Hot dog styles
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Ski stunt or game-day nosh? Only a Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback driver knows for sure.

 

By Paul Lukas

For many football fans, the most important part of game day takes place hours before kickoff: tailgating. And while some tailgaters have gotten fancy in recent years, cooking up everything from smoked brisket to honey-glazed ribs (or even having their tailgates catered!), there’s something to be said for sticking with that old standby, the hot dog.

Hot dogs were first served in America in 1870 at Coney Island, Brooklyn—or in 1880 in St. Louis, or in 1893 in Chicago, depending on which hotly disputed origin story you choose to believe. Whichever story is true, there’s a reason the hot dog is still America’s go-to sausage after more than a century: It’s delicious, it’s easy to prepare and it offers lots of possibilities for stylistic variations, so you can think like an artist and make your own mark, like you do with your Sonic.

Choose one of these popular hotdog variations to go with the available dealer-installed body graphics you proudly display. Or get creative and invent your own dog!

The Corkscrew Dog
The idea here is simple: If you spiral-slice your hot dogs, you’ll end up with a really pleasing shape (kids will find them particularly irresistible), plus your hot dog will have more surface area for grilling and more crevices—for condiments and toppings to seep into. So how do you do it? This video provides a handy tutorial.

The Deep-Fried Dog
Most hot dog outlets grill or griddle their dogs. But several hot dog restaurants in New Jersey and Connecticut (most notably the awesome Rutt’s Hut of Clifton, NJ) prefer to boil their dogs . . . in oil. The results can look a bit odd—the franks tend to split open in the hot oil and are therefore called “rippers”—but holy moly are they tasty! Many tailgaters these days have access to electricity via a small generator, so bring along an electric deep-fryer. If you don’t have access to power, you can heat up a pot of oil on your grill. Either way, exercise caution. You want the oil to hit 350 degrees, and then you should cook the dogs for three to five minutes, or until the skin rips open. But be warned: Once you’ve had a deep-fried dog, the grilled variety may never satisfy you again.

The Chicago Dog
Even if you don’t root for Da Bears, you can still enjoy the Windy City’s unique hot dog style, which involves topping the dog with tomato wedges, emerald green relish, diced raw onions, small pickled hot peppers (known in Chicago as “sport peppers”), a pickle spear and mustard, all on a poppy-seed bun. The dog may be hard to see after you’ve applied all those add-ons, but don’t worry—it’s still in there. And it’ll taste even better with these toppings.

The Corn Dog
Tired of having your hot dogs served on those plain white buns? Skip the bun and make corn dogs instead. They’ve fun—everyone likes food on a stick. Easy to make, too: Just get yourself an inexpensive corn dog maker, whip up some batter (the recipe is a snap) and you’re good to go.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Paul Lukas has written about food, travel and sports for a wide variety of publications, so he knows a thing or two about tailgating. He's a columnist at ESPN.com, where he writes “Uni Watch,” the sports world's foremost (okay, only) column devoted to uniform design.

 

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