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49ers vs. Cardinals: Investigating Arizona's energy source with a Sonoran Hot Dog

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It's a tough job, but somebody has got to do it. I do my scouting of Arizona's energy source with a Sonoran Hot Dog.

Not pictured: The hot dog Carson Palmer is staring at.
Not pictured: The hot dog Carson Palmer is staring at.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, my deep investigation into the Chicago Bears went well, but I've determined that the lack of thickness on my deep dish pizza ultimately led to the San Francisco 49ers' downfall. I accept full responsibility for the loss and after going back and taking a look at the film, I'm ready to move on.

This week, the 49ers play the NFC West-rival Arizona Cardinals and it promises to be a tough game. I said on Saturday morning that the Cardinals are way better than they have any right to be and have been since last season. There must be some secret to what they're doing. There's clearly some form of performance-enhancing substance at work here.

To find out exactly what that substance is, I took to Twitter to figure out where my investigation should begin. I quickly realized I couldn't name a single food that is related to Arizona. I vaguely knew that Mexican food was a must, but I didn't want to just go and make burritos or something like that. I was more looking for a signature dish.

The word "Sonoran" kept coming up, and many of the dishes described utilized pinto beans, like the pan-fried chimichangas that I eventually settled on. But one food item caught my eye and I decided it would be perfect for my investigation into what makes the Cardinals click: the Sonoran Hot Dog.

After my buddy in Phoenix failed to come up with any local dishes, I asked him if a Sonoran Hot Dog rang a bell. Over the headset I heard what appeared to be him literally slapping his knee, snapping his finger and saying "of course!" Clearly I'd found my dish.

Here's what I, someone who knows nothing about food other than which hole it goes in when I'm trying to get it in my belly, have observed from my research: it's a hot dog with the frank wrapped in bacon, a bunch of delicious salsa-esque stuff on top and wrapped up in a delicious-looking roll. I had to have one. Enter Tabii, the aforementioned fiancee who works at Galletto Ristorante in Modesto, CA, and who happens to go by "Girlie" here on Niners Nation.

Everything after this point is Tabii talking, until I say otherwise:

I used this recipe as a base for my hot dogs. I didn't change much, but I did forget to use cilantro in my salsa verde. It would be a lot better with the cilantro!

This is my altered recipe:

Salsa Verde
2 4oz cans of Herdez salsa verde
3 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 a sweet onion, medium dice
2 TBS minced garlic (i love garlic) [James' note: Her doubling the amount of garlic in a given recipe is an agreed term of our relationship]
1 bunch finely chopped cilantro (I'm not a huge fan of cilantro, so I wouldn't want huge leaves in it like the recipe suggests...even with blending it)
juice of two limes
salt to taste

I combined all these in a bowl and used my immersion blender to puree them. I left it relatively chunky, I just wanted all of it to combine. You can use a food processor or a blender if you'd like. The immersion blender is just easier to clean, and I'm lazy.

Spicy mayo:
2 big spoonfuls of mayo
1 TBS sriracha (we don't like Tabasco)
juice of one lemon

Stir until smooth. Add more sriracha or Tabasco or whatever if you want it spicier. Simple! The recipe recommends putting this and the salsa verde in squeeze bottles, but that is just more dishes and way too much work. [James' note: Mutual laziness is another agreed term]

For the dogs:
4 slices of bacon
4 all-beef franks
4 torpedo rolls or bolillos (We are in CA, so these were incredibly easy to get a hold of)

I used regular thickness bacon and wrapped one piece around each all beef hot dog (I made four!). I have a Cuisinart 5-in-1 griddler thing, and I seared the wrapped hot dogs until the bacon was crispy on all sides using the griddle setting at the highest temperature. I closed the lid on it so I could sear two sides at once. It made the whole process relatively easy (I hate chasing hot dogs around the pan so I can crisp all the sides). I didn't steam or grill the buns, but I kept them in their bag next to the griddle so they were relatively warm.

Optional toppings:

Chopped avocado (or guacamole)
Warm refried beansgrated cheese (I used the generic Mexican blend)
Chopped onion
Chopped tomato...or whatever else that is basically taco-themed

I built the hot dog by slicing open the bun so that it looked like a torpedo boat. I slathered the spicy mayo on one side, and chopped avocado on the other (it's a lot easier if your avocado is riper than mine was). Then the hot dog, cheese, and chopped onion and tomato. I finished by drizzling the salsa verde on top with a spoon. I wanted to use refried beans, and I would definitely recommend it, but I could not find the can opener that night and it was a huge ordeal for me.

Next week is Philly cheese steaks - so anyone with an opinion (I'm sure there will be many!) please let me know what you consider an "authentic" philly cheese steak. I'm talking toppings, marinades, etc - everything! I've already seen some suggestions from the last post, and there is no way on this Earth I will ever put cheese whiz on something that I plan to eat. Nixing that idea right now! Until next time...

Back to James

That all sounds very confusing but delicious for me. Once again, I'd like to note that I am well-aware that my camera stinks. If you'd like to donate to the camera fund, feel free! But either way, we did take a couple pictures of the end result, and while you can't tell there's bacon-wrapped goodness in this delicious roll, I assure you it's there.

Sonoran Hot Dog

That's the best picture we're going to get, unfortunately. Going forward, I'll try and have more pictures of the whole process and I'll see about maybe rooting around to find something more suitable to actually take pictures since people seem to like this series.

If the pictures don't do them justice, let me reiterate: these things were good. I tend to like my bacon a little more crispy and I echo the sentiments from Tabii that some beans, refried or otherwise, would definitely be preferable. This was good stuff and I feel I have a more deep and intimate understanding of what makes the Cardinals click.

As for what this means for the game on Sunday: bad news. While the deep dish pizza left me bloated, slow and lazy, this hot dog was filling without making me want to check out for a food nap. The Cardinals can eat this, be thoroughly satisfied and still come to play on Sunday. Fortunately, I expect the 49ers to be ready, unless they happened to catch last week's post and decided on a Saturday night deep dish pizza binge.

Next Up

Philly Cheese Steak is the obvious answer to this question, right? Tabii has already asked for some advice above, and I will do the same on Twitter. I'm prepared for the scores of angry Philly fans I'll have sending me death threats over whatever it is we inevitably do wrong but hey, we should expect nothing less, right?

Go Niners.