An Orange Dog

National Hot Dog Day approaches on July 23.

Those who celebrate will most likely be found grilling hot dogs on the barbeque or over a fire.

Die-hard hot dog lovers may opt to make their own. In the Yukon there are opportunities to experiment with local game recipes.

Regardless of what you use to make your hot dog, the idea of a hot dog is genius. A tasty sausage that can be topped with anything and stuffed in a warm, fresh bun — you really can’t get any better than that. And if you don’t feel like cooking it yourself, you can find a hot dog stand or truck — and still get your meal at a cheap price.

For those who are vegetarian, there are veggie dogs, which usually have soy powder as the staple ingredient. For a while it seemed the hot dog industry could appease both diet styles. Then came the rumours about soy: it causes breast cancer, it messes with a woman’s estrogen, it can reduce fertility, etc.

If you are turned off soy, and you don’t want to eat meat, how are you supposed to enjoy a hot dog? Think about it for a minute.

Ok, so you can’t make something that has the soft meaty texture of a hot dog without a binder and if you want something without meat or a protein powder, you need to be creative. And creativity in this department has spawned the carrot dog.

For vegans, your stars may have just aligned. The carrot dog is very different than a veggie dog; it is free of any soy or animal products.

So, how does it work? It’s quite simple actually; the carrot is the “hot dog”.

You peel a carrot and boil it whole for seven to 10 minutes. Then put it in a pan with oil and spices and sear it until it’s golden brown. Then you grab a vegan bun (or a regular bun if you are not doing the vegan thing), place it inside and garnish as you wish.

If you would like to add a gourmet look to your carrot dog, the latest trend is baking it in a long and narrow croissant-like bun with a green lettuce leaf sticking out of the top end. For the grill masters, you can stick the carrot on a skewer, grill, then slide it off into a bun. If you are a vegan or vegetarian you will probably enjoy this, for the folks who like their franks big and beefy, I don’t think a carrot dog will cut it.

You could argue that hot dogs are meant to be meaty and juicy and anything else is not worth the “dog” suffix. But vegans can always argue that they will likely never have cholesterol problems.

Perhaps it’s best to refrain from judgments and embrace hot dogs in whichever way they come. And since July 23 is National Hot Dog Day, have your carrot and eat it too.

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