When I was first telling my friends I was going to be making these Seattle Dogs, whose defining characteristic is the use of cream cheese, there was a little head scratching going on. I, for one, was super exited to try it, because let's face it, cream cheese is amazing stuff and I could only imagine it making a hot dog all the better. In the case of a Seattle-style hot dog though, it made even more sense because that cooling cheese would go on to help strike a balance with the spicy mustard and jalapeños also in play here, and after cooking these up, I can say that this was a truly a winning combination.
I'll lay out this fact to begin with—in the couple times I've been to Seattle, I never had a hot dog there. I do have one friend though who was intimately familiar with this regional hot dog style, and he let me know what I put together was pretty spot on, except he had actually never had one topped with jalapeños in the manner I served them. This seemed to be a pretty common topping upon some internet sleuthing though, and was one of the best counterparts to the cream cheese, so while there's some question about the authenticity of this topping, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Going beyond the jalapeños, caramelized onions seems like a must for a Seattle dog. This is a huge plus for me because I love these sweet onions so much that I'll take any excuse I can to make them. I do usually cook mine to a deep, and extremely sweet, dark brown, but those that adorn hot dogs in Seattle are not quite as well done. So I stopped the cooking this time when they were more of a golden brown, but still tender with a pleasing sweetness.
Now the one ingredient that really sets a Seattle dog apart is the cream cheese, and you might need more than you think. The cream cheese should be warm, so before I began cooking the franks, I put a couple packages of cream cheese in a small pot that I set above the fire on the grill to heat up. By the time the hot dogs were finished, it was super soft and easily spreadable.
For the hot dogs themselves, a beef frank is the wiener of the choice. It seemed like some vendors choose to split their dogs before cooking, which is something I endorse. I usually like making slits in hot dogs before grilling to speed cooking, so making an entire cut lengthwise was alright with me and had these franks grilling up in no time over the hot fire.
Once the hot dogs were done, I took my squishy white bread rolls and spread on a layer of cream cheese. At first I was going light on the cream cheese, but it ended up that more was undoubtedly better, allowing the cream cheese to have more of a presence in the final product. Following the cream cheese spread, I nestled in a frank and topped with a layer of onions, squeeze of spicy brown mustard, and finally a few slices of fresh jalapeños.
And when you taste this combination altogether in the same bite, you have one incredible hot dog. The bun and cream cheese fuse a bit, creating a squishy and creamy outer shell that gives way first to the meaty and juicy seasoned beef. The onions impart their pleasing sweetness before the kick of the mustard comes into play, along with the fruity heat of the jalapeño. It's a mixture that doesn't taste overly complex and is in great harmony with itself. It also left anyone who may have questioned the cream cheese hot dog combo beforehand a believer by the end.
- Yield 8 servings
- Prep 20 Minutes
- Cook 5 Minutes
- Total 25 Minutes
- For the Onions
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- For the Hot Dogs
- 16oz cream cheese
- 8 all-beef hot dogs, split lengthwise about 1/2 way through
- 8 hot dog buns
- 3 medium jalapeños washed and cut into 1/8" rings
- Spicy brown mustard
- To make the onions: Melt butter in a large heavy-bottomed stainless steel or enameled cast iron dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and bottom of saucepan is coated in a pale brown fond, about 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and deglaze pan by scraping with a wood spoon. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until another layer of fond has built up again, 3-5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and deglaze. Repeat process until onions are completely softened and golden brown, about 15 minutes morel. Season onions to taste with salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place cream cheese in a small pot and set pot on grill to warm. Place hot dogs on grill and cook, turning occasionally, until heated through and well browned, about 4 minutes.
- Line 1 bun with warmed cream cheese to taste and top with hot dog, caramelized onions, mustard, and jalapeño slices. Repeat assembly for all hot dogs. Serve immediately.