It’s St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, which means it’s time to run those snakes out of Ireland or maybe you can just get them all drunk. Let’s face it, you’re going to be a mess and you’re going to need something to soak it all up. Your life doesn’t have to be in shambles, however, why not eat something horrific in the best way possible? Good luck. – ed.
Words and recipe by: Kyle Martin
Pennsylvania – A state that was built on the backs of strong willed men. To the east, in the mountains of Scranton and Wilkes Barre men plunged deep within the earth’s crust in search of coal, shaking hands with the devil each day as they worked in the pits of hell. To the west in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, similar men of both faith and fortitude were enduring a hell of their own, fighting the fiery furnaces of the steel mills, their bodies soaked with sweat at the end of each tiresome day.
Side by side the men from the east and west appeared cut from the same cloth, covered in the soot of their labors. Steel and coal were not the only things being forged and mined. For men were being molded with a look of confidence defined by the lines on their face and a determination in their eyes that only comes after working in hell on Earth twelve hours a day, their stories chiseled within the callouses and blisters on their hands. One man between the the east and west saw those hands; he imagined a chili dog clasped within them and the world has never been the same. Peter “George” Koufougeorgas put the railroad town of Altoona, Pennsylvania on the map with his “Texas hot dog” at his aptly named restaurant “Texas Hot Dogs”. Mr. Koufougeorgas obviously did not like to go crazy with names, however his blue collar Texas style hot dog, now commonly known as a chili dog, spread to the eastern and western sides of Pennsylvania and eventually across the nation.
Chili dogs are now sold out of stands, shacks, street vendors, and vary from region to region. In Charm City they use a “gravy” chili to cover the dog. Connecticut dogs are topped with sauerkraut, onions and chili. Michigan uses an all meat chili, diced yellow onion, and yellow mustard, on their dogs. Regardless of regional variance, chili dogs are definitely shitty food. This is one of the few foods that I will make where it actually looks like someone took a dump on top of it.
Step 1 – Avoid Bar S at All Costs!
Start with your hot dog. If you really want a shitty hot dog go with Bar S brand. Their packaging is covered with the slogans, “Only the best is branded Bar S“, “Quality, Taste, Value“, “America’s Favorite“. It’s clear they’re trying to compensate for something. I’ll go ahead and guess that it’s their hot dogs. At seventeen cents per dog something must be up. When I was in college I bought some Bar S dogs at Wal Mart once. They were on sale for sixty-nine cents (for eight) and were the worst hot dogs I’ve ever had. For this meal I went ahead and spent a little extra on Ballpark Franks, a hot dog that doesn’t need to brag about how good it is. Sometime you’ve got to treat yourself to a slightly less disgusting hot dog.
Step 2 – Stick your Dog in the Microwave
Food preparation is not absolutely crucial in this situation as hot dogs come pre-cooked, so unlike a lot of shitty foods that do better in the toaster oven, you can put them in the microwave for about forty seconds and they’ll turn out just fine. Once the hot dog is finished cooking, dice it up evenly into cubes. Look at that! It doesn’t even appear to be a hot dog anymore. Tell your guests it’s weird parts of the pig and watch their eyes light up.
Step 3 – “You Sendin’ The Wolf?”
The grocery store has a number of pre-made, canned chili. Take your pick. They’re all shitty, so you can’t go wrong. I went with Wolf Brand Chili which has no beans and is an “Authentic Texas Recipe”, just like George Koufougeorgas used to make! I I have a feeling the FDA isn’t double checking the authenticity of this “Texas recipe” so go ahead and tell your guests, “It’s an old secret family recipe”. That’s what a lot of these cans say anyway. Who cares if it’s not your family recipe. Say what you will about the south being backwards and stupid, but families down there have their priorities straight. GUARD THE FAMILY’S SECRET CHILI RECIPES AT ALL COST!
Step 4 – My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun!
Let’s not call these buns; we don’t want Sir Mix-A-Lot coming to dinner and dicking our food* and you’re not a street vendor so step it up. Remove the top half of the bun, cut in half and toast it. Tell your guests this is an inverted crostini. I don’t even know what that means and they won’t either. I made it up. When they try to Google it, they’ll realize they’re trying something completely revolutionary. After that, smear ketchup and mustard down each side of the plate for an artistic flare.
Step 5 – Add the Onions
Next chop up an onion and spread it across the center of the plate. Red onion is great for adding a little color to this masterpiece and distracting from that barf under the crostini.
Step 6 – Finish it off
Finally add the “ham hock” to the end of the plate opposite the crostini and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. At this point your guests mouths will be watering like Pavlov’s dog. Just present it to them. Let them take it in before they eat it. Keep in mind, this is everything they could want in a meal:
- It appears fancy, but in reality costs about a dollar.
- They have to smear everything together with the bun, so it’s a pain in the ass to eat.
- It gives them the opportunity to let their pretentiousnous shine by saying things like, “I think the deconstructed chili dog will allow the fattiness of the pork and the acidity of the onion to harmonize in my mouth” and “I always try to use all parts of the pig. It’s out of appreciation of the Native Americans. You know I just think it’s unfair how they’ve been treated and I do my best to pay a sort of culinary homage if you will by using all of the pig.“
- It hearkens back to the days when a hot dog was a blue collar staple. Pretentious people love eating blue collar food in an obnoxious way!
Just as they’re ready to dig in make this chili dog even more pretentious by presenting it to their little white dog who has been confined to a handbag the entire evening. The dog will have no idea what to do! “How the hell to I eat this? Is this even dog food?” Nope it’s shitty food made pretentious.