April 8, 2009 --
Baseball season is officially underway: the White Sox played their weather-delayed home opener on Tuesday at "the Cell"; the Cubs take the field at Wrigley next Monday. And what goes best with baseball? Hot dogs, of course! Even if you don't have tickets to the ballpark, you can enjoy a baseball dinner at home ? before or during the game. Chef Catherine De Orio of Ball Park Franks has come up with the perfect menu. While the weather is not yet perfect, she suggests firing up the grill for the main course. She has some recipes, along with tips on grilling and hot dog etiquette. Grilling tips Know thy grill - Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil or use cooking spray before heating to prevent food from sticking and to ease clean-up Get the "smoky" flavor - If you prefer your grilled meats to have a smoky taste, keep the grill covered while cooking Don't lose the juice - Use tongs, rather than a fork to gently turn franks, and handle as little as possible. DEFINITELY DO NOT CUT THE HOT DOG. Also, avoid pushing down or overturning the meat or you will squeeze out the natural juices and flavor. Use lump charcoal - This form of charcoal is very pure and clean, and there are no foreign substances or impurities that will alter the flavor of your franks. Allow at least 30 minutes for the coals to reach the proper glowing white-ash stage before you begin grilling. A few mesquite chips will bring terrific flavor to anything on the grill Think safety - Keep your grill away from shrubbery, paper products and other flammable objects, and be sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy Don't overcook!!
Hot Dog Etiquette Do not put toppings between the hot dog and the bun - always "dress the dog," not the bun
- Condiments should be applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper Do not use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth when eating a hot dog -- paper is always preferable - paper napkins AND paper plates Do eat hot dogs on buns with your hands - utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns Do not put ketchup on a hot dog after the age of 18 Do lick off condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog - do not wash Do not ever think there is a wrong time to serve hot dogs
Chicago Style Hot Dog
Caramel Apple Dip
Beer Battered Onion Rings
Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Fries with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce