Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

August 23, 2013

‘Caramelized’ hot dogs are best

By GINA KINSLOW
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Someone once told me that if I knew how hot dogs were made, I wouldn’t want to eat them.

I doubt that information would turn my stomach, because I love hot dogs. Not the fancy kind you can get at fast food restaurants that are named after a town like Chicago or New York, mind you. I prefer just plain, old, ordinary hot dogs.

The only thing I am picky about is how my hot dogs are cooked. I like them cooked either over hot coals or on a stick over a campfire flame. The more charred they are, the better I like them.

I realize not everyone shares my infatuation with what some people would call burnt hot dogs, but if you’ve ever watched the chefs on the Food Network, instead of saying something is burned, they say it is caramelized. So, I guess, I love caramelized hot dogs.

A few years ago, a bunch of us at work decided we would order lunch from a nearby restaurant that served hot dogs. I got to be the “go-for” — the person responsible for going to get the order after it was called in.

One of my co-workers ordered a hot dog and fries, but like me, she liked her hot dogs “caramelized” and gave me strict instructions to make sure her hot dog was charred.

For the life of me, I could not make the servers understand how this woman wanted her hot dog cooked. Finally, they told me they could not burn or caramelize her hot dog because they weren’t allowed to do such a thing.

I thought that was pretty ridiculous. We were giving them permission to burn food. How many times during their career will they get that opportunity? I bet it doesn’t happen a lot.

I don’t order hot dogs from restaurants very often. I prefer to cook them at home, so I can caramelize them myself.

In fact, whenever cooking something on the grill, regardless if it is chicken, hamburgers, steaks or pork chops, I usually throw on a package of hot dogs after the other meat has finished cooking. It seems like a waste to me to not use the hot coals. And yes, I prefer grilling with charcoal than to grilling with gas. It’s easier to get the caramelized effect with charcoal than it is with gas.

That’s one of the things I hate about the onset of fall and winter. Less days to caramelize hot dogs on the grill or over a campfire, but as long as the temperature stays above 35 degrees I’ll find a way to cook my hot dogs the way I want.

Gina Kinslow is a staff writer for the Glasgow Daily Times. She can be contacted by e-mail at gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes. com.