For some deep-seated, mysterious, psychological reason, I’ve always thought of July as the lamest month of the year. All 31 days scream “ultimate suck” to me. Maybe I’m just cranky because it’s even hotter with the super bonus of humidity. That said, there are also really good things about July. It’s still summer, and there are a whole bunch of sales going on. Another point in July’s column is the chili cheese dog.
There is no food that so completely represents a month like the chili cheese dog represents July. It’s a mess trying to eat one, the ingredients are bound to give you bad breath, and meat sweats—yet they are really yummy and easy to make, so all the other stuff becomes irrelevant. They’re appropriate for events ranging from family dinners to potluck pool parties. The only thing they don’t work with is white.
Even if wildfire alerts are going off like crazy and it is strictly verboten to use a grill where you live, you can still pull off this amazingly delicious mess.
Chili Cheese Dogs
8 hot dogs
8 hot dog buns
1 pound ground beef
½ cup chicken broth
1 medium onion, finely diced
¼ lb bacon, in small pieces
1 cup canned tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp paprika
½ tbsp cayenne
1 tbsp honey
1 ½ tbsp chili powder
Salt, to taste
Red onion, finely diced, for garnish
Shredded cheddar, for garnish
1. Begin by frying the bacon bits on until they begin to change color from slightly pink to brownish red. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until they become translucent and slightly brown.
2. Add the meat, stirring often and vigorously, until it is completely broken up into small chunks. Let brown, stirring occasionally.
3. When the meat is completely browned, add the broth, tomatoes, spices, and honey. Stir until combined.
4. Let simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if the chili gets dry.
5. Heat up the hot dogs, either in a pan or on a grill.
6. Toast the buns, if desired.
7. Assemble dogs by adding a large spoonful to each hot dog and topping off with fresh onion and cheese.