Sunday, October 18, 2015

how to plan the world's best hot dog buffet

One of my absolute favorite parts of Cruz's birthday party spread was the food.  Throwing a baseball-inspired party allowed us to go simple on the spread, but not without a little creativity, of course!  Since one of Cruz's favorite foods in the whole world is hot dogs, I knew it was a no brainer to serve this ballpark signature at his party.  But since a simple hot dog isn't too exciting for the rest of us, I decided to add a little spin and create a tour of the best ballpark hot dogs in America.  It was simple to put together, quite delicious, and one of everyones' favorite parts of the day.  I think we were all pretty surprise with just how good you can make a hot dog taste if you dress it up with a few fun ingredients.

The Set Up:  After I figured out which hot dogs to feature for the spread, I typed up a recipe and strung them from our island lights so they were easy to see and easy to follow.  I found some really cute city map wrapping paper from Paper Source that I used for the table cloth.  That way, I could write directly on the paper with arrows to all the right ingredients.  I ordered these cute hot dog trays from Amazon, and got enough hot dogs to estimate about two per person. 

The preparation:  Beau grilled the hot dogs two hours before the party and I stuck them in a crock pot on the warm setting for the rest of the day.  I read a tip that said to stand the hot dogs up in the crock pot instead of laying them on their sides.  Then, pour just a little water in the bottom to create a steamer so the hot dogs stay warm.  

As far as food prep goes, I tried to pick hot dogs that didn't require a lot of work.  The only ingredients that required prep work were the pulled pork (Beau smoked it a few days before), the bacon (also cooked the day before), the mac and cheese (served this as a side with the hot dogs, too), and the coleslaw (went the easy route with a bag and a bottle of dressing).  I also caramelized my own onions the night before, but you wouldn't have to.  

The main event:  It was fun to see what everyone chose to do.  Most stuck with an already-established stadium dog, although a few of us made up our own concoction.  Here were our five stadium dog options:

1.  The Rocky Dog

-hot dog and bun
-swiss cheese
-thousand island dressing

2.  The Chicago Dog

-hot dog and bun
-roasted peppers
-green relish
-a dash of celery salt

3.  Twins' Big Dog

-hot dog and bun
-mac and cheese

4.  Fenway Frank

-hot dog and bun
5.  KC Bbq Dog
-hot dog and bun
-pulled pork
-bbq sauce 

We served the hot dog buffet with some of my mom's famous potato salad, easy nachos and cheese, and cupcakes.  Everyone had so much comparing hot dogs and making up their own stadium dogs that we decided this would be a perfect super bowl party (or maybe Cubs' World Series party?).  Fun, easy, and delicious, and the perfect way to dress up one of America's favorites.  

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