extra-smoky flavor.

If I'm going to eat unhealthy food, you'd better bet I'm going to be picky about the taste and the brand.  Don't settle for just any hot dog or sausage, make sure you choose your favorite.  So what is your favorite brand of hot dog or sausage?  Is there some local brand that I'm missing?  Do you even like hot dogs?


  1. I've got no problems eating these babies off the grill.

  2. Growing up we just had the cheap store brand stuff, but these days I like Hebrew National... no ifs, ands or BUTTS about it. ha ha!


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