Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching. Many of us will be surrounded by friends, laughter, and of course tons of wonderful food. One of the most popular plated “delicacies” this time of year is the good ol’ hot dog. While this could be considered a frumpy food choice, there are ways to amp up these little links into something special. No need to stay in a box and stick with the same old condiments you’ve been loading on these guys since you were a tot. I’ve seen so many creative hot dog recipes, all of which take little time to prepare, but still end in a mouth watering result.
I put my thinking cap on and tried to think of the best way I would serve these meaty dudes. The one dish that kept coming back to my mind were those sweetly glazed beer buddies. If you aren’t familiar with the tailgating treat, they are cocktail weenies cooked in sugar and beer, left with a shimmering glaze and satisfying taste. Simple, yet delicious. I wanted to think further outside of the box of course, and didn’t want something that would render too sweet. I looked to my liquor cabinet, there the Maker’s Mark Whiskey shined in it’s wax dipped bottle, seeming to call out ” I’d be a hot dogs’ best friend, Nicole!”
One feature of an unprepared hot dog that we all are aware of, is it’s uncanny ability to burst in all the wrong places. It doesn’t alter the flavor so much as it leaves a difficult surface to sear, and an unpleasant mangled appearance. You could always pierce your hot dogs to allow the steam to escape in your own orchestrated tiny fork holes, or take an aesthetic approach. Here I’ve scored the dogs with a paring knife in a criss cross pattern, leaving channels for the steam to escape, and guidelines for plumping into a beautiful even surface. Have fun with it, try different approaches or designs. The difference this makes is truly impressive.
After I’ve carved the dogs, It’s time to place them in a pan for searing. This can be done over a stove, fire, or grill. Just be sure to use a flame proof vessel. I opted for my Demeyere frying pan and begin adding all the essential flavor enhancers. Honey, olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper are all added to the pan and heated until they begin to bubble. I then added the scored links to the concoction and seared them until plumped and beginning to darken.
Now is where all the fun comes in…. Be sure to have a few friends watching, as they will be crazy impressed with your flambé skills. You can then smile with culinary prowess as the BBQ king or queen. Just practice caution when moving onto this next step. Be aware of your surroundings. Stay clear of flammable things like, paper, curtains, furry pets, and small children. You want to impress your friends and family with these whiskey dogs, not set them aflame. Take your cooking vessel off the heat, and pour in the whiskey. Using a kitchen torch or long lighter, also keeping hands and faces clear, light the surface of the cooking liquid and be amazed! It will flame up fairly quickly, and using a long metal spoon, or spatula, move the hot dogs and liquid around carefully. As you move things around the flames will grow in small spurts. Don’t be alarmed, the flames will eventually die down and go out once the alcohol has cooked off. (I must insist that you exercise caution when trying this. Please stay safe, the liquid is flaming, so don’t spill or splash it, and please don’t burn your house or patio down.)
When I cooked these boys up a few nights ago, my boyfriend was unsuspecting and had no clue I was about to set the whole pan on fire. It’s rare I’ve ever seen his eyes bug out of his head like that. I could’t help but laugh, because he was probably thinking I was going to burn our house to the ground. I love to flambé. It’s so theatrical, and who does’t love catching things on fire? I know I do! Safely of course… (laughs mischievously)
Once the alcohol is cooked off and the flames have died, return your pan to the heat and cook until it bubbles again. You want a nice glaze to be formed, coating each link in a shiny, savory, sweet whisky bath. Toss in the finely chopped parsley, and turn to coat the dogs. These guys are now done… and ready to be served on a toasted bun, with some greens and some of you’re favorite toppings. Oh boy do I love these, and I think you will too. Just remember no to burn your face off.
- 8 hot dog links, preferably angus beef
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup bourbon whiskey such as Maker's Mark
- 1 Tablespoon finely shopped parsley
- Score the hot dogs
- Place the honey, Olive Oil, Butter, Salt, garlic powder, and pepper into a stainless steel fry pan or cast iron skillet.
- Bring to a bubbling boil over medium-high heat. Add the hot dogs.
- Turning occasionally, continue cooking until the hot dogs have plumped and are beginning to brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat source, and add the Bourbon to the pan. (if using gas stove of grill, the alcohol could ignite while you are adding it to the pan, hence why the pan needs to be removed from the heat.
- Using a kitchen torch, a long lighter, and caution. light the liquid in the pan.
- Move the hot dogs around with a long metal utensil until the alcohol is cooked away and the flames go out. Not: as you move the liquid and hot dogs around the flames will increase in size. Stay clear of flammable object and surfaces. Always exercise caution and be prepared.
- Once the flame has extinguished, move the liquid and dogs around further to be sure the alcohol is no longer igniting.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat until it begins to vigorously bumble, about 1 minute.
- Turn off the heat and add the parsley. Turn to coat the hot dogs in the glaze.
- Serve on a bun with your favorite condiments. Caramelized onions, stone ground mustard, and greens are a great compliment to this dish.