Editor's note: Earlier we told you about a few locally made hot dogs, and hopefully you've been persuaded to give one of your local butcher shops a try. Don't stop now. There are a few more things you can do to take your hot dog game even further.
While some grilling events can be high-maintenance and stuffy, a hog dog cookout is one of the easiest ways to entertain. All you need is a hot grill and a table filled with with condiments and a salad or two, and you're ready to feed as many people as you can fit in your backyard. What's better is everything can be prepared or purchased ahead of time, which will allow you to actually spend some time with your friends.
Here are some tips for making your hot dog cookout the best it can be, using ingredients you can find from some of the best vendors in Dallas. Choose any one of them and your event will be better. Choose them all and your friends will talk about your grill skills for weeks. Start with an upgraded bun.
Empire Bakery Co.'s hot dog buns are the same size as the ones you'll get at your neighborhood grocery, but the similarities stop there. The buns are dense and rich with a shiny soft crust and will stand up to as many toppings as you're willing to toss on. Call ahead if you want to be sure they'll have them on hand and plan on spending $.75 a piece.
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If you're working with larger hot dogs, like the ones from David's Meats or Luscher's Post Oak Red Hots, Village Baking Co.'s buns will give you a little more bread to work with. While it's still recommended to call ahead, they often have surplus buns at their retail location. You can choose either poppy seed or regular buns, and you'll pay $4 for a package of eight.
As for condiments, you can't have too many. When I freelanced for the Washington Post I tracked down two great condiment recipes that are relatively easy to make at home. Don't stop with chow chow and mustard though. Lots of things go great with hot dogs.
Diced tomatoes are optional, but diced onions are mandatory. Just about any pickled vegetable you can buy at the store would be great cut up or left whole on a hot dog. You did make sauerkraut this past winter, yes? Lightly fermented cabbage adds a nice tang to any frank. And if you don't make your own you can get great renditions at the Coppell farmers market or at Bolsa Mercado in Oak Cliff.
Get some local beer. Craft and Growler can set you up with beer from all over the state of Texas. And Lakewood Brewery's beers can be purchased in bottles at Whole Foods too. Something special happens when you embrace local artisans to dress up what was once a humble hot dog party. Not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing you're supporting local business, but everything tastes a lot better too.