Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dogs & Fries – Finally Pretty Weather

Monday was a beautiful day in East Tennessee at Almost Heaven South, with cobalt blue skies and temps in the 50’s. Bev, her sis, and Alex headed off to Pigeon Forge about 10am for a big day of shopping and left me in charge of the pets and dinner. We had already agreed on grilled hot dogs and Bev got a container of the requisite sauce out of the freezer. You may remember that where I came from we put sauce and not chili on our dogs. Chili is something else altogether - has beans and lot’s of tomatoes in it and is eaten from a bowl with a spoon, whereas the sauce it finally ground hamburger cooked in water with spices and maybe a little tomato and no beans (heaven forbid). I know both chili and dogs are very regional and up for lots of debate and I may be just describing a few counties in northern WV - so let's get on to the main topic.

I had watched a show on Food Network the other night where the network’s cooks took you to the place that served their favorite food. For Bobby Flay, it was french fries from a place in NYC and since they looked so good and we hadn’t had them homemade in awhile, I decided this was the perfect side for the hotdogs. For awhile, I’ve been cooking them as they described:

Peel and cut Russet potatoes into fries.
Soak in cold water to remove some starch – they did it for a day, but I only had 3 hours for this.
Blanch in oil (I use 325*) until they are cooked through and limber but not brown or crispy (mine were big so I did 7 minutes), remove, drain and cool. You can save some and finish cook next day if you like.
Recook at a higher temp oil (I use 375 *) until brown and crispy (3-5 minutes).
Remove and season with salt.

About 5 pm, I blanched them on the gas grill side burner (keeping down the stovetop mess again), put them on a wire rack and let them cool about an hour. This is the pan of raw fries that have been draining about 30 minutes.

I used a batch size of our large wire basket dipper.

This is one batch out and the next one ready to go.

Sorry about the blur - I had the fry in one hand and camera in the other - but this is the way the blanched ones sholud behave.

This is my set up, Chris, and I'm using the grill for a table today.

I could put in a table, but I'd have to give up the corner chairs where Bev likes to sit with me and sip wine when I'm grilling, it's just Sweetie today.

This is the batch of blanched taters - the brown stuff on them is the crispings left over from the fish fry, because I forgot to strain the oil - I didn't charge anyone extra for these.

Then I fired up the grill (not worth using the charcoal Weber for a few dogs) and grilled the dogs, and at the same time, final cooked the fries on the side burner.

Available hot dog toppings were tomato, onion and mayo for the mother-in-law (not sure how she came up with that for a dog) and onion, dill pickles, shredded cheddar, sauce and mustard for the rest of us. Here's my plate which included some great slaw that Bev whipped up after she got home from shopping. I eat my slaw as a side rather than a topping - Bev does the opposite. Nice thing about a hotdog is the endless opportunities for variations - I may try a BBQ dog next time.

Everything turned out great and the fries were perfect - I know they were good as Alex ate all of hers and said they were almost as good as McDonalds.

Have a great day and I enjoy your comments and suggestions.



  1. Yum Larry.... The potatoes do look fabulous.. I'm afraid that I'd want 2nd helpings of them!!!! ha.. And NO catsup on my fries please!!!! I like them just the way they are...

    The 'dogs' look good also--but I'm like your Honey. I like my slaw on my dog!!!

    Sounds delicious... When is dinner????

  2. I love chili and onion on my dogs! And the huge fries look good enough to make me write bad checks . . . almost. :) nicely done!

  3. i like your style bigdude ~ take a simple food and kick it up to notches unknown! hotdogs and fries don't get any better than that right there. good job.

  4. This is the only way I'll eat a hot dog.... and your fries look better than McDonalds, in my opion!

  5. Bev really knows how to eat her dogs:) I like mine carolina style like that (slaw, chili sauce, mustard, onions).

    And those fries look fantastic!!!!!

    There's never table/shelf space in our outdoor kitchens, ha ha.


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