I am not going to talk about how hot it’s been the past few days. I just won’t. I will, however, talk about how due to things that I won’t talk about, all my best-laid plans for elaborate Independence Day foods went pfffft. I opted, instead, for hot dogs: and lots of ’em.
Who here watched Matlock? I remember parking myself in front of the tube (not steak) every week to watch Andy Griffith defend folks who did nothing wrong. (Except for that one episode, but I digress.) One of the things I liked best about the show was when he would stop at the food cart in front of the courthouse and order a hot dog with the works. Matlock loved his hotdogs.
Ah, the much maligned humble hot dog or tube steak. My theory on why so many people diss hot dogs is because they began as a way to use up the nasty bits left over after the beautiful primal cuts had been taken. Then something wonderful happened. The nasty bits got a make-over and started getting attention for what they were: a cheap source of nourishment. In the tradition of most foods of humble origins, they threw in spices -and lots of ’em- and then figured out that applying fire* improved the taste and texture. Hallelujah.
*No matter what my husband says or Matlock would’ve said, I will not be swayed. I think the most horrific thing you could do to a hot dog is steam or boil it. Yeeeeeeee-uck! He maintains that a steamed or boiled “dirty water dog” is one of the wonders of the world. I think he is -while adorable- completely nuts. Come on folks. Take sides here. Weigh in. I promise I won’t brag if I’m right. Much.
I am personally in the “too much stuff on a hot dog is just about right” camp, much like Matlock. Unlike an expensive steak where I don’t want to overwhelm the intrinsic beefiness of the meat with extraneous flavours, I feel a-okay with loading a hot dog with all sorts of craziness. I’m no hot-dog purist. (Is there such a thing?) I see a hot dog as a blank canvas made for fun.
What goes better with meat than more meat? Nothing! Well, okay, more meat with mustard and onion. Specifically, crispy chorizo nuggets. When you add super crisped bits of spicy, Mexican-style chorizo to the top of grilled hot dogs, it elevates the simple meal from phoned-in to party-fare.
Do yourself a favour. Make some tonight. Do it to avoid the heat. Do it to defend and elevate the hot dog. Do it for Matlock.
May you rest in peace, Andy Griffith. Thank you for the memories!