Wieners Gone Wild!

Out-of-the-Ballpark Recipes for Extraordinary Hot Dogs


By Holly Schmidt

By Allan Penn

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You’ve Never Tasted Hot Dogs Like These!

What’s more American than apple pie? Hot dogs! Accompanying every barbeque, ball game, or picnic, a hot dog is more than just meat in a bun — it is an American pastime. In Wieners Gone Wild!, you’ll find dozens of mouth-watering, irresistible recipes starring the classic dog in a tasty and surprising 21st century makeover. Join hot dog aficionados Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn in an around-the-world, wiener-fueled adventure, featuring original and exciting recipes like:

–The Salty Dog: Smothered with Sriracha coleslaw and topped with cornmeal-fried clams, it’s a New England summer on a bun.

–Cowboy Up!: A new twist on the classic chili dog, it’s piled high with ground beef and Cheddar cheese.

–Hair of the Dog: With spicy hash browns and a bourbon sauce, it’s perfect for the morning after.







EVERYONE LOVES HOT DOGS. EVERYONE. When we told people we were writing a hot dog cookbook, without exception we heard, “I love hot dogs!” This book is a collection of over-the-top recipes for America’s favorite food. Some are easy and quick to put together, others are more labor-intensive (but worth it!)—and we’re pretty sure most of them haven’t been done before. We hope you dazzle your friends with your wiener creations and have as much fun making them as we have.


As we were developing the recipes, we learned something that surprised us: Hot dogs, while delicious on their own, are the perfect foil for a wide variety of foods, from fried clams to Caesar salad to quesadillas. Turns out, the smoky, salty flavor and juicy, greasy snap of a hot dog serves to enhance almost anything it touches, in much the same way bacon improves dishes from Brussels sprouts to braised chicken. Rather than competing with the sophisticated flavors we threw at them, hot dogs rose to the occasion and made them better, whether it was the peppercorns and brandy cream sauce of Wiener au Poivre (page 99), or the delicious apples and thyme of the Apple Pie Dog (page 81).


The hot dog was born in Frankfurt, Germany, sometime around the 13th century, where they were served at imperial coronations. (See, we knew hot dogs were the food of kings!) Nobody is sure how or when they made their way to America, but it appears to have been sometime in the late 1800s. They quickly became a popular staple at baseball games and fairs, because they were easy to eat, inexpensive, and totally delicious. The positive association most people have with hot dogs and baseball games, carnivals, and backyard barbecues only serves to solidify and heighten their exalted place in our culinary culture. Everybody has a happy hot dog memory.


Hot dogs are traditionally made from pork and/or beef, spices like garlic and paprika, salt, and preservatives like sodium nitrite. The meat mixture is put into casings (natural casings, which are sheep intestines—yes—or synthetic casings that are removed after cooking to make “skinless” dogs) and cooked. When you buy them at the grocery store, they are actually ready to eat, but most people prefer to cook them again before eating, to heat them up and caramelize the exterior. Hot dogs taste good no matter how you cook them, and we leave that up to you in our recipes. Want to grill the dog? Awesome. Prefer to throw it in a pan on the stove? Fantastic. Whatever makes your skirt fly up is fine by us.


Today, there are many different kinds of hot dogs on the market, and much regional variation. A lot of hot dogs are made by local, often family-owned businesses, and flavors and styles can vary widely from state to state. Here in New England, Kayem Foods, Inc. (maker of Fenway Franks) dogs reign supreme, and in New York, many of the most-loved hot dogs are made by Marathon Enterprises, Inc., owner of Sabrett. In Chicago, the famous Chicago dog is an all-beef, natural casing hot dog. Your local grocery store probably sells a few different local brands of natural-casing and skinless franks, as well as the big national brands like Oscar Mayer, Ball Park, and Boar’s Head.

Hot dog preference is truly subjective; if you don’t already have a favorite, we recommend you try a few different kinds until you find one that you really love. Our recipes will work with any kind of dog, so use your own judgment about skinless versus natural casing. Sometimes you want the snap of the natural casing, and sometimes you don’t.

Any of the recipes in this cookbook can be made with a turkey dog or a veggie dog, too—we don’t roll that way, but you can if you want to!

The recipes in Wieners Gone Wild! are all our own creations, cooked up in our studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts, over many months of experimentation. We intentionally excluded classic regional specialties like the Chicago dog, because recipes for those are readily available in a lot of other places. We wanted this book to be a collection of unique hot dog wonders, or at least new twists on old favorites, and we hope we’ve succeeded.

But to satisfy your curiosity, the following is a quick rundown of how America likes its famous dogs:

CHICAGO DOG: An all-beef hot dog served in a steamed poppy seed bun and blanketed with chopped raw onions, sweet pickle relish, sport peppers (small, green, medium-hot pickled peppers), a pickle spear, tomatoes, yellow mustard, and a sprinkle of celery salt. These are religion in Chicago, but you can sometimes find them outside the Windy City as well.

SLAW DOG: Popular in the South, a slaw dog is topped with a creamy coleslaw that may or may not include chili or barbecue sauce.

RED DOG: As far as we know, you can only find these neon-red dogs in Maine, where they are also known as “red snappers,” due to their natural casings that snap when you bite into them. The color doesn’t affect the taste, and kids love it.

KOSHER DOG: Popular in New York and New Jersey, kosher dogs are all-beef and usually topped with sauerkraut and smeared with mustard.

CHILI DOG: Out West, people like their all-beef hot dogs topped with meat chili, chopped onions, and usually shredded cheddar.


Here at WGW world headquarters, we love a homemade bun—whether it’s a standard yeast roll, a fresh, buttery biscuit, a slab of cornbread, a crisp popover, or a twist of homemade pretzel—you just can’t beat bread you make yourself. That said, more often than not, we’re throwing our wieners onto store-bought rolls, what with the demands of work and family. So we’re giving you our recipes for homemade buns for those times when you really want to crank up the mojo on your wiener-making, but our recipes all have store-bought bun options, too.


We lean toward homemade, in every case: homemade ketchup, homemade mac and cheese, homemade salsa. We lean that way because it all tastes about a hundred times better than the stuff you buy at the store, and we like to cook. But if you don’t care, or if you don’t have the time to cook everything from scratch, we’ve noted store-bought substitutions where appropriate. One thing we do not condone is boxed mixes for baked goods. It is just as easy to mix your own flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt as it is to buy a box—and it tastes better and costs less. If you’d rather use Jiffy cornbread mix than make the unbelievably delicious—and stone simple—recipe provided, that’s your choice. But we hope you’ll try it our way, at least some of the time.


As we leave you to embark on your Wieners Gone Wild! adventures, we hope you discover that, while a simple hot dog with mustard is pretty good, the almighty wiener deserves to go wild every now and then. Have fun!

NOTE: Each hot dog recipe and sub-recipe for toppings and sauces in this book makes enough for eight dogs, unless noted otherwise.





Hot Dog Buns

Is there anything better than homemade bread? No, there isn’t. Unless it’s homemade bread with a hot dog in it! This recipe, inspired by one from King Arthur Flour, makes a tender, soft white sandwich bread. Keep in mind that you might need more or less flour depending on the day’s levels of humidity. Pay attention to the texture of the dough; it should be pretty relaxed and moist, rather than stiff and dry, to ensure tender buns. Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the counter as you knead it.


2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

½ cup warm water

2 cups warm milk (whole or 2% is best)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed

2 teaspoons salt

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 large egg

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt, and flour. (We use a stand mixer to mix the dough, starting with the paddle attachment and switching to the dough hook attachment for the kneading. You can also use a food processor or do it all by hand the old-school way.) Mix the dough until it comes together in a slightly sticky ball, adding more flour a little at a time if it’s too sticky. Switch to the dough hook (if you’re using a stand mixer) or turn the dough out onto a floured work surface (if you’re kneading by hand). Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This will take about 5 minutes in a food processor, 8 to 10 minutes in a stand mixer, and about 10 minutes by hand.

Put the dough into a greased bowl and turn it to coat the entire ball with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide the dough into 18 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, then into a cylinder about 4½ inches in length. Flatten each cylinder in the middle slightly so when it rises it will be gently rounded. Place the cylinders ½ inch apart on a greased baking sheet. (They’ll grow together when they rise, making the classic New England–style soft sides that are so wonderful when buttered and grilled.) We have a special hot dog roll pan that our friends sent us from the King Arthur Flour catalog—you don’t need it, but it makes perfect New England–style rolls every time. If you don’t want New England–style rolls, place them 3 inches apart so they will brown all over.

Cover the baking sheet with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water and brush the buns with the egg wash. Bake the buns for 20 minutes or until they are light brown. Place the buns on a wire rack to cool.

Buns are best on the day they’re baked, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Buttermilk Biscuit Buns

These are classic, fluffy Southern biscuits, perfect for the Soul Dog (page 93) or any wiener with a good sauce that deserves to be mopped up. It’s really important that the butter and buttermilk are cold, since it’s the steam created by the melting butter in the oven that creates the desirable layered texture in a good biscuit. Biscuits are among the easiest breads to make—they come together in about twenty minutes total—so they are a cinch to make at a moment’s notice.


4 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor (or a mixing bowl if you’re doing it by hand).

Add the butter and pulse quickly (or cut it by hand into the flour mixture with two knives or a pastry blender) until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and process until the dough gathers in moist clumps, about 10 quick pulses. If you’re mixing by hand, stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until the mixture forms a moist, sticky dough.


On Sale
May 13, 2014
Page Count
160 pages
Running Press

Holly Schmidt

About the Author

Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn are the co-owners of Hollan Publishing, where they have created and photographed hundreds of nonfiction books, including this one. In their spare time, they cook for all the neighbors. Both authors live in Wenham, Massachusetts.

Learn more about this author