Why It Works
- A crunchy, well-balanced coleslaw offsets the rich saltiness of the hot dogs and creates a refreshing textural contrast.
They always say living in the summertime is easy. Same goes for recipe development. Summer recipes tend to fall into two buckets: simply prepared fresh produce and backyard classics. So what makes recipe writing easy? Because if you pick any two things from within the same bucket, chances are the flavors and the spirit are going to go well together.
Case in point: coleslaw and hot dogs.
During our hot dog bun face-off, we served a side of hot dog bites to act as an accompaniment to the buns. Meanwhile, fresh off the heels of a couple weeks of testing coleslaw, there were several quarts of the stuff left in the refrigerator and placed on the staff table every day for folks to help themselves.
During the taste test, Ben casually mentioned that slaw dogs were his favorite way to eat hot dogs. Your wish is my command, Ben. Fresh dogs were griddled, slaw was piled on top, and lunch was had.
I gotta admit, I'd never been much of a slaw dog eater in the past. I dabbled in slaw-doggery in my early years when I ordered one for the first and last time at the Papaya King on Third Avenue, blowing my precious after-school snack money on a great dog topped with limp cabbage and soupy mayonnaise. I knew I should have stuck with sauerkraut. With that one scarring experience, I hadn't ventured back into the realm.
But thank you Ben, for turning me back onto slaw dogs. It turns out that with the right proportions and a crunchy slaw, a slaw dog can be every bit as satisfying as a kraut'ed up version. The slaw, with its slightly sweet, punchy tang goes really well with the salty snap of a good dog—even more so if you add a touch of mustard between the two. Meanwhile, when your slaw is nice and tight with just enough mayo to hold it together, it adds an extra layer of richness to the whole deal.
There's not too much to the recipe other than cooking dogs like you normally do, adding a touch of mustard (if you'd like), and topping it all off with creamy coleslaw, but go ahead and peep a look at the recipe if you'd like.
- 8 hot dogs, preferably natural casing
- 8 warm hot dog buns (see notes)
- Mustard (optional)
- 1 recipe creamy coleslaw (see notes)
Place hot dogs in a skillet and top with warm water. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Let hot dogs simmer until lightly plumped, about 1 minute. Drain water and return skillet to heat. Cook, turning hot dogs occasionally, until lightly colored on each side, about 5 minutes total.
Place cooked hot dogs in warmed buns. Top with mustard if desired. Top with coleslaw. Serve immediately with extra coleslaw on the side.
To warm hot dog buns, either place on a large plate, cover with paper towel, and microwave until hot (20 to 30 seconds), or toast in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, turning and flipping occasionally until warmed through and lightly toasted.
One batch of creamy coleslaw will produce enough slaw to top dogs and serve on the side.