It's that time of year again—the time to find an amazing gift for the crazy hot dog maniac in your life. There's plenty of amazing new hot dog stuff this year (see the hot dog guides from 2011 and from 2010), including a brand new book from hot dog historian Bruce Kraig, hot dog cooking gadgets, t-shirts, and a whole bunch of delicious mail-order sauces.
Girlscantell Chicago Hot Dog Towel
Sara Selepouchin is a Philadelphia-based illustrator whose diagram drawings are available on a wide variety of products from tote bags to drink coasters. This classic Chicago dog towel printed in relish green is a no-brainer for any hot dog lover or Chicagoan, and a nice alternative for the modern hot dog enthusiast in your life who might be looking for something a little more subtle than the 7-foot long neon yellow sign I have in my kitchen. $15 from Etsy.com
Man Bites Dog by Bruce Kraig
A brand new follow-up to Bruce Kraig's book Hot Dog, A Global History published a few years ago, Man Bites Dog looks to be a much deeper dive into the current state of hot dog culture in the United States. I haven't seen the book yet, but a few entries on the website of awesome hot dog joints on Route 66 look promising. Definitely number one on my list this year.
Blackie's Hot Dogs T-Shirts
Sometimes it can be frustratingly hard to find T-shirts of your favorite hot dog joint, even harder to find online. But Blackie's - a classic Connecticut gas station turned hot dog joint that's been around forever - has these really nice looking shirts available on their website, along with their famous secret recipe hot pepper relish. $15 from blackieshotdogs.com
Cobra Dogs Gear
Cobra Dogs is a crazy combination hot dog truck and snowboard team operating out of Mount Hood, Oregon. All sorts of wild gear in their store from tank tops to hats and decals. $8 to $55 at cobradogs.com
Karl Ehmer Wieners
One of New Jersey's finest old-school pork stores, Karl Ehmer has been around since 1936 and I was sort of shocked that these are even available online. Order a pack of these pork and beef "Seitenwurst" (long wieners) or any of their other delicious products for the truly discerning hot dog connoisseur. $9.29 from karlehmer.com
Mista Dale's Mustard Slaw
After our taste test of mustard slaws and chow-chows from around the country (see the results here), Mista Dale's was our clear favorite. It's refreshing, not overly sweet, but also packs some serious spice. Delicious on those Karl Ehmer dogs but also terrific on chili, rice and beans, and really pretty much anything. $4.99 a jar from mistadales.com
Rochester Plate Sauce
One of our favorites from the Rochester "Beef Hot Sauce" taste test (see results here), this is some seriously delicious meat sauce that goes great on dogs (or "Texas Hots" as they're known up there) and authentic Rochester garbage plates but I also really enjoyed it over spaghetti, Cincinnati-style. (Regional blasphemy, I know, but it was great) $9.95 for 18-ounces from platesauce.com
Sport Pepper Seeds
Dying to make a real Chicago dog at home but can't find sport peppers and pepperoncini or jalapenos that are doing the trick? Buy a pack of sport pepper seeds and grow them yourself. I grew my own a couple years ago and they are super easy and pretty simple to pickle. Pair the seeds with some pickling spice and mason jars and you've got a complete kit. $2.85 for 18-ounces from tomatogrowers.com
Hot Dog EZ Bun Steamer
At first mesmerized by the infomercial, I was pretty quickly excited about what an awesome invention this is. Steaming hot dog buns at home is pretty much a pain in the ass, for me usually involving some sort of collapsing basket that came from a garage sale that may or may not end up soaking my buns with water. The real genius here is the hot dog opening in the middle so you don't have to take the whole thing out in order to remove your frankfurters. $7.99 from hotdogezbunsteamer.com
Hawk Krall Hot Dog Art
Last but not least, high-quality art prints of regional hot dogs from yours truly. Also have a few originals for sale this year as well. I've got a great holiday deal for a set of four for $100. $33 each + shipping/handling or a set of four for $100 from hawkkrall.net
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