(Family Features) - Summer just wouldn't be the same without hot dogs sizzling on the grill. This iconic American food is so popular that seven billion hot dogs are eaten between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. (That's 818 hot dogs eaten every second!)
High quality hot dogs, also known as frankfurters, have a rich, meaty taste and are skillfully seasoned with just the right combination of salt and spice for a hearty flavor. Skinless varieties are available, but many people prefer hot dogs with natural casings, which create that satisfying "snap" when bitten into.
This year, expand your grilling repertoire by tossing several sausages on the grill along with the hot dogs. Smoked sausages, bratwursts and knockwursts are made from a variety of meats including veal, pork, beef, chicken and turkey. Most are precooked and offer the satisfying taste of meat, spices, salt and mouthwatering juices.
Hot dogs and sausages taste best when slightly browned on the outside, bringing out all the delicious flavors and juices from the inside, say the frankfurter and sausage experts at Boar's Head. Whether served on a soft bun or on their own, hot dogs and sausages taste even better when piled high with an assortment of toppings and condiments such as Boar's Head Sweet Vidalia® Onion Sauce.
Mustard is the most popular condiment, but take a look at how people all over the country are topping their dogs:
- New York - spicy mustard, sauerkraut
- Chicago - cucumber, tomato, pickle, onion, pickle relish
- South - coleslaw, mustard, onions
- Seattle - cream cheese, onions
- Southwest - corn relish, bacon
- Greek-style - sun dried tomato, feta cheese, kalamata olives
- Midwest - melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut
- California-style - guacamole, sprouts, sunflower seeds
To make the most of the hot dog experience, the rule of thumb is to "dress the dog, not the bun." Apply condiments onto the meat in this order: wet condiments (such as mustard and chili); then chunky condiments (such as relish, onions or onion sauce and sauerkraut); then shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper
- Coat grill racks with a non-stick cooking oil spray and cook hot dogs 5 to 8 minutes, turning every 1 to 2 minutes.
- Turn with tongs or a turner, not with a fork, because puncturing the casing allows the flavorful juices to escape.
- If you're doing other cooking on the grill, hot dogs also cook up nicely on the top rack and once you see the black grill marks, you know they are ready.
To find out more, visit www.boarshead.com.