Yesterday, Takeout contributor Marnie Shure made her argument for the plain hot dog—that is, no condiments, just bun and wiener unadorned. This of course inspired a lively comment thread in which our readers argued about everything from the best hot dog wieners and regional styles to condiments.
In an effort to better organize this discussion, let’s focus this particular story and thread on one question: What are your ideal condiments on a hot dog? Let’s begin with what Takeout staffers think.
I’m half-German and grew up in the greater New York metropolitan area (read: Jersey), so it was written in the stars that my favorite hot dog toppings are sauerkraut and mustard. Pile that funky ‘kraut high—I say there’s really not enough on the dog until the cabbage overfloweth from its bun confines. Sauerkraut’s fermented tang is a wonderful riff over over the dog’s salty-savory base line, but people tend to forget that sauerkraut can be just slightly sweet, too. Mustard—the stoneground, coarse mustard if you’ve got it; dijon in a pinch—adds requisite spice. Damn, now someone get me a dirty-water dog, stat. [Kate Bernot]
I’m going to be the outlier/weirdo in the group. My hot dogs used to be just ketchup and mayonnaise, but I’ve recently discovered the singular joys of combining A-1 sauce with mayonnaise. You get the deep savory-tang of A-1 mellowed with the lusciousness of mayo (Kewpie is da bomb) and the two in concert is like a steakhouse aioli. Slather that on a quality all-beef wiener nestled in a toasted bun, and it’s like a handheld Morton’s. [Kevin Pang]
I’m kind of a hot dog purist, so I go for the classic condiment trifecta: ketchup, mustard, and relish. Especially relish—I love how the sweet, crunchy tanginess augments the taste of even the most basic dog. I know my inclusion of ketchup will get me kicked out of the official Chicago Hot Dog Eaters Club, but every time I’m at a ball game I get a dog and pile on the condiments, sometimes fighting with all those annoying little packets that are near-impossible to open. If I’m really lucky, I might get to add a pickle, tomatoes, and a generous sprinkling of celery salt. But hold the onions, please. [Gwen Ihnat]
I want to state first and foremost that as long as a hot dog is not overcooked to the point of rubberiness, I am fine with pretty much any topping. Ketchup is good. Chili and cheese are good. Relish is good. However, given the choice, I love a hot dog with caramelized onions and fancy-ass mustard. If it comes in a tiny jar and is sold in an itty-bitty shop with a ribbon or a piece of old-timey twine around it, I will want to buy it. Contenders for the cookout I’m hitting tomorrow: a french curry mustard I love, currently in my fridge, and this beauty, currently sitting on a shelf at the itty bitty shop by my apartment. Maybe both. It’s a freakin’ holiday, after all. [Allison Shoemaker]