The week 7 entry in the Blue Rooster Food Co. Summer Chef Series is Erik Desjarlais’ (of Weft & Warp) Choucroute Dog. A play on a popular dish in Alsatian cuisine (choucroute garnie), it is easily one of the most satisfying hot dogs offered as part of the series to date.
It is also one of the most generously loaded. The Choucroute Dog is topped with sauerkraut, uber-thin strips of dry-cured sausage, whole grain mustard (from Raye’s) and duck confit. It is garnished with spring onions and fried potato sticks.
Unique to Desjarlais’ execution, the dog is split length-wise, and then seared on the griddle. For me, this was a great throwback to memories of frypan hot dogs my dad would sometimes cook-up when I was a kid on those rare occasions when he was tasked with the cooking. For that reason, the butterflied-approach will also be near and dear to my heart. But I think it must also serve a practical function in that it provides a little more room for all of those toppings, making it a wise choice here. Of course, it is aided in its cause by the return of the standard hot dog bun (toasted), which is substantial enough to accommodate everything without major spillage.
I’m loving so many things about the Choucroute Dog. It is such a clever adaptation of regional French cuisine to what is arguably the most American of foods. And while nothing feels forced or out-of-place, the inclusion of the duck confit and the sausage imbue the hot dog with a sense of rustic decadence. Fun, yet indulgent, it is the type of food that would be perfect serve at a “Game of Thrones” viewing party. (I’ll confess that, in a moment of duck confit-induced madness, I may have imagined myself a gluttonous King Joffrey lavishing these delightful hot dogs upon my simultaneously exuberant and terrorized guests while Erik—chained to a nearby radiator—feverishly cranks them out by the dozen.)
There’s also the fact that we’re dealing with so many big flavors—the sauerkraut, the mustard, the sausage, the duck confit—too much of any one of which could overpower the others. But here, they’re doled-out in perfect proportions. Maybe I’m reaching, but given that part of Erik’s business involves the fabrication of knife rolls, it seemed fitting that savvy knife-work plays a big role in making this hot dog successful.
The Choucroute Dog marks yet another high point in the Summer Chef Series which, sadly, is now more than halfway over. For me, its right up there with the Sloppy Penatzer (week 2) and the Vinland Dog (week 6).
The Choucroute Dog sells for $8 and will be available through Thursday, July 17.