Wrapped with bacon and topped with sautéed onions, jalapenos, and an assortment of sauces, Mexican-style hot dogs are a common street snack in California. People often call these savory flavor bombs “dangerous dogs.” They are very popular in Los Angeles and a must-have at sporting events.
The story of how hot dogs became a Californian street food classic begins in the Mexican state of Sonora, in the city of Hermosillo. By the 1950s, innovative Mexican chefs had added their own regional touches to the classic American dish, which had migrated to Mexico from the United States. Their invention was the Sonoran dog, a meal with a kaleidoscope of ingredients, including a hot dog wrapped in bacon, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, onions, mustard, salsa, Mexican crema, and roasted chili peppers, all placed into a huge Mexican bolillo bread. This delicacy later returned to the United States and is especially popular in Arizona.
There is no clear timeframe for the migration of Sonoran hot dogs to Los Angeles. As Mexicans arrived in Los Angeles, a significant number of them created food carts. The hot dog was an obvious choice as a street meal because it can be prepared with inexpensive materials and has cheap startup costs. However, modifications were made to the original recipe for the Sonoran dog.
While Los Angeles-style hot dogs retained the bacon wrap and other elements, many condiments, such as pinto beans, were eliminated. This is likely due to the significantly smaller size of the standard American hot dog bun compared to the bolillo roll, which was difficult for many sellers to get at the time.
A Street Food Staple
In contrast to the hot dogs served by New York street vendors, which are usually boiled, Mexican hot dogs are always cooked on a griddle. The aromas of bacon fat and onions emanating from these carts are a fantastic marketing technique, luring all passersby. Typically, street vendors prepare numerous hot dogs on a griddle with a heap of onions and peppers (jalapenos or serranos). Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, crema, and even fresh cilantro are used as condiments.
As a form of street cuisine, Mexican-style hot dogs can be found at sporting events, busy intersections, clubs, and even parking lots in California. In addition, these hot dog carts are unregulated and potentially illegal, per the California Department of Health. However, this has not prevented these hot dog vendors from providing a popular late-night snack, especially after a few beers.
Mexican Style Hot Dog
Brian Duffy, a native of Philadelphia, is a television personality, a culinary consultant, and a chef. In the famous Spike series Bar Rescue, he travels the country assisting failing taverns and eateries. Chef Duffy, a culinary genius, attended The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College and worked for James Beard Award-winning Chef Jean Marie LaCroix at The Four Seasons in Philadelphia while attending The Restaurant School. Chef Duffy founded “Duffified Experience Group” in 2012, a consultancy service for smaller restaurant and bar owners.
- 4 hot dogs (Feltmans preferred)
- 4 Martins Potato rolls
- ¼ cup Queso Anejo or Cotija, grated or crumbled
- 1 cup chorizo (save fat)
- Thinly sliced jalapeños for garnish
- 1 cup heirloom tomato, small diced
- 1 small jalapeño, minced
- .25 cup onion, minced
- 1 tbsp cilantro, minced
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp oregano, minced
- Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
For Lime Crema
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1.5 tsp lime juice
- Dash Valentina Hot Sauce
- To make pico, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 2-plus hours to allow flavors to develop.
- To make lime crema, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Place in refrigerator.
- Place hot dogs in a pot of hot water until ready for use.
- In a sauté pan, cook chorizo until done. Set aside and save the grease.
- In a pan or grill, cook hot dogs on all sides to desired char. Set aside.
- Toast buns quickly in chorizo grease. Set aside.
- Place some cheese on each bun. Then, place a hot dog on top.
- Top hot dog with chorizo, more cheese, and pico. Drizzle lime crema over everything.
- Garnish with cilantro & thinly sliced jalapenos
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