Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Texas Hot Weiners

Just when you thought I'd abandoned this project, I'm back! I've had a tough time this summer coming up with recipes that wouldn't go to waste if I made them for myself, hence the delay. More on that later.

This is one of those recipes that may only appeal to people who've grown up with it, though I don't think it's too far off the beaten path. Wikipedia, if it's to be believed, claims that the Texas Hot Weiner was invented in Altoona, PA in 1918 and in Paterson, NJ in 1920. I can't speak to that, but I can say that I've been eating these hot dogs since I was a kid, and now that I live in New Jersey and only get back to York about once a year, I'd completely forgotten about them. Until I was in town a week and a half ago, that is.


I remember going for these when I was small, and then a hiatus period until I was in high school and college. During the summers, I'd join my grandparents for lunch at any of a number of local eateries. Sometimes, the phone would ring and I'd hear my grandfather's voice, without bothering to say hello: "Would you like to go for a Texas Hot Weiner today?" Almost invariably, the answer was yes, and we'd make our way to the Famous Restaurant on West Market Street in York. The place was always a hole in the wall, reminiscent of decades gone by (probably starting in the 50s, from the look of the decor, which I'm sure hasn't changed in years). That area of W. Market's not great, but Grandpa would drive us in there in his white Cadillac, manage to parallel park it, and we'd head in for one of the least expensive lunches in the universe. It was more than a little strange to go there with my parents this last time, but the place hasn't changed at all. I'm not even sure that the menus have been updated--you can still order a Texas Hot Weiner for all of $1.60. (Your drink is $1.30, for comparison purposes.) The Famous has a reputation for making the best ones in town.

So just what is this thing? It's a hot dog, sliced almost in half, filled with yellow mustard, chili (hot dog chili, so no beans) and onions. That's it. I've never made them before tonight, but it really is as simple as it sounds, so rather than an actual recipe, I'll give you steps with pictures.

1. Slice the hot dogs almost in half, and fry them up. Slicing them first allows them to hold the toppings better.









2. Add mustard, and chili on top (you can almost see the mustard underneath here). I used Hormel's chili without beans. I think whatever the Famous uses (which may be their own recipe) is better, but the Hormel worked pretty well, too. Add onions, and you should have something that looks like the photo up top.

As a warning, these are messy, messy hot dogs. Do not attempt without napkins and a fork--you will quite likely need both!


I have two more delicacies in line for the next few weeks: lest you fear that there'll be no more recipes, I'm planning to make milk pie sometime in the next week, and for Labor Day, one of my very favorite of Grandma's recipes: her famed kidney bean salad, which I can just about guarantee isn't like any other bean salad you've ever had. Stay tuned!

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