As far as I know, electronic gadgetry hasn’t affected the humble hot dog. Having said that, I’m confident that somewhere out there there is a new gizmo guaranteed to make the perfect tube-steak.
Making a hot dog can be a very simple operation, and that’s probably why it is so popular with very young children; If you can keep them from falling into the fire, or poking their siblings in tender spots with the wiener stick, you’ve got it made.
The simplest approach is to use a thin-pointed, forked stick; a fire, and a choice of condiments.
If held in the flames, the wiener chars or the stick burns through, letting the main-course fall into the fire, leading to tearful exclamations from young chefs. A safer/better approach is a “key-hole” fire, where coals are pulled from the main fire. Another safe choice is metal wiener sticks, with the two points bent backward towards the hand. These are unlikely to cause injuries, like forward-pointing tips can, but are just as simple to use.
Use a grill over the coals, and a tong to check, turn, and remove the finished product, if aesthetics are a part of your cooking; this way the wiener is less likely to be charred, can be served without holes, and will be free of ashes.
Of course a gas or charcoal barbeque will do when the ambience of a fire is unavailable. A barbeque allows the use of dampened wood chips in various aromas to lend a smoky flavour to the product.
Local grocery stores carry 27 wiener and sausage products suitable for hot dogs done in whatever method you choose. These include your choice of beef, pork, chicken, gluten-free, cheese-infused, mushrooms-laden, and chilli-packed. They come in a sizes ranging from “cocktail” to “jumbo”, and with a number of European sausage spices.
Not much is thrown away in meat processing, so I urge you to check the label for contents. Spending a little more money should ensure your choice is made with higher quality meat.
Condiments offer multiple options beyond the old-fashioned realm of prepared mustard, ordinary ketchup, and sweet relish.
Local stores have four shelves — three to four meters long — of nothing but sauces, any of which can be used to garnish a hot-dog. Mustard and ketchup come in at least four varieties. Then there is chilli sauce, HP, chipotle and a variety of hot sauces. Relish comes in dill, corn, sweet and two varieties for hot dogs.
There is certainly some combination you can put together to please everyone. As a fall-back plan, keep some of the simple hot dog wieners and white buns available, because everybody seems to like them.