It is October 1st, and I am still not willing to let Summer go. The top is down on my old Jeep, I'm strutting my stuff in a Hawaiian shirt, and the weather is somewhere north of 80 for a few more days. Autumn be damned, we're making hot dogs.
I will start by saying the the perfect hot dog is as simple as simple can be. A grill hot enough to char the skin and whatever cheap bun you can slap it on is about as good as food gets. Pair that with a cheap domestic, and you've got the entirety of an Anchors Aweight for Memorial Day weekend. But I don't really need to explain any of that to you, and it would be boring reading if I tried.
Now, there are a lot of ways to dress up a dog, from the busy and beautiful Chicago dog to the apoplexy-inducing chili-cheese dog. For this week, we're going across the Pacific, bringing in a little heat and a lot of umami for Asian Slaw Dogs. Brushed with Hoisin to add a hint of sweet, these dogs get their heat from three sources (mustard, wasabi, and sambal) and a muted brightness from a vinegar-heavy dose of slaw.
A few notes before we get started:
One, I used broccoli slaw because I like the texture (and it was on sale cheap at the grocery). This would work just as well with regular slaw mix or just a finely shredded head of red cabbage. Slaw mix isn't really cost-effective, but it is a lot less work.
Two, crab sauce (or fish sauce, if that's all you can get your hands on) stinks. There is no other way to describe it, but don't fret. The few dashes we add funk things up just enough to make you scratch your head, but then it all comes together in the finished dog. If you are averse to the very idea of fish sauce, you are probably better off without it. If you are curious about what it does to a dish, go grab a bottle. Do go easy on it, though. It is definitely not a "more is better" ingredient.
Three, sambal is a chili paste that you will likely start hearing more and more about. If you can't find it, Sriracha will work fine, as would garlic-chili paste. The sambal I ended up with is basically the latter minus the garlic. The heat is intense, but very clean with just a hint of sweet.
Asian Slaw Dogs
- 6 oz Broccoli Slaw Mix
- 1/2 C Rice Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1-2 TBSP Soy Sauce
- 1/2 tsp Fish or Crab Sauce (optional)
- 1/4 C Mayonnaise
- 1 TBSP prepared Chinese Mustard
- 1/2 tsp prepared Wasabi
- 1-2 tsp Sambal
- 4 Hot Dogs
- 2-3 TBSP Hoisin Sauce
- 4 Buns
- 1-2 TBSP Butter, melted
- Spicy Mayo
- Chow Mein Noodles (optional)
Make your slaw first, tossing all ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While you wait, combine all of your mayo ingredients in a separate bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
When you are ready to eat, put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Open your bun and butter the inside liberally. Place butter-side down in your hot skillet, toasting to a dark brown. Set aside. Split the dogs down the middle, leaving just enough to keep whole (skin-on dogs are a little easier to do this with, but skinless dogs are fine as well). Place in pan, rounded side down, and cook for a couple of minutes. This will depend on the size of your dogs and the heat of the skillet, but your goal is to have the dogs mostly heated through and slightly charred/blistered. Flip dogs so they are cut-side down and brush with Hoisin. Be careful not to get too sloppy with the Hoisin, as it will burn quickly if you get it all over the pan - not really a safety concern, but also not a great flavor to add to the dish.
Slather a healthy dose of your spicy mayo on the toasted bun. Add a hot dog, cut side up, and brush with more Hoisin if you are so inclined. Top with slaw and garnish with chow mein noodles.
The Moscow Mule
The first time I had this cocktail was actually in Nashville at a recently-closed joint called Past Perfect. They made theirs with house-infused ginger vodka and an egg white for body. For the year or so I lived in the neighborhood, I loved the drink, even if it wasn't a Moscow Mule in the most pedantic sense.
Catchy as the name is, Moscow Mule isn't very accurate for conveying the flavors. Ginger and lime are the stars of this show, with an occasional appearance by mint, all flavors that I would associate more with Southeast Asia than with Mother Russia. The traditional build is ginger beer, vodka, and lime with a garnish of mint. As a nod to my old watering hole, and in an attempt to use up some leftover ginger liqueur, our recipe isn't true to the original, but it is delicious and refreshing. Copper cup not required.
Squeeze lime into a highball glass, adding the spent lime. Top with ice. Pour over liqueur and vodka. Top with club soda and stir gently. Garnish with a lime or a sprig of mint.