How goes it, boys and girls? As I type this it’s a wondrous Monday holiday. And, because I’m always fond of super-sizing, I took tomorrow off as well. So, I’m in the midst of a big honkin’ four-day weekend. Like I say, wondrous.
I just finished watching the Reds defeat the Phillies 11-1, it’s sunny here (but not super-warm) and there’s a six-pack of one of the best beers in the world in the fridge upstairs. Have you ever had Zombie Dust IPA from 3 Floyds Brewing? Holy shit bulbs! The first time I tried it was at Backyard Ale House in Scranton and was blown away. We don’t see it in stores very often, but Wegmans had it today for $14.49 for six. Rather expensive, but check out the Beer Advocate rating if you don’t trust my word on it.
I’ve also been listening to The Beatles Channel off and on. They’re counting down the top 100 favorite Beatles songs, as chosen by fans. They do it once a year, always over a holiday weekend. Peter Asher is the host and he’s great. He tells stories and drops interesting factoids throughout, that even a big Beatles nerd like myself hasn’t always heard.
So yeah, this has been a really nice day so far. Pass the beer nuts.
In a short while I’ll be up there tending to the grill, cooking hot dogs and hamburgers. And that always makes me happy too. I love the simple burgers and dogs. How can you go wrong? It took a quarter-century or so, but I’ve become very good at manning the grill. Oh, I now turn out some quality charred meats, my friends.
And I have some questions relating to that, if you don’t mind. I’d like to get your thoughts on a few things.
First of all… if you could only choose two, which way would you go? I’d probably go with one of each. I know some people are snobby about the dogs, but I love ‘em. In fact, at any given moment I could launch into a Babe Ruth-style hot dog frenzy that would only end when I blacked out. But I love burgers too. So, I’d have to go with one of each. What about you?
What brand of hot dog do you prefer for home consumption? I think we generally get Nathan’s, but I also see Ballpark Franks occasionally. We were talking about this at work a few days ago and several people mentioned Berk’s. I’m not familiar but am intrigued enough to check it out. Do you have a real preference?
And, what are your go-to hot dog toppings? I have several that I like. Yesterday I had two with mustard, onion, and cole slaw. I also like ‘em with just mustard and onion, and sometimes with mustard and sauerkraut. The classic West Virginia dog is mustard, onion, chili, and cole slaw. If I have all the ingredients I’ll go that way, but it’s rare that I have all four.
I’ve told the story about us being in Florida when I was a kid and seeing a sign outside a restaurant that said ‘We Serve West Virginia Hot Dogs!’ or something along those lines. We were completely confused by this and went inside to investigate. As it turns out… they simply offered slaw as a topping. We had no idea that it was unusual. Everybody ate slaw on their hot dogs, right? Apparently not.
Indeed, even inside the state it’s controversial. Folks up north don’t generally go for the slaw, while it’s popular in the southern part of the state. There’s something called the “slaw line” that dissects West Virginia, and there used to be a sign along the highway where the line supposedly runs. I grew up way down South, deep in slaw country.
Also, what are your go-to burger toppings? I like to pile it on. At home I usually go with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mustard. Occasionally bacon too. When I got to Five Guys I sometimes get all that stuff, plus green peppers. Man, that’s solid. Two popular toppings I avoid: pickles and mayo. I can tolerate a little mayonnaise, but the pickles are a hard no.
I have a pretty good handle on the prep at this point, but feel like I could do better with the buns. Any tips will be appreciated.
UPDATE: Dinner was good, and I’m halfway through Zombie Dust number two. Fantastic!
I’ll see you guys again soon.
I hope you had a great holiday.
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We ate hamburgers and hotdogs on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and today.
If I can only choose two, I also choose one of each. Hamburger and hotdog.
I like my hamburger mustard all the way. The only pickles I’ve ever had on a burger that were off-putting was from Wendy’s. Good God, they tasted like they were soaked in perfume and it filled my whole mouth. Like I’d squirted OFF insect repellent in my mouth. Their repulsive pickles and they’re cold buns (although not on all burgers now) have always made Wendy’s a second or third choice for me.
Hotdogs, I like all sorts of ways. At home I eat them with mustard and nothing else – but the bun and mustard must be warm. Away from home I like chili, cheese, onions, kraut is good, slaw is good. I like Chicago dogs with all the weird shit they put on there, it’s delicious!!
We only buy Nathan’s hotdogs. You’d think that a brand like Hebrew national would be good – with all the kosher requirements and just wholesome ingredients – but they are absolute shit. We used to boil our hotdogs when I was a kid and I think that’s a shitty way to do them. We grill them, heat em in a skillet, or put them under the broiler.
I swear I correct grammatical errors
But apparently not thermal anomalies. You actually pre-heat your mustard? Jesus, Jason, what do you do at the ball game? Ask the vendor to hold the mustard container between his legs for a few minutes? Do you use one of those baby bottle warmers at home? Maybe check the temp with one of those Baby Monitors?
Naah, I’m just flipping you shit. I’m so surprised to see an update out here I just had to jump on the first comment. Go ahead and have your Jewish dogs. And Havah Nagilah while you’re at it. Live and be well . . .
Hava Nagila? Hell, have two. They’re small.
Mustard straight out of the fridge isn’t as good as room temp mustard – y’all try it!
Burnt Usually says
Zombie Dust is very good, but do yourself a favor and get some beer from Hop Butcher For The World. Their NE IPA’s are amazing.
I like my hot dogs with stadium mustard or German mustard generally. Sometimes I skip the bun, but my favorite are these gigantic all beef hot dogs from Gordon Food Service or the all natural casing dogs that my butcher works up the old school way. As for my burgers, cheese, bacon, pickles and mustard for me. I’ve gotten burned too many times on tasteless mushy tomatoes and wilted ass lettuce. If there aren’t bratwurst or sausages, I’m a split down the middle guy too, give me a burger AND a hot dog. I think it’s a universal truth for hefty fellas. And even though I’m in the Buckeye State, if I get a coney dog, I generally order it with mustard, onion, chili AND slaw. Regional lines be damned. Also, as an aside—I know you despise mayonnaise, but it does make a really nice sear on a bun if you throw it on a skillet or a grill. That is also the secret to a killer grilled cheese…sub Mayo for the butter on the outside. Blasphemous I’m sure, but it really does work well.
Nathan’s hot dogs for sure. I’m a chili and cheese gal. Split top buns.
For burgers, I like cheese only I’m a monster I know.
Definitely one of each! I like either mustard or chili and mustard on my hot dogs. We buy the ShopRite brand Black Bear Natural Casing, sometimes Boars Head (expensive) or Nathans. We usually steam them or grill them.
Burger: Cheese and ketchup, sometimes lettuce but only iceberg, a dab of mustard, and on a very rare occasion, onion.
Not sure if I mentioned this, Jeff, but I have to thank you for introducing me to Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. That’s some good stuff!
For your enjoyment, listen to Kenny Dashow on NY’s Q104.3 FM radio – he does Sunday’s Breakfast With The Beatles and he always has cool guests and is a walking encyclopedia on all things Beatles.
Holy shit! Kenny was my best friend in 8th grade (or so) in the early 1970s. He was just Ken in those days. He turned me on to All in the Family, I turned him on to Jean Shepherd. We did radio together on our school’s carrier-current AM. I went on to become an “engineer” and he went on to a radio career: WAPP, WNEW-FM, and I guess now Q104.3; probably others as well. He’s too famous to reply to my emails now, so I guess we’ve lost touch.
WOW, Chill – that is most excellent. He still goes by Ken, Kenny, etc. I just love listening to him tell a story. He adds accents, etc. He told a funny story about Paul McCartney, did the accent, the punch line, the setting. He’s quite a marvel to listen to.
He’s on Monday – Friday 4 – 8 PM I think? And Sundays mornings. .
I bet he likes hotdogs and hamburgers, too!
Grew up in Flint, MI (yea, yeah, yeah… I know) so the only REAL hotdog is a Koegel’s Vienna with ketchup, mustard, Flint-style coney sauce and a little cheese if you have it. Hard pass on the onions. I’ll also go for a regular Koegel’s hot dog, but no need to add to global warming by heating it up; right from the fridge is fine. Even better is eating them frozen. Meatsicle, baby!!
I don’t see any reason to add all that green stuff on a burger. If you want to eat a salad, have a salad. Don’t contaminate a perfectly good burger with all that! Meat, cheese and a healthy dose of A-1 is all a burger needs.
Oh I forgot! In Rhode Island they sell these dogs called Saugy Dogs. OMG are they scrumptious. Next time I get there, that will be in my shopping cart. Unfortunately, our trips have been few and far between but I’m fixing that, I hope, this summer.
Steve in WV says
Hot dogs for me, all the way. Chili (Sauce), Slaw, and Mustard on my Ballparks, thankyouverymuch. I also love Cavalier hotdogs as long as they are grilled. Cavalier is a local brand packed in Huntington.
My least favorite brand has to be those greasy Oscar Meyers. I will never understand the popularity of Oscar Meyer hotdogs.
It’s the Weinermobile – at least it was back in the 50s. No shit, but my dad went to school with Little Oscar in Gary, Indiana in the 30s. Could never abide by hot dogs tho. Always opted for a hamburger when I was a kid.
I lean generally towards burgers but the occasional hotdog is a fun little side trip.
At home burgers get cheese. At Five Guys, cheese, grilled onions and grilled mushrooms. I’ll do the same at home sometimes.
There’s a dive bar near me that is often ranked in national best burger lists. You can have your burger with or without cheese. That’s it. There’s ketchup, mustard and pickles on table and they’ll bring a slice of raw onion if you ask. The place is packed and it’s fantastic.
And I realize I’m living on the edge, but burgers should be rare to medium rare. Anything more and you might as well be eating a charcoal briquette. E. Coli be damned. I’ve done it for 50 years with no ill effects. I figure at this point I could probably eat a light bulb.
I’m good with most hotdogs but my wife demands Ballpark beef hot dogs, so that’s what I get. Also, pre-Covid, Home Depots redhots were really tasty. Hotdogs get mustard.
A properly dressed hotdog gets Detroit Coney chili, onions, and mustard. A couple of those and you’re good for the day.
Tom H says
We lightly butter our buns, on the inside part, and put on top rack of grill for 5 minutes or so. We do this always, is bun perfection.
Tim T says
I do this also-I melt about a quarter stick of butter in the microwave and brush it on the inside of the buns, except pretty heavy. I put them directly on the hot grates and it toasts them up quick. I got rave reviews on Saturday!
Zweigle’s Red Pop Opens with mustard and sport peppers, sometimes fried onions. Top sliced rolls.
Burgers with mayo, ketchup and mustard, must have cheese, sometimes bacon and a slice of sweet onion. If it’s my house burgers I’ll have 2 of those and skip the hotdog.
I’ve been enjoying the occasional Zombie Dust for about a decade thanks to a Chicago relative, and beer snobs say they’ve changed the recipe, and I think that’s true. It’s still a fantastic beer but it used to be an epiphany in a glass. Although it could just be that the competition has vastly improved.
Limey, I don’t cook much, so I was somehow oblivious to the existence of sport peppers. I see Marconi makes a popular brand which I assume you can order directly across the wireless, but what do I know.
I know you’ve been here for decades, and you know how this country works, but every time I hear the word “sport” used as an adjective my mind immediately flashes back to Dan Jenkins, a wonderful Texas author, who enlightened the 1970s with his sports-themed novels including Semi-Tough, Dead Solid Perfect and Limo. His heroes frequently lost wife #1 and/or wife#2 to the remunerative part-time profession of being a “whore-lady”. One of them had to try to rekindle romance with the hero because she was being run out of the business by suburban wives’ habitual engagement in “sport fuckin'”. I’ve never forgotten that description of suburban Texas avocation. Maybe this affects the businesses of old-country whore-ladies as well. I’ve never been to England, but I kind of like the Beatles.
I’ve been to England, ages ago. But I’ve never been to Spain, so I can’t comment on the ladies’ sanity.
John, I think sport peppers get their name from being sold on hotdogs at sporting events (and baseball) rather anything to do with randy Texans. They’re quite hot so would sting I suspect. I buy Vienna brand ones at World Market if you have one near you.
It’s hard to say whether a 10-8 baseball game decided by a walk-off in the bottom of the 11th inning is more or less of a sporting event than a nil-nil football match in a 90 minute drizzle. I guess we remain one nation divided by a common culture except in wartime when other nations are best advised not to fuck with us (as long as you bring Canada along).
With no other data, I’ll take one of each. Hot dogs: Zweigle’s white pop-opens. I think we’ve had this conversation before. If no Zweigle’s are to be had, I’ll take a Ball Park. Either way, minced onions and mustard (yellow or Dijon, as the mood strikes). The ideal burger is medium-rare, with only minimal toppings; it’s beef, not a condiment delivery system.
As for dogs our go-to used to be Oscar Mayer but then they changed the recipe to get rid of nitrates and they use celery salt instead and I don’t know what it is about it but they taste friggin terrible now, I cant stand them. I grew up eating whatever my parents just happened to buy which was usually whatever was cheap so for me I don’t mind ballpark or Kahns, to be honest, it’s just what I was raised with. Burgers are usually pretty simple, I go with mayo and ketchup or ketchup and mustard.
Kahns made a tasty dog back in the day. I haven’t seen them in a while.
Stuart in Oz says
I would go with one of each too, mustard and onions or just chilli on the dog. For burgers I keep em simple and avoid the salad. Look for Sam The Cooking Guy on Youtube – he shows the perfect burger sauce – made from Mustard, Ketchup and Japanese Mayo – damn its good. Keep up the good work Jeff. I’m working up the courage to call the hotline someday soon!
I noticed several mentions of the Coney (Island) dog. But apparently you have to go hundreds of miles from the Coney Island, the place, in order to get one. Just as the New York System is unknown in New York. Wee-yud.
Chill, not so weird. Things get named after the Empire State and the Big Apple that have little intrinsic relationship with them. New York style cheesecake comes to mind; also, if someone walks into a massage parlor and orders a New Yorker, they’re not asking directions to Times Square (I know this only from second hand sources*); the Chrysler New Yorker, a fine car you can drive in the Dakotas; the list is long.
Somebody’s going to Emergency, somebody’s going to jail.
* Second Hand Sources would be a good name for a sexy massage parlor
Burnt Usually says
My girlfriend told me to kiss her where it smells funny…
So I took her to New Jersey
The Qweezy Mark says
Friday Free Update: Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine
My first post-marital barbeque party was a success until the fire.
I’d barbequed a fair amount on my small Weber: burgers and dogs, steaks — even salmon which we ate a lot of in the Great Pacific Northwest in the 50s, 60s and 70s, before you had to cash in your decentralized digital currency in order to purchase a Silver, much less a King for the grill. But at 26 I bought a house and got married; and one of the wedding gifts was a slightly fancy rectangular barbecue with a closing lid with a glass front and a large-capacity rectangular briquette tray under an adjustable-height double grill (so you could have half the grill closer to the coals than the other half). So I invited about 20 friends and family over for a July barbecued rib feed — just a medium size group until I got the hang of barbecuing for large groups.
The only groups for whom I’d previously barbecued ribs was six or seven, and that was on the trusty Weber. It didn’t occur to me to pre-cook the pork ribs in the kitchen oven or to fill the “extra” drip pan the barbecue company had provided with water for the grease to drip into.
Instead of standing over the barbecue with a squirt bottle, I was obliviously making myself a highball in the kitchen when the first call of “fire” came from the back yard. The previous homeowners had built a wooden backstop-looking windbreak on the edge of the patio that towered twenty feet over the barbecue area and threw a lot of shade. A quick look told me that the ribs were fucked, the barbecue was fucked, and if I didn’t get a lot of water on the grease fire the backstop windbreak would be fucked. The flames were towering four or five feet over the top of the barbecue, the glass window had popped out, and most of the barbecue components were melting. Fortunately a hose was connected on the patio. I turned it on full blast and managed to catch a good sized patch of lawn on fire by spreading the burning grease in a nice big semicircle with the spray from the hose. Turned out that sucker was a single-use grill.
So I bought pizza for 20 that July day. It was a full 24 hours before the melted barbecue components were cool enough to pack into the back of my van and haul to the dump.
I bought another barbecue, but never tried to grill large batches of ribs again. Burgers and dogs and steaks sufficed and saved wear and tear (and terror) on the back yard.
I spent a couple years in Philly and a couple years just south of Baltimore and shorter times further south, so I know 107 (the temp at my house yesterday) is no big deal, but virtually nobody in the Great Pacific Northwest has air conditioning except Bill Gates, and I hear he’s busy entertaining young hussies. If you blow a 15 inch fan over a vat of cold water, one of your cats will jump in the water, but it won’t cool anybody else. A tip for the homeowner without A/C.
Hope everybody is well and surviving their own storms and hot streaks.
Perhaps you can find comfort in the words of climate change deniers? Well, it would at least give you something to laugh about. There’s always the wet, frozen washcloths on the neck thing, or holding a glass of ice water between your thighs – tricks learned when living with a black tin roof and no fan or A/C.
Good luck, and stay safe Johnny. Ditto to any others experiencing the heat.
Cold wet compresses on your wrists and behind your knees work, too. All the pressure points will cool you down.
Stay safe everyone. Watch your pets, too.
The cold, west compresses are working pretty well. I look like an extra from “The Mummy”, but I’m cooler. Four or five of the cats have rejected the technique, but we’re still in negotiations. Have you ever negotiated with a cat? They play the slow game, and when you’re hydrating as much as I am, sooner or later you have to head for the bathroom and they win again. I’m not sure, but I might have accidentally got us booted out of the Paris Accords. Again.
Yeah, cats I’ve had have been generally not aggressive, but they are patient if it’s for something they want – like my seat the minute I get up to pee. Some call it the Long Con. It’s an effective negotiating technique.
Jerry in WV says
Has the Surf Report seen it’s last update? I can’t remember it being so long between updates.
Oh, Jerry! I certainly hope not.
Perhaps he’s on hiatus?
Jeff has been casting pods at a furious pace, but as we all know it’s been several weeks since a website update. I get it that’s it’s probably faster and easier for him to record an episode than to write an update, but the website is more convenient for me, the consumer.
Talking is easy; writing is hard. But Jeff is a terrific writer — good enough to be a professional. I miss experiencing what Jeff does best.
Jerry in WV says
Honestly I thought the podcasts might be at least a little humorous because the writing is so good, but it was not to be. That’s OK; nobody does EVERYTHING well, but clearly the writing is good because Jeff works at it. None of the entries over the years is a first draft — there is evidence of edit marks in nearly every paragraph. But you gotta have the basic strokes to create something editable. With regard to writing, Jeff clearly starts with talent and a gifted mind for the written (printed) word.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to monetize blogs. It can be done, but so far the interweb market has been reluctant to pay for the written word, and almost eager to pay for the spoken word. New York Times possibly excepted, but even NYT’s online subscription rate is just a few percent of their former printed edition. Cyberspace, like Philly and downtown Beirut, is a tough place to make a living.
I sincerely wish that you had another outlet.
Phil Jett says
June. Entire month without a written post. And July is half way over. That’s gotta be a first. I miss daily blogs. If I try a podcast and the person’s voice is irritating (Which is a lot) I never come back.