Hot Dogs rank right up there Hamburgers as the favorite summer food. However, while people often take a homemade hamburger seriously, the hot dog tends to be thought of as something inexpensive and lacking in sophisticated flavor. It's this reason that I generally don't serve hot dogs at cookouts. I prefer something better in the bun, for instance, sausage.
There are two schools of thought on the "sausage in a bun" campus. First, there is the German school of bratwursts, beerwursts, and related sausages. Next, is the use one of my favorites, Hungarian Hot Dogs. These beauties are very similar to Polish Sausage or Kielbasas but have a bit more flavor to them.
If you were ever a fan of the television show M*A*S*H, you might remember that Max Klinger frequently longed for Tony Packo's Hungarian Hot Dogs. Well, Tony Packo's is a real place in Toledo and they have been dishing out some of the best Hot Dogs in the world. These days you can have these hot dogs shipped right to your door.
If you happen to be one of the world's 2 billion people who don't eat pork, you are in luck. There are a lot of hot dog variations out there that are as good as the original. Sausages made from turkey, beef and chicken are loaded with flavor and in some instances superior to their pork counterparts. You can usually find these available in local health food stores or specialty meat markets. The kosher hot dog king, Hebrew National, now has a wide range of kosher hot dog alternatives including polish sausages and knockwursts and are available in most grocery stores.
There are as many ways to top off a hot dog as there are toppings for hamburgers. In Chicago, hot dogs are prepared in this order: yellow mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, peppers, and celery salt. I like a thick layer of sauerkraut, onions, and hot and spicy mustard. And few things can make a meal out of a hot dog like a heavy dose of chili. However, start out with a good dog and you'll end up with a tasty morsel that no one can refuse.