Monday, February 9, 2009

Sonoran hot dogs

What you are about to see may offend you.

I'll preface by saying I just watched Anthony Bourdain's "Food Porn" episode on "No Reservations." In one scene, he's sitting with Momofuku Bar's David Chang, and Bourdain asks Chang about his guilty food pleasures. "I'll start," Bourdain offers, immediately launching into a cuss-word strewn rave about KFC's macaroni and cheese. I agree. I'd often stop there before culinary school classes for a cup of it as dinner. Chang admits that he likes that mac 'n' cheese, too, but really loves Chicken McNuggets with sweet and sour sauce.

This exchange reminded me to post one of my own favorite guilty pleasures--and I have a lot, from Spam to Ramen to Arby's potato cakes. Hot dogs front the group, though. They're often not meat, but meatS. They're rich in sodium and calories, and low in nutritional value. And I love 'em. (Bourdain loves Chicago dogs, as do I, and he even goes to far as to say Chi-dogs are even better than his hometown's, NYC dogs.)

I once read an article on Serious Eats about America's regional hot dog styles, and for the Southwest, they singled out the Sonoran hot dog. After that, I was on a mission to find one. Alas, hot dog vendors are mobile, constantly, or else down in Tucson. Despair was short-lived when I found a nightly setup on the southwest corner of Indian School and 20th St.: Nogales Hot Dogs (you can see my review on the linked Yelp page).

Sonoran hot dogs from Nogales Hot Dogs
A "naked" Sonoran hot dog, wrapped in bacon, dressed with chopped tomato, onion, and pinto beans, mayo (so underrated--call it aioli if it will make you feel better), and served in an amazingly soft bolillo bun.

Sonoran hot dogs from Nogales Hot Dogs
From naked, you can dress your bun with an assortment of condiments that the Nogales people keep on ice--cotija cheese, guacamole, red and green salsa, cheddar, relish, jalapenos, canned mushrooms, sliced black olives--you can have it your way, and there are dozens, probably hundreds of ways to have it. You can even get just a plain bacon-wrapped dog. I'm not sure if they offer the dogs without bacon--they precook the dogs in bacon at a separate certified kitchen since the inclusion of bacon introduces a "danger factor."

As I described in my Yelp review, the goal is to build the perfect bite: flavors, smells, textures, temperatures, all their complexity introduced separately at first before melting together perfectly. A tip: Layer the "lightweight" stuff under the heavier condiments to prevent flyaways, open wide, and chomp 'n' nom away. Experiment, play, and have fun. After all, some wise guy (or wise man) once said that the goal is one thing, but it's the journey that matters!

2 comments:

Kitt said...

Wow, the naked hotdog doesn't look very bare! Everything's better with bacon, I say. I'd love to try one of these.

Julie said...

Kitt, if you ever get a chance, jump on it! Even if it's not for you, you'll at least be able to say that you tried it. ;)