Dinner Tonight: Slaw Dogs with Mustard

Dinner Tonight

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

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Having lived in both New York and Chicago, you'd think I'd have lots of rules about what can and cannot go on a hot dog. But as long as the finished product is tasty, and I can still taste the hot dog underneath, I'm open to anything. Chili dogs can be wondrous things, as can a Sonoran dog. One I genuinely admire is the slaw dog, which is exactly what it sounds like—a hot dog topped with a mound of coleslaw.

I wanted a slaw that was assertive—crunchy, acidic—but not aggressive. Basically, I wanted something more than the standard blended mess you can get at the grocery store, but nothing that would detract from the hot dog underneath. Mayonnaise provided the creamy base, but I cut it with a good helping of apple cider vinegar. Besides salt and pepper, I added a bit of celery seed and dry mustard. Done.

All that was left was to cook the hot dogs. This really can be done any way you'd like. Love to grill them over charcoal? Go for it! Want to mimic the dirty water dog formula of tossing them in simmering water? Be my guest. But in this recipe, I've included my favorite method, which steams them in a little bit of water to ensure even cooking, and then browns them in butter to finish them off. Each is slightly crispy, but not overdone. I also like to brown the buns in butter, but that's just me.

The final flourish is some mustard to help balance the creamy mayonnaise of the slaw. I'm really surprised how easily all this came together, and how quickly I managed to eat a couple of these. Of course, it also helped that I had fine natural casing Vienna Beef dogs to work with. Oh, and you may notice a few stray poppy seeds scattered on the buns. I actually attempted to remove all the poppy seeds from a Chicago-style bun, but failed to remove every single one. Sorry about that.