Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hot dogs: reinventing an American classic

Who would have thought that an emblematic American food – the hot dog – would become a hybrid Hispanic menu item?

This classic snack found at baseball games is no longer a torturous,tasteless boiled frankfurter wrapped in bread as white as a ghost and sprinkled with mustard and ketchup.

That has changed – a lot. The Hispanic-style hot dog is as colorful as a repertoire of excuses from a repentant husband.

“Spicy, tasty and very different from what people are used to,” said Luisa Contreras, who takes the orders at a mobile food stand in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood. “It has everything on it. It is a full meal.”

This version includes a spicy sausage, sliced ​​fresh tomatoes, onions,j alapeños and a covering of mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup. However, its special touch – “what makes us different from others” – Contreras said, is a “chile de árbol as a garnish.”  This is in addition to some bits of bacon that give it a crunchy texture.

For José Ledezma, a cook at a mobile food stand usually found in eastTulsa, the best hot dog is from the Mexican state of Sonora.

“The bread is a bolillo type of roll,” said Ledezma. He pointed out that the wiener is wrapped in bacon,“but that takes a long time, so I don’t do that part.” The dish is garnished with tomatoes and onions cut into squares. “And two chiles from the grill.”

Ramiro Hernández has a hot dog cart in far southern Bixby, and for three years he has been developing what he considers the best hot dog. “I don’t use store-bought sauces; I make all of them. That is why I am sought out,” he said, speaking in the parking lot of a well-known building supply store. “Plus, I add lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeños.” Another feature of his recipe is that the bread is toasted.

 Maybe hot dogs will not make it to a bullring or be the perfect appetizer for a game of dominoes, but in some way they have been reinvented and adapted to the Hispanic palate.

Tell me where you come and I will tell you what kind of hot dog you eat
As one would expect, Latin Americans have not only transformed a disht hat is claimed by many creators, but whether they are European or American,there are versions that have made ​​the hot dog part of Spanish cuisine. Thus one finds the choripán, an Argentinean version.

“It is an appetizer that is served while waiting for the grilled meat,”said Olga Fugazza, a former Buenos Aires resident who has lived in Tulsa for 14 years. She was shopping in a store in south Tulsa that carries South American products. “It is not frankfurters that are used, but chorizo sausages – beef or pork – cooked on the grill.”

Fugazza said the bread is a country type roll, like the Mexican bolillo.The meat is cut in the middle, giving it the name of “butterfly,” and the sauce is the classic South American  chimichurri.
The Venezuelans have invented some french fries, tiny and thin, that top their hot dogs.

“Besides the three typical sauces – mustard, mayonnaise and ketchup –they come with onion, cabbage and potatoes,” said Estella Suárez, who was with Fugazza buying snacks.

“And there are others that come with cheese, shredded carrots and a few kernels of corn. It is the favorite after a long night of partying.” This version uses the Vienna sausages,which are thinner and usually boiled. The bread is the one usually used for hot dogs.

Photos by Juan Miret

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