What can be better than a good hot dog. Some folks like them fully loaded. There’s really nothing that can go wrong with a dog if you really think about it. Growing up we had a place called ‘Orange Julius’ and the toppings you could get on a hot dog were unlimited. Onions, Cole Slaw, shredded pork with BBQ sauce. Whatever you wanted.
Times have changed a little. Somehow, the Hot Dog police got involved and made it so it was not as cool or healthy to be able to do that. I still don’t get it because when you go to the ballpark or have a BBQ or party. It’s tops on the menu…along with wings and chips!
For some reason every time I visit Napa Valley I get reminded of how great hot dogs are. It’s one of these things. Either a food truck or some event is pairing up hot dogs and wine. I learned early on that I nice big red Zinfandel is incredible with a hot dog with a lot of Cheddar Cheese and Jalapenos.
But that’s not the only pairing that’s phenomenal. It’s got me thinking of the basics. Chili Dogs, New York Kraut dogs and nice spicy Chicago dogs. Nevermind that when you go to Chicago, they are hard to find…which makes no sense. A lot of Pizza though…
Let’s start with the New York-frankfurters, with mustard and sauerkraut, Nathans, go great with a Rose or a refreshingly crisp white Zinfandel. It’s affordable too. Yes! white zinfandel the wine that’s usually pushed to the side…Let me tell you, iced cold white zin and a crisp hot dog is fantastic. You can totally quaff it.
Moving out west, we find the Chicago hot dog, with its trademark peppers, pickles and celery salt, which scream for a medium to bodies wine crispiness out for a light-to-medium-weight wine with substantial crispness to match the acidity and spiciness of the toppings. A Sauvignon Blanc or dry German Riesling are a great match — both of which are dry and have a zip to them. A Chardonnay from Burgundy would be delicious as well. The green, grassy component of the wine or the steely unoaked wetness goes well with the pickles, peppers, tomatoes and saltiness.
I also want to mention that at the Sate Fair there’s always Sausages and peppers. Polish Sausages are my favorite. There’s an earthiness to them that just screams out for a big Merlot or Cabernet…just saying.
Lastly for this piece, I think of Texas and a hot decadent chili dog, with maybe beef and beans… chili sauce, onions and cheese. A full-bodied wine like an Australian Shiraz from the Barossa or a big Zinfandel from California hits the spot; even better if it is in a style that has that bit of sweet-blackberry juice and oakiness…sometimes a zin has hints of BBQ grill marks that help wash down the spices or any sliced jalapeños that you pile on.
Really, It’s all good.