TDF Best Chili-Cheese Dog Ever

Like the title implies – these Chili-Cheese Dogs are to die for delicious. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m a little dense – who would have thought one simple little change in how I’ve made my chili-cheese dogs could make all the difference in the world.

Okay, gotta use your favorite chili – that goes without saying. Be in from a good deli; from a can or leftover chili from a big pot – whatever works for you. If I don’t have leftovers; then I always reach for the can of Dennison’s Hot Chili. It’s a personal thing – my favorite brand of “canned” chili.

Next, gotta use good dogs – after all a dog is only as good as the dog. We like Nathan’s or Hebrew National All Beef. Costco makes a decent foot-long dog. Whatever your favorite dog happens to be, that’s the dog for you.

While some people might consider chopped onion “optional”, in our house sweet chopped onions are a must – especially when the dog is smothered in chili. Who can resist chili with a big handful of raw, chopped onions?

Finally, good quality buns – unless you like your chili-cheese dog on a grilled bun, nice, fresh, soft buns are always the best. Sourdough buns are also nice, especially if your dog is a big, fat puppy. (And to think, I was in San Francisco over the weekend – coulda, shouda, woulda picked up some sourdough bread – best bread in the west as far as I’m concerned comes from San Francisco).

Now I know this sounds a little crazy, but I like mayonnaise on my chili-cheese dog. The mayo just gives everything a nice, creamy texture. I know, dogs are supposed to have mustard, ketchup – a little relish – some chopped onions – the usual stuff. And when having a dog without the chili, I wouldn’t even begin to consider mayonnaise on the bun. But throw chili into the mix, and it’s mayo all the way.

Whenever I make Chili-Cheese Dogs, I like to grate some sharp cheddar cheese right off the block on top of the dogs. So there I am in the kitchen – onions chopped, chili warming in the pot, dogs grilling outside. I’m set – just gotta grab the cheese. As I reached for the block of cheddar in the fridge, what do I spy in the deli drawer right next to that block of cheddar? A block of smoked Gouda.  Hum, smokey, mild – what the heck – let’s go for something different.

Oh my goodness! One little change – one small break from the standard, routine and the chili-cheese dogs went from familiar comfort food to out-of-this-world to die for goodness! Who would have thought? Wow. The Gouda was creamy, the smoke brought an added layer of flavor that made all the difference, elevating the chili-cheese dog to new heights of yummy goodness.

Chili-Cheese Dogs
1 Package Good Quality Hot Dogs (Nathans or Hebrew National)
1 Package Good Quality Hot Dog Buns
1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 Large Can Favorite Chili (Dennison’s Hot)
Mayonnaise, about 1 tablespoon per bun
Fresh Grated Smoked Gouda Cheese

Heat grill to about medium-high. A small gas grill should take about 10 minutes to become nice and toasty.

While grill warms, heat chili in a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat, stirring as needed to prevent burning or scorching.

Chop onion, set aside until ready to use.

Grate Smoked Gouda, about a handful per dog. Set aside until ready to use.

When grill is hot, cook dogs, turning as needed to heat through and allow skin to blister nicely. You want the dog to puff up, the skin to blister without burning.

Split hot dog bun. Smear with mayonnaise.

Place grilled dog on bun. Top with chili, then freshly grated cheese. Top with chopped onion.

Enjoy a little bit of heaven while your taste buds do a “happy” dance.

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