I’ll be honest — National Hot Dog Month isn’t a traditionally celebrated Caramelized holiday — but this year, I was asked to develop a more “on-brand” version of the American summer classic. If you know me, you know that the bun is just as important as the filler. Good-quality bread is essential to me, for a burger or sandwich or basic piece of toast. Thus, for my hot dog recipe, I opted for crispy pretzel buns. The toppings are French onion-inspired, pairing gooey gruyere with caramelized onions. A grainy mustard is gorgeous to pair. Next time you’re hosting the cookout, wow your guests with extra attention to detail—the toppings—and prepare to be complimented for weeks.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced
Salt + pepper, to taste
8 kosher beef hot dogs
8 pretzel hot dog buns
4 tablespoons butter
1 8-ounce block gruyere cheese, grated
Grainy mustard, to garnish
4 sprigs fresh thyme, to garnish
1. In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until onions full caramelize, about 15 minutes. At the end of cooking onions, season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, in a large stovetop grill pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add hot dogs and grill, leaving untouched, for 4 minutes (or until grill marks show). Flip and continue to cook. Remove from stove and keep warm (with a piece of foil or in a warming pan in the oven).
3. In same grill pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Place four buns, open faced, in grill pan to toast. Repeat with remaining butter and buns.
4. To assemble, turn on oven broiler and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one hot dog in a bun, followed by a generous pinch of onions. Lay onto baking sheet and continue with all hot dogs. Sprinkle grated gruyere atop the onions. Broil in the oven until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme. Serve with grainy mustard.