Your Hot Dog Needs Mayo

Food Features mayo
Your Hot Dog Needs Mayo

A recent study conducted by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and the North American Meat Institute found that nearly 20% of Americans put mayonnaise on their hot dogs. Some find the combo to be disturbing. But if you’re in the know, if you’re part of that one-fifth of the population who knows how to dress a dog properly, you understand that mayo might just be one of the best condiments for a hot dog.

Mayo: It’s rich. It’s creamy. It’s fatty, but it has just enough acidity to it to keep things interesting. And isn’t that exactly what you want on a sandwich, whether it’s round like a burger or long and lean like a hot dog? But this isn’t a sentiment that everyone shares. Although you’re almost guaranteed mayo as an option on a hamburger, you don’t often see it at hot dog stands or at trendy restaurants cheekily selling glizzies. The mayonnaise haters of the world have kept this combination from us, convinced us it doesn’t make sense. They’re wrong.

It’s time to ask ourselves why this isn’t a more popular combo. Is it sandwich discrimination, with some believing that hot dogs’ shape deems them undeserving of beautifully creamy sauce? Or is it just ignorance, with mayo-deniers simply unaware of how delicious the combo can be? Maybe it’s simply about availability—most of us aren’t going to go out of our way to source our own mayonnaise for a hot dog when we’re out, so we just go without, unaware of what we’re missing.

I don’t have the answers here—I’m simply spreading the gospel of mayonnaise on hot dogs. If you’ve already been converted, congratulations. You have reached the pinnacle of hot dog deliciousness. If you have yet to discover this combination, you’re in luck: You have an undeniably delicious experience to look forward to.

Worried that your dog will be too saucy if you dress it with a drizzle of mayo? To me, the solution seems clear: omit the ketchup. Your hot dog doesn’t need an overly sweet tomato sauce gunking up its bun. For those who can’t imagine their dog without ketchup, it’s also possible (but not advised) to skip the mustard, although it’s probably better to just use less of every condiment for the best results.

Of course, not every style of hot dog needs mayo. A Chicago-style dog (which is, admittedly, the superior style of hot dog), for example, doesn’t require mayo. Similarly, if you plan on topping your dog with sauerkraut, you can skip the mayonnaise. But for those simple hot dogs that are dressed with just the basics, mayonnaise undoubtedly adds an interesting textural element that elevates your dog to full-on sandwich status.

It’s time to end the madness and the mayo hate. It’s time to embrace hot dogs the way they’re supposed to be enjoyed, tradition or no. This summer, may all your dogs be dressed in that silky white condiment, glistening with fat and ready to be devoured. I’ll be praying for all of your mayo haters out there, hopeful that, one day, you’ll see the light and understand the glory of this most essential, albeit unconventional, of combos.

Samantha Maxwell is a food writer and editor based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter at @samseating.

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