A Well-Dressed Dog
For some, it’s summer on a bun, for others it’s a frightening mystery meat. Whether it’s a casual barbecue with friends and family or cooking over a campfire in the woods, many of us just can’t escape summer without eating a hotdog.
In and around Ottawa sausages prevail in the "locally made" market. That’s because, unlike sausages, the meat in a hotdog is ground twice to create that pâté-like texture. This process creates a lean meat and requires a surprising amount of finesse to avoid a dry dog. In reality, the lowly hotdog is more than meets the eye.
The good news is that there are some amazing local options for that quintessential summer dog.
DUCK, DUCK, DOG
Due to customer demand, Roadapple Ranch in Finch, Ont., makes hotdogs from its Belted Galloway beef and heritage breed pigs with a ratio of 75 per cent beef to 25 per cent pork. Made at Vogel Fine Meat Shop near Alexandria, these dogs are $11.50 per pound and can be found at Roadapple’s booth at the Ottawa Farmers’ Markets.
Griffith Farm & Market in Golden Lake, Ont., makes a hefty quarter- pound dog with 90 per cent beef and 10 per cent pork (added for juiciness). The Sausage Kitchen in the ByWard Market finely grinds the meat and cooks the hotdogs in a smoker for extra flavour. At $12 for a pack of four, these dogs have no fillers and are gluten -free. You can order them online at griffithfarm.ca or at numerous farmers’ markets, including Killaloe, Barry’s Bay, Cobden, Pembroke and the Ottawa Farmers' Market at Lansdowne Park.
If regular hotdogs aren’t fancy enough for you, try a Hot Duck. Made by Etienne Cuerrier at Meat Press — Creative Charcuterie and Sandwich Shop opening in Hintonburg this summer, this innovative hotdog uses pork fat and trimmings from duck breast and fillets from Mariposa Farms in Plantagenet, Ont., for $18 per kilogram.
Let’s face it, we all grew up with the same multinational brand of ketchup, so our taste buds have been trained to its flavour profile. Finding good homemade ketchup is difficult, but the Heirloom Tomato Catsup, created by Chef Bruce Wood of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company for Bryson Farms, is retraining our tongues and reinventing our barbecue traditions. Naturally sweetened with organic peaches from the Niagara Peninsula, Bryson’s summertime tomato flavour comes forward with just enough spice and acidity. This tasty new condiment is available through Bryson's home-delivery service, at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne Park or online at savourottawaonline.ca andottawavalleyfood.org.
Cressy Mustard Company’s Sarah Harrison handcrafts small-batch mustard made with mustard seeds grown on her family’s Prince Edward County farm. She doesn’t have to travel far, only down the street, to source horseradish from Hagerman Farms for her Horseradish Mustard — a smooth, delicious mustard perfect for hotdogs or sausages. You'll find it at Wendy’s Country and Mobile Markets, Cooke’s Fine Foods and Coffee in Kingston and in Prince Edward County at Sandbanks Estate Winery, Black River Cheese and Schroedter's Market.
Fermented the old fashioned way, in traditional ceramic crocks, Juniper Farms’ sauerkraut makes a great addition to your condiment tray. Not only does it compliment a hotdog or sausage, it's also healthy with natural probiotics to aid digestion. Find it at The Red Apron, Rainbow Foods, The West End Well, Market Organics, Seed to Sausage, Herb & Spice, Bread & Sons in Ottawa and Les Fougères in Chelsea, Que.
Brenda Kerr of Maple-Lim Farm in Napanee, Ont. says, “I like the fact that when you make your own food, you know what’s in it.” Kerr’s Hot Dog Relish is made with six simple ingredients and is full of onions, peppers and cucumbers grown on her own farm. Find it at the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market and Wendy’s Country and Mobile Markets in Kingston and Sharbot Lake Farmers’ Market.
Have you ever put salsa on your hotdog? You will after you taste Griffith Farm and Market's Golden Veggie Salsa. Not quite a salsa, not quite a relish, but all delicious and perfect on a barbecued hotdog. Find it at its many market locations and online store.