Friday, August 19, 2016

VBT Miller Park: The Beer Brat Dog

When you talked encased meat, you have to think of the fans of the Milwaukee Brewers. Nobody, and I mean nobody, knows brats like the fans of the Brew Crew. Their baseball game tailgate grilling is the best in baseball and rivals that of any college football team.

So for the Brewers and Miller Park, I keep it simple. The Beer Brat Dog. This dog combines two things Milwaukee is renown for: suds and sausage. Prep by soaking some brats in beer for at least 30 minutes. You won't be drinking the beer so use something cheap. Grill your buns along with your brats. I use Johnsonville brat, but use your favorite brand. Once they are cooked up, lay it in the warm bun, add some spicy mustard, relish and a handful of crushed potato chips. It's like having your dog and side dish in one.

Milwaukee is a great baseball town, and this dog will help you feel like you are sitting at Miller Park which catching a game on the tube.

Beer pairing: Gotta be a Schlitz. Hey, it's the beer that made Milwaukee famous. It's made a comeback using the original formula (note to brewers: don't be mess with the formula. Remember New Coke?). 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

VBT Progressive Field: The Ricky Vaughn

Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn; the greatest pitcher that never was. If you don't know who he is, I question your dedication to the sport of baseball. He helped propel the Cleveland Indians to a division championship in the 1990s. Google him, respect him, honor him. He made the Indians hip when they weren't.

In honor of Ricky, I have designed a hot dog for the Cleveland Indians I call The Ricky Vaughn. Catchy no? Ricky could bring 100mph heat and stay cool as a cucumber while on the mound, and I combine these two qualities on the dog.

Start by laying in a delicious Hebrew National all-beef frank, top it with sliced cucumber and horseradish. And here is the important part: slather on some Bertman's Ballpark Mustard. Bertman's is only available in the greater Cleveland area and has been a hot dog condiment stalwart for decades. It is what makes hot dogs in Cleveland special. You can order some from the company, but for today you can use the spicy mustard of your choice. I, of course, have a stash of Bertman's mustard in my cache of condiments.

This is the one hot dog that, if you get food all over your shirt it is okay. Ricky had control issues as well.

Beer pairing. Any beer from Cleveland's Great Lakes Brewery will do, but the crisp and cold taste of the Dortmunder Lager is recommended. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

VBT Great American Ballpark: Breakfast of Champions Dog

Do you which team has the oldest team name in baseball? It's the Cincinnati Reds. Yup. Fooled me too. It would have been the oldest team name in continuous use, but they changed their name to the Red Legs for a few years in the 1950s. It seems Reds was too closely associated with communism, and with the USSR being the closest rival to the USA and threatening the way of life for just about every nation it associated with, it seemed prudent to shake things up for a while.

That makes the Cincinnati Reds the oldest team in baseball, name-wise anyway. They were around at the dawn of baseball. And you know what meal you eat at dawn? Breakfast. And in the days of my youth, the 1970s, the Cincinnati Reds were most definitely champions. That is why I designed the Breakfast of Champions Dog for the the Reds and Great American Ballpark.

This dog is easy to make because I recommend using the microwave version of most ingredients. Particularly the pancake part. Homemade pancakes usually will not hold together well enough to serve as a bun.

Start with a flat pancake for a bun, fry up an egg hard, lay it on top of the pancake. Fry or microwave a breakfast sausage of your choice, put on top of the egg, sprinkle on a half of a handful of Captain Crunch cereal and then pour on some maple syrup. Fold and eat.

If you do make these using frozen pancakes, remember most varieties are relatively small, so plan on eating two. Even better, if you live in the Mountain or Pacific time zones, wait until the Reds have a 1pm Eastern start. That way you can have the Breakfast of Champions Dog as a real breakfast. And you have my permission to sleep in until game time.

Beer pairing. Little Kings Cream Ale is a Cincinnati stalwart that has been a favorite of the denizens of the Queen City for decades. Make sure you pick up the pony bottles, they fit the size of the dog better. And you have my permission to drink them before noon. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Colorado Rockies: Beachcomber Dog

Despite a restricted travel schedule, I managed to dodge the rain while camping in the Rocky Mountains and catch a Colorado Rockies game. Coors Field is one of my favorites and I was treated to a slug fest that included six homers.

The Rockies have always done a great job of offering up a wide selection of specialty hot dogs. Since my first visit they still offer the Denver Dog, Santa Fe Dog, Diablo Dog and a few others. The one the caught my eye this time around was the Beachcomber Dog. It not only has a catchy name but interesting ingredients.

The sesame seed hot dog bun had what I was told was a Hebrew National, but I have my doubts, it didn't taste like a HN. It wasn't bad, but not what I normally associate with my favorite frank. I suspect the concessions worker was misinformed. On top of the frank was pineapple chunks and jalapeno slices, both doused with BBQ sauce.

The pineapple and jalapeno fought for dominance in taste, with the BBQ sauce acting as referee. In the end, it was a pretty damn good specialty dog for $6.50. It's not huge, but for that price I wouldn't expect it to be. And since one won't fill you up, you will have room left over to check out the Denver Dog. Oh, and the Rockies are exciting this year...see them.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

VBT Target Field: Double Dog Dare Dog

The Minnesota Twins. Now there is a fan base that knows their processed meat. And I love the summer. Not to mention the relatively new Target Field is one of baseball's true gems of a ballpark. Seeing a game there is a treat for any the summer.

The Twinkies get their name from the fact that they are the team for the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Love the old Twins logo of the two ballplayer shaking hands across the river that separates the two towns.

But twins means two. Two of exactly the same thing. So it is in the truest sense of upholding the twin definition the I created the Double Dog Dare Dog. On a large hoagie but, put in not one BUT TWO Hebrew National franks, top with grilled sauerkraut and diced jalapenos and then pour on some spicy brown mustard. Double the taste, double the meat, double the treat. The next time you have the Twins on the tube, whip up a Double Dog Dare Dog, plop on the sofa enjoy it with a beer. Make that two beers.

Beer pairing: While it is only available in about 20 states, Summit beer makes a crisp pilsners that will go nicely with the Double Dog Dare Dog. One of Minnesota's finest beverages.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

VBT Tropicana Field: Cool Ray Dog

Baseball in Tampa is cool. You know why? It's air conditioned; all the time. The Tampa Rays play in the only pure dome baseball stadium. While most other teams that could use a roof over their head from time to time have built retractable-roof ballparks, Tampa remains mired in the 1970s and uses the domed Tropicana Field. You know what I like about domed ballparks? Nothing. But is does keep it cool when the temperature outside is broiling.

Speaking of broiling, you won't need a broiler to prepare the creation called the Cool Ray Dog. Why? Because this is one of the few pieces of edible art I have created that you put your favorite brand of veggie dog on. Florida is mostly coast you know, you have to keep your beach body in mind so for this dog we skip the meat and focus on vegetables and fruit.

Start by grilling your bun along with the veggie dog (I recommend Field Roast). Top with sliced cucumbers, mandarin oranges (they do play in Tropicana Field after all) and then pour on cool ranch dressing to taste. This delectable dog will keep you fit while pleasing your tummy. And hopefully, it will detract you from how horrible the artificial turf in the dome looks.

Beer pairing: The oldest town in America? Saint Augustine, Florida. While not near Tampa, it is in the same state. Oldest beer in America? Yuengling. That's a Pennsylvania beer, but guess where they have their second brewery? Yep, Tampa. Wash down your Cool Ray Dog with one. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

VBT PETCO Park: The Poor Man's Surf and Turf

I hope you had time to catch the All-Star Game in San Diego's PETCO Park last week. Me? Wanted to, but as I am too cheap to have cable I missed it. I thought for sure MLBTV would broadcast it, especially since I plunked down lots of bucks for it. But they didn't, reading the box scores was my All-Star experience. Thanks MLB.

If you did see it, you know what a gem of a park PETCO is. Great baseball venue. I lived in San Diego off and on for 12 years during my 24 year stint in the Navy. But, when I was living there that area was a bunch of rundown warehouses and the Padres played in the utilitarian and ugly Jack Murphy Stadium.

What I did learn during my time in San Diego is that it is a great town with strong ties to the the ocean that dominates its western boundary. What I learned during 24 years in the Navy is that we pay our service members waaaay too little for what they do. If you have ever been in the military you know how hard it is to make ends meet. It is with San Dog's seaside heritage and recognition of those that serve never having much expendable cash that I introduce the hot dog designed for PETCO Park: The Poor Man's Surf and Turf.

Start with a big bun; because buns are cheap and filling. Lay in a delicious all-beef (kind of like steak) Hebrew National frank, top with sliced avocado and cocktail shrimp (kind of like lobster). Pour on cocktail sauce to taste.

It is like surf and turf on a bun, but at a much lower cost. If you follow the Padres, like I have for years, you know that the cost of a few of these dogs is about the same as the Padres payroll. The Padres, forever the team selling off its talent.

Beer Pairing: You know what washes down the Poor Man's Surf and Turf Dog best? San Diego's southern border butts up against Mexico. Considering the beach and Mexico being within easy reach of any San Diegan, the beer paring can be none other than a cold, crip Corona.