Smoky American Hot Dogs – #Start2BBQ
In this Staycation we travel further around the world on the BBQ. After some stops in India, Japan, Korea, … we now head for “The land of the free”. We park the Van on the parking lot of the Baseball stadium and take the BBQ out for a Tailgate party. American Hot Dogs in preparation for the game of the year. Since Baseball can hardly fascinate me we skip the game and just enjoy this delicious BBQ bite. For this #start2BBQ post we keep it simple with a limited amount of toppings. Melted cheese, pickled onions and cucumber for refreshment and a bit of ketchup.
Disclaimer: this post was made in collaboration with @Lidl Belgium and contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are personal and sincere.
In itself, making American Hot Dogs is not a great art. The challenges are limited. Still, for some it seems to go wrong when baking / grilling the sausage. The challenge is to prepare the sausage (which may be one of your own choice) in a way that makes it juicy and tasty. There are several ways to achieve this. For example, I recently read that soaking a sausage in lukewarm water for about 2 minutes would be enough to prevent it from bursting when grilled. I have not yet tested this myself. However, it is clear that the bursting of the intestine is a small disaster for the end result and you must try to prevent this at all times. The reason for this lies in the loss of the delicious meat juices.
HOW CAN YOU KEEP THE SAUSAGE JUICY?
Nothing more unpleasant when eating American Hot Dogs than dehydrated sticky sausages. If you want to prevent this, you do everything you can to prevent the intestines that contain these juices from leaking. First and foremost by not poking the sausage at any point during preparation. This is sometimes advised to prevent the intestine from cracking due to the expansion of the sausage which causes the juices and steam to tear the intestine. Agreeing the little loss from a hole does not outweigh the total loss of juices when piercing the intestine. But fortunately there are other ways to prevent this. So don’t pierce the bowel at any point. Not even with a fork to turn the sausages. Also be careful when using pliers. Some have sharp edges that can violate the delicate intestines. Although I am a strong advocate of a core thermometer to determine the exact temperatures, I don’t pierce all sausages either. With some experience you can quickly feel when a sausage is cooked (and feels firm). If you want to be sure of the temperature, measure it in one of the sausages and keep the others in takt.
AVOID TOO HIGH TEMPERATURES
Why is it important to avoid high temperatures? You don’t have to look far to find the reason. If the moisture in the sausage heats up too quickly, a large amount of steam accumulates within the sausage and cannot escape in time. As a result, the intestine cannot cope with the pressure and will burst. There goes your delicious American Hot Dogs … You can prevent this in 2 ways. On the one hand, it is recommended to first cook the sausage for a while called “Parboiling”. This is a BBQ blog and meanwhile we know that on a BBQ you have an extra advantage in the preparation: “smoke flavor”. Moreover, a good control of the fire can allow you to work at a low temperature (+-150°C) which gives the sausage the chance to gradually dissipate the steam that forms. In other words, the Reverse Sear technique that we know from the delicious pieces of beef. What’s more, the juices remain nicely dispersed in the sausage, which enhances its flavour and juiciness.
TO MAILLARD OR NOT TO MAILLARD?
Once the sausage has slowly warmed up, you have the choice whether or not to grill it further. The advantage of Grilling is the delicious Maillard reaction which gives the sausages an Umami boost making them full of flavor and also very beautiful golden brown looks. There is also a reason not to do it. Sometimes it is nice to just smoke a sausage, by adding smoke wood during the first phase of slow cooking. This way you get a subtle smoky taste in your sausage. If you want to taste this smoky touch to the fullest then it may be advisable not to grill the sausage any further after slow cooking. Usually it will have a nice golden to pinkish colour (depending on the sausage you have chosen). In addition, the skin has become crispy in the process and the sausage remains nice and juicy and tender. The choice is yours, depending on what flavour you prefer at that moment.
For these American Hot Dogs I have chosen the smoky touch of Lidl’s Bratwurst. Although they looked a bit strange because of their white color they were very tasty. They are somewhere between a classic bratwurst and white tripe. A nice trick to put a nice layer of cheese on your sausage is to cut the sandwiches (maybe a bit strange but for a hot dog I like to eat a soft sandwich that doesn’t give too much distraction in taste). Then add the sausages, cheese on top and back into the BBQ so the cheese can melt nicely over the sausage. Some toppings and some ketchup on top and your American Hot Dogs are ready to serve. Lovely!
I wonder which toppings you prefer when making American Hot Dogs? I keep the contents of the sandwich a bit limited to avoid smoshing. Serving a nice (cabbage) salad with it seems to me a nice alternative. If you have any questions about making hot dogs, please let me know. Maybe next time I’ll make the sandwich myself? By the way, do you want to take your Hot Dog Game to the next level? Try this Merguez Hot Dog, you won’t regret!
- 8 sausages of your choice here bratwurst from Lidl
- 8 soft Hot Dog sandwiches
- 2 red onions
- 4 mini cucumbers
- 1 piece of cheese here Old Bruges
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 bouquet garni
- 5 mint leaves
Prepare the brine mixture by bringing the ingredients to boiling point.
Cut the cucumber into fine slices and the red onion into fine rings.
Add the red onion and cucumber to 2 separate weck jars and pour over the pickling juice until it’s completely submerged by the juice.
Leave the onion and cucumber in this pickle for at least one night.
Prepare your BBQ for an indirect session at medium temperature (150-180°C). Add a cube of smokewood once the BBQ is at temperature and wait until the smoke turns light blue. For this recipe I used my Kamado Joe with the Slo Roller.
Smoke the sausages for +-30 min (depending on the thickness) until they feel firm. Make sure you don’t pierce the thin casings when you move them. When using a plate setter or the Slo Roller of the Kamado Joe, you can easily leave the sausages lying around without moving them.
Now you can choose whether to place the sausage directly above the grill to give it a nice brown color and Maillard reaction. Here I chose to provide the sausages with a subtle smoky flavor without further grilling.
Cut the sandwiches in half and place the sausage in between. Sprinkle generously with grated cheese. and place for 5-10 minutes back (indirectly) on the BBQ until the sandwiches are hot and the cheese is melted.