My name is Jim Brewer. I am a Hot Dog-aholic. I am a “Frank-enstein”. I love wieners.
Some of my favorite places to eat out include hot dog joints. Jack ‘N Jil in Charlottesville and Jim’s Drive-In in Lewisburg, WV come to mind. And I love to put a few franks on the grill from time to time. I always make extra and eat them heated up for lunches throughout the week.
I enjoy hot dogs because you can blend so many flavors into one bite.
My favorite combination is a Nathan’s all beef frank with a steamed bun, Cole slaw, mustard, sweet onions, and, of course, chili. If I am pressed for time, I’ll get a can of hot dog chili from the store, but better by far is homemade chili. When my mind is humming along at 90 percent or so (rarely), I’ll make up a larger batch of chili and freeze smaller portions in Tupperware containers, then thaw them out when I’ve got dogs on the grill. I did that just last week and the chili – simple as sin – was delicious.
Here’s my most simple recipe.
Begin with a half of Vidalia onion, finely diced. Sautee the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender. Next, add one pound of ground chuck. I find that the 70-30 hamburger blend is too greasy and the leaner combinations lack the flavor. So go with ground chuck and an 80/20 blend of lean to fat. Brown the ground beef with the onions and pour off or wipe up any excess grease with a paper towel. Add 1 jar of chili sauce. I used Kroger’s brand, but Heinz is also very good. Finally, add 2 tablespoons of French’s Chili-O powdered chili sauce. Mix thoroughly, and then cook on low for about a half hour to let the meat absorb the sauce and spices. This, to me, is the epitome of hot dog chili and a perfect compliment to a tasty frank.