"Thanksgiving dinner on a hot dog bun."
I've been racking my brain, trying to come up with a Thanksgiving-related Hot Dog of the Week, hoping that someone somewhere had concocted a seasonal haute dog. Maybe venison sausage with pumpkin aioli or Kobe beef corn dogs with cranberry dipping sauce?
Then a vision of a dog piled high with classic Thanksgiving sides materialized in my mind. "Wow, that would be amazing if somebody did that, ha," I thought to myself. Turns out Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace in Columbus, Ohio, did.
I wrote about Dirty Frank's earlier this year soon after they opened. Owner Liz Lessner has four restaurants in the Columbus area, all proudly serving Ohio comfort food (and all open for Thanksgiving). For Dirty Frank's first Turkey Day, they whipped up a wild Thanksgiving Dog. I was expecting maybe turkey chili and cranberry relish, but this is the real deal: a turkey frank piled high with stuffing and a big scoop of fluffy mashed potatoes, dripping with gravy and cranberry sauce on the side. Thanksgiving dinner on a hot dog bun.
Turns out this is not the first Thanksgiving Dog, not by a long shot. Rumor has it that Pauly Dogs, a vendor on Duke University's campus known for its eccentric topping combinations, has done a Thanksgiving Dog from time to time. And Rocco's Big Dog in Connecticut, which unfortunately closed last year, served a Thanksgiving Dog topped with sweet potato fries and chunks of jellied cranberry sauce.
Thanksgiving dogs have also appeared in Brooklyn's annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff. Jenn Sit covered the event in 2008, where the first prize winner was the Thanksgiving Dog: a Black Angus beef frank wrapped in biscuit dough with cornbread stuffing, served on a bed of mac and cheese and drowned in gravy.
Last week, New Jersey's Hot Dog Caboose ran a Thanksgiving Dog special topped with cranberry chutney (they also have a Frito pie dog topped with Fritos, chili, and cheese). Last but not least, Vicious Dogs in Hollywood cranks out the ultimate Tijuana-Thanksgiving hybrid dog wrapped in bacon and topped with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce (but no potatoes).
My initial response to the idea of a Thanksgiving Dog was fear. How could you eat all those concoctions with your hands? And mashed potatoes on a hot dog (though common in Brazil and Sweden) just doesn't sound too appetizing to me. But the day-after-Thanksgiving leftover sandwich is one of my number one favorite things to eat. The Thanksgiving Dog is basically the same thing, multiplied by a hot dog.
I don't see myself making it to Ohio or California this week, but I'll definitely be picking up a pack of hot dogs and buns on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner. I'm thinking split and grilled hot dogs with stuffing, pepper hash, and homemade cranberry relish.
Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace
Hot Dog Caboose
Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.