A few weeks ago, we devoted this blog to hot dogs and wine — an unusual pairing, to be sure, but one that can be pulled off by matching the wine primarily to the topping: mustard, onions, relish and so on.
Of course, as any hot dog aficionado knows, there are not only personal preferences, but regional variations. What they might not tell you is that every one of them can be paired with wine.
Let’s take a look at three of those regional favorites today, and we’ll examine a few others later on…
* Chicago Dog — This iconic Windy City favorite is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish (you’ve never seen anything so green!), pickle spear, tomato wedges, pickled sport peppers and sea salt, served on a poppy seed bun.
Wine suggestions: When you’re dealing with food that is salty and spicy, a high-acid red wine with lots of fresh, tart fruit flavor is called for. The answer: Beaujolais, or any other rendition of Gamay. The acid level can be particularly high with Beaujolais Nouveau, traditionally the first wine of any vintage that is released to the public.
* Sonoran Dog — While it originated in Hermosillo, Mexico, this hot dog since has migrated to the border and big cities of Arizona, with minor variations. The basic toppings are bacon, beans, grilled onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, cream sauce, mustard and jalapenos.
Wine suggestions: German Riesling, Alsatian Pinot Blanc, rosé-style wines or lighter, fruity reds are ideal pairing partners because they cut the smoke and richness, yet also complement the hot dog. The jalapenos can be problematic if they’re especially spicy; if that’s the case, chill down the wines a little longer to help cool off your palate.
* Coney — In downtown Detroit, there are two “warring” hot dog makers, one called American Coney Island and the other dubbed Lafayette Coney Island. Both have the same specialty, and locals simply refer to the dog — with chili, onions and mustard toppings — as the Coney.
Wine suggestions: Whether you prefer white wine or red, there are choices for you. A dry German Riesling would be the choice for white wine fans, while a Chilean Merlot would be a sublime pick for red wine lovers. An Argentine Malbec also would work well.
Happy hot dogging… and wine drinking!