The original version of this post first appeared in July 2013. It appears here as part of an ongoing series that explores the back catalogue at "...an endless banquet" in search of timely classics. Summertime is peak hot dog season at AEB. We always have packs of our favourite hot dogs on-hand in case we need to prepare a simple lunch or dinner for a group--something that happens with some frequency at the Milk House in Vermont. And since establishing a foothold in the Green Mountain State, our hot dog game has undergone a transformation. Read all about it below...
That was then:
We'll take AEB Superdawgs pretty much any way we can get 'em. But, let's face it, they're particularly good on a real hot dog bun, and if you happen to be passing through the Mid-Atlantic region sometime soon, you might want to keep your eyes open Martin's hot dog-style potato rolls. They're easy to spot--they come in those distinctive neo-Fraktur Pennsylvania Dutch-style bags.
We swear by their classic potato rolls for hamburgers and chopped pork sandwiches, but their hot dog rolls are pretty choice, too. I mean, just look at those dawgs!
Hebrew National kosher all-beef franks
finely chopped yellow onion (buried)
chopped cherry tomatoes
finely chopped half-sour pickles
Keen's hot mustard
Total prep time: about 10-15 minutes.
And this is now:
Since we first ran this post a few years ago, lots has changed: namely, we've been spending a lot more time in Vermont, and, consequently, our AEB Superdawgs have gotten Green Mountain-ized.
Don't get me wrong, I still like good, old-fashioned hot dogs from Hebrew National, Vienna Beef, and other time-honoured producers in the East and Midwest, but I love some of the decidedly non-Kosher, humanely sourced, and artisanally produced hot dogs I can find in Vermont. And the fact that potato rolls are abundant in Vermont is an added bonus. Martin's potato rolls don't seem to travel east of Lake Champlain, but potato rolls from Vermont Bread Co. and others are a mainstay at local supermarkets, co-ops, and grocery stores.
Our two absolute favourite hot dogs these days are both bacon hot dogs: Vermont Smoke & Cure's uncured bacon hot dogs and North Country Smokehouse's delicatessen franks. North Country Smokehouse's home is in New Hampshire, but they're located just across the Connecticut River in Claremont, NH, and they're amazing line of bacons, hams, and sausages can be found widely in Vermont. Vermont Smoke & Cure was founded in South Barre, VT in the early '60s, but moved to a larger, more modern production facility in Hinesburg, VT just a few years ago. Both companies produce supremely good hot dogs. Hot dogs that are juicy, snappy, and absolutely bursting with flavour (thank you, bacon!). Hot dogs that'll bring a tear to a true hot dog lover's eye, as long as she or he can stand the thought of a bacon dog.
Vermont Smoke & Cure uncured bacon hot dogs
finely chopped vidalia onion (buried)
When it comes to preparing my AEB superdawgs, I go about doing so two different ways, depending on my mood and/or weather conditions. I either fire up the Weber barbecue and grill them gently (both Vermont Smoke & Cure's bacon hot dogs and North Country's delicatessen franks are fully cooked, they just need to be heated before serving) over charcoal, or I put a pat of butter in a cast-iron skillet and sauté/roast them carefully.
I also make sure to toast my potato rolls. And I usually do so with a bit of butter in a skillet.
Either way, total prep time is short: about 10-15 minutes, plus the time it takes to get your barbecue going, if you're using charcoal.
If you're passing through Vermont and you're looking to pick up some quality bacon hot dogs for yourself, good sources include Healthy Living (South Burlington), Onion River Co-op (Burlington), Hunger Mountain Co-op (Montpelier), Sterling Market (Johnson), and Hannaford Supermarkets (various locations). While North Country's line of bacons, hams, and sausages are often in stock at these locations, their delicatessen franks are much harder to find--so you might have to pay them a visit in Claremont, or drop them a line.
Summer is definitely here, people (just feel that sun!). Make the most of it. Keep things simple, but, for the love of Dawg, keep 'em tasty.