Culinary no-no #565

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

May is designated National Barbecue Month, and Memorial Day is the unofficial start of barbecue and grilling season. It’s the second-most-popular time of the year for Americans to fire up the grill. (The Fourth of July holiday is No. 1.) The season runs through Labor Day, but our family like many others grills year-round.

Generally tenderloin prices jumped 20 cents a pound two weeks ago and 50 cents a pound last week. So you might consider hot dogs this weekend.

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How about some hot dog etiquette from the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council.

Established in 1994 by the American Meat Institute, the Council serves as an information resource to consumers and media on questions related to quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages. The Council also celebrates hot dogs and sausages as iconic American foods.

It is funded by contributions from hot dog and sausage manufacturers and those who supply them with equipment, ingredients and services.


Put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. Always “dress the dog,” not the bun.

Condiments should be applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper.


Serve sesame seed, poppy seed and plain buns with hot dogs. Sun-dried tomato buns or basil buns are considered gauche with franks.


Use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth when eating a hot dog. Paper is always preferable.


Eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.


Use paper plates to serve hot dogs. Every day dishes are acceptable; china is a no-no.


Take more than five bites to finish a hot dog. For foot-long wiener, seven bites are acceptable.


Leave bits of bun on your plate. Eat it all.


Fresh herbs on the same plate with hot dogs over-do the presentation


Use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18.Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.


Condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog should be licked away, not washed.


Use multi-colored toothpicks to serve cocktail wieners. Cocktail forks are in poor taste.


Send a thank you note following a hot dog barbecue. It would not be in keeping with the unpretentious nature of hot dogs.


Bring wine to a hot dog barbecue. Beer, soda, lemonade and iced tea are preferable.


Ever think there is a wrong time to serve hot dogs.

Got all that?

Now, what about dining out for hot dogs?

An article caught my eye the other day listing the best place in each state for hot dogs. I’m always skeptical when the word “best” and especially “perfect” is used to describe food or drink. So I just had to explore.

For Wisconsin awarded the honor to Vanguard in Bay View that sounds like a cool place.

The basic hot dog is all beef / smoked paprika / mustard.

Put me down for the Cheddarwurst: pork / beef / smoke / Hook’s 2 yr. cheddar. Better yet, the bacon-wrapped variety.

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Or the Veal Weisswurst: (VEAL / LEMON / PARSLEY) with bavarian sweet mustard / grilled onions / pretzel roll.

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The offerings are extensive and creative.

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There are a million or more ways to dress up a dog or sausage.

But as we’ve mentioned in the past, sometimes you can go too far.

Vanguard is a fine choice for best hot dog in Wisconsin. I only wish, in telling the world about it, wouldn’t have highlighted the menu item they did.

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That is the Thai Breaker. Love the name. But I’d never order this one.

You’ve got a pork sausage with lemongrass, ginger and cilantro topped with peanut sauce, carrots and lettuce.

Sorry, guys. You’re in Bay View, not Brady Street.

But Vanguard has lots of great options. Good for them, and congratulations.

BTW, my choice for best hot dog in Wisconsin…

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is located not far from Vanguard.

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