By Nicole Dobarro
It’s 3 a.m. and it’s been a long night of inhaling cheap whiskey, tolerating the hoots, hollers, and enduring the judgement of walking barefoot in the Mission because those heels just aren’t worth it. It’s time to go home. But wait…Can it be? That seducing aroma of greasy, grilled meat fills the air as 19th and Mission Streets approach. As if a divine intervention has grasped you and cuddled you into a warm, fuzzy place. You have found the dirty dog cart and nothing has been, or ever will be, more perfect.
Rumored to have originated in Mexico then made popular in Los Angeles, the blessed dirty dog or danger dog (or street dog or Mission dog) has saved us San Franciscans. More often than not the dirty dog rescues us from ridiculous lines at Taqueria Cancun or having to wait for the OWL next to that guy being that guy. And from experience, Lyft drivers will more often let you eat your incredibly messy dirty dog in their car over that burrito because they know what’s up. Living in a society where Americans spend over $1.5 billion on hot dogs (only in grocery stores) last year, it’s safe to say the hot dog holds a place very close to our hearts. Even with the rise of the organic and local movement, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, hot dog sales have actually remained the same. Maybe it’s because of the growth of more health-conscious hot dog brands or maybe it’s because we’re simply addicted to them.
Though eating two to three dirty dogs while squatting on the curb can be incredibly thrilling, why not try it at home where you hopefully have plates and a chair? Cooking at home creates the opportunity to make a dirty dog tastier and dare I say it? Healthier. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are not supposed to be healthy, but when you’re paying four to five bucks (depending on the hour) you just know the quality can’t be that great. This recipe doesn’t call for any specific brand of hot dogs or bacon. Just be aware of what percent of real beef the dogs are made of and reach within your budget. As for produce, buying local and organic is great but anything you can find at Trader Joe’s will work just as well. And don’t be afraid of baking your own bread! It’s surprisingly so easy that it’s silly to buy those rubbery buns that probably also have yoga mat in them.
Making your own dirty dog is a great excuse to show-off to your friends or justify eating five in one sitting, so good luck and happy munching!
Homemade Crusty Hot Dog Buns
(yields about 8 buns)3.5 C all purpose flour
1 C warm water
1/3 C oil
1/3 C sugar
1 yeast packet
1 teaspoon salt
pat of melted butter
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine and mix warm water, oil, sugar, salt and yeast packet. Forget about it for 15 minutes.
3. Beat egg and set aside.
4. After 15 minutes, slowly pour yeast mixture and egg to flour in a large bowl. Mix until well combined.
5. Transfer dough to a surface lightly covered in flour. Knead for 2-3 minutes until bumps disappear.
6. Portion dough into 8 even pieces.
7. Roll into logs(try to resemble the shape of hot dog buns).
8. Place on parchment paper or a greased baking sheet. Brush melted butter on tops of logs and sprinkle with crushed almonds, sea salt, sesame seeds and fennel seeds.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
100% all-beef hot dogs
thick cut bacon
baby bell peppers
While the buns are in the oven, prepare the hot dog and toppings:
1. Heat up a greased grill pan. If you don’t have one, a regular pan is fine. If you want that extra crunch, heat up the deep-fryer. YOLO.
2. Wrap the hot dogs with bacon and grill all sides until the bacon is cooked and a nice charred appearance. Remove from grill pan and set aside.
3. Cut 4-8 baby bell peppers and one onion into strips. Grill them until nicely charred on grill pan. Be sure to use the oil released from the hot dogs to cook the veggies.
4. Slice homemade hot dog buns then get to assembling! First goes the bacon-wrapped hot dog, grilled onions and peppers, then top with pickled jalapenos and kewpie mayo if you want to go all out. Then don’t share and enjoy!
**Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker and Bonnie’s 30-Minute Hot Dog Buns, and through trial and error.