So here’s a hot dog that’s so perfect for me that I’m genuinely surprised I’m not the one who came up with it. I love pineapple. I love red onion. I love hot dogs. Really, this one is hitting all of the high notes. It’s also similar to a hot dog I had at my favorite hot dog place in Chicago, Chubby Weiners. That restaurant holds the ignominious distinction of being where D and I had dinner on every presidential election day since we moved to the neighborhood. Yeah, that’s only two elections. And I think we maybe decided to go there on a non-election day once. But still. To me, this is the Election Day headquarters for our family. Some of you who are familiar with the Chicago hot dog scene (and didn’t chuckle at that last phrase) will wonder why I didn’t pick Hot Doug’s. Well, because my favorite hot dog place can’t be somewhere where I have to wait in line for an hour. It just can’t. And Hot Doug’s is closing, so I have to pick something else. Why not Weiner’s Circle? Because I’ve never been, and I don’t like confrontation. I do, however, love this Conan O’Brien sketch where Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Jack MacBrayer go to Wiener’s Circle. Well, now I have to try not to fall down a You Tube rabbit hole of Triumph videos. Did you guys know he visited The Real Housewives of Atlanta? It’s really hard not to click that.
Why am I spending all this time talking about local hot dogs instead of writing about the recipe? Because it’s such a no-brainer. It’s just delicious. It’s also the kind of thing that you already know whether you’ll like it without me telling you anything. Do you like pineapple? Welcome aboard. That was quick.
This post is really just a recommendation to make the topping and skip the hot dog. The topping is completely delicious. I didn’t think that cooking corn (I used defrosted frozen stuff) in a dry skillet would actually make much of a difference for flavor. I was so wrong. The browning brings out the sugar in the corn, making it the perfect foil for all of the other sour ingredients. I think I overcooked my corn a little, though. The recipe says to roast the corn in a dry skillet until it is browned, then add oil and scallion greens, and cook until the scallions are soft. Well, the corn doesn’t magically stop cooking once you add the oil and scallions, so I cut this whole process off before the scallions were cooked because the corn was edging from brown to black. That having been said, it was delicious. I think I would brown the corn by itself until it is very nearly fully browned, then add the oil and scallions to brown it the rest of the way while the onions cook.
I wound up absolutely loving the corn topping, dressing, everything. So I was super excited to eat the hot dog. Here’s roughly a transcript of what went on in my head with each bite: “whoo hoo! Corn! Lime mayo! This is awesome! (chew, chew) Oh, yeah, hot dog. Huh. Bun. Yeah…ok, I guess.” Then I’d take another bite and repeat that. The hot dog and bun really got in the way of the salad. Unlike the banh mi dog where the hot dog added some salt and umami to the other flavors, here it just seemed like an afterthought. So just serve the salad as a side with a hot dog that you dress as you please. Curious how I prefer my hot dog? I thought you’d never ask. I like it with cheap yellow mustard, corn relish, and raw onions. Actually, I once had that hot dog with homemade pickled watermelon rind added on and it was perfect. That would be my ultimate dog…with this corn salad on the side.
On the other hand, you could just grill corn on the cob on the grill and dress it with the lime mayo, Cojita cheese, and chili powder. That would probably be the best of the best. That cheese, by the way, tastes almost exactly like feta. I’ve also had corn dressed this way with freshly grated Parmesan. That works too.
As B said, “Is there a hot dog in there somewhere?”
Before I tell you about this awesome hot dog, I need to tell you a disgusting but true story. You know how Chinese restaurants usually sell items where you can swap out one protein for another? So shrimp fried rice, chicken fried rice, pork fried rice, etc. etc. Yes, I’m referring to American Chinese restaurants. I don’t know what real Chinese restaurants serve. Probably not egg rolls, so that’s a deal breaker right there. Anyway, cultural insensitivity aside…you’re familiar with the choices of protein at your standard Chinese restaurant. It’s usually beef, pork, shrimp, chicken, maybe tofu. I once saw a flyer for a Chinese restaurant where one of the protein choices was…hot dog. That’s right, hot dog. You could order hot dog fried rice. This struck me as absolutely hilarious because hot dog fried rice is the kind of poverty chow that everyone makes in a pinch (especially in college or right before grocery shopping), but no one would ever advertise in a thousand years. It’s like a restaurant bragging that they offer American cheese microwaved on a bagel or Pop Tarts. Also, I can hear your eyes rolling incredulously through the tubes, so I’ll just leave this here. You’re welcome.
So you’d forgive me for being skeptical about a banh mi hot dog. But this thing is delicious. The carrot slaw is lovely. The mayo and cucumber cools down the jalapeno slices. The cilantro leaves bring their special bitter bite. The hot dog brings the salt… This is just a delicious and easy meal. I’ve actually made it a few times before. I wouldn’t feel embarrassed serving it to guests. Unlike hot dog fried rice. That’s just… No.