Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Tennessee Smoky Hot Dog

Spring is just around the corner and that means Spring Training for baseball is right around the corner.  And that makes me think of hot dogs because baseball and hot dogs have been paired since the end of the 1800's.  

Knoxville does not have a Major League Baseball team in our market but we do have the Tennessee Smokies, a Chicago Cubs minor league affiliate.  They play at Smokies Park in Sevierville, which is in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.  The local college baseball team is the University of Tennessee Volunteers whose mascot is Smokey, a bluetick coonhound.

Confused yet?  Don't be.  We just like to keep changing the spelling of Smokie, Smoky, and Smokey in East Tennessee.  

Recently, Clint "Smoke In Da Eye" Cantwell asked us to come up with our idea of a great "ball park" hot dog.  In a perfect world, I think the ultimate ball park hot dog meets 3 criteria:
  1. It is served hot and fresh.  Not luke warm, crammed into aluminum foil.
  2. It is an entire meal on a bun.  We don't need no stinkin' side dishes.
  3. It is based on regional influences and preferences.
Here's what I came up with.  The regional "dog" for East Tennessee, North Carolina, and a lot of the South is an "all the way dog" with slaw, chili, diced white onion, and yellow mustard.  To play along with the Smoky theme, I decided to do a grilled coleslaw and caramelize the onions on the grill.

Tennessee Smoky Hot Dog, smoking hot dog, chili dog
Messy but delicious!  And look...SMOKY.

No, I didn't throw a bowl of slaw on a hot grill, I just grilled the cabbage used for the slaw.  This is a tip that I picked up from Chris Lilly at Kingsford University last year.  Grilled Veggies - grill the individual components used in making a vegetable dish.  He made a ratatouille that way.

Tennessee Smoky Hot Dog, smoking hot dog, chili dog

The Tennessee Smoky Hot Dog
source:  NibbleMeThis
servings:  8 hot dogs

  • 8 ea hot dog buns
  • 8 ea beef hot dogs
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into 1/4" slices
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp BBQ rub*
  • 2 cups hot dog chili*
  • yellow mustard
For the smoky coleslaw
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1/4 head purple cabbage, cut into 2 wedges
  • 1 ea large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
For the coleslaw dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill set up for direct heat to 400-425f.   Today I was using my Smoke Hollow grill and used 6 quarts of Kingsford™ briquettes.  The quantity will vary by the size of the grill that you are using.
  2. Place onion slices on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Top each with about 1 teaspoon of butter and season with the BBQ rub.  Fold edges of foil over and seal to make an envelop.  
  3. Mix together the coleslaw dressing and refrigerate.
  4. Place the foil packet on the grill along with your pot with the chili.  You will cook both for the whole time, about 20-25 minutes.  Flip the foil packet half way through.  Do NOT flip the chili pot.  Makes one heck of a mess if you do.
  5. Meanwhile, lightly brush the cut sides of the cabbage with olive oil and grill 3-4 minutes per side, just long enough to get a light char.  Remove and allow to cool.  
  6. Slice across the cabbage wedges into very thin slices (think matchstick width) and place in a large bowl.*  Add the carrot, onion and coleslaw dressing.  Toss to coat thoroughly.  Place in the fridge.
  7. Grill the hot dogs to your preferred degree of char.  I like just a little and went about 6 minutes, rotating often.  
  8. Remove everything from the grill and assemble in this order:  bun, dog, onions, slaw, chili, mustard.
  9. Stuff in your face.
  10. Wipe your face....were you raised in a barn?  
  • Use your favorite BBQ rub.  You can just use salt and pepper, but I like the "zing" that a BBQ dry rub brings.  
  • You can make your own, I like to use Meathead's All Purpose Chili Sauce recipe.  But today I cheated and used Lays Market Chili Con Carne.  They are a local company and we know the family personally.  It's available at Food City stores.   
  • Coleslaw Tip:  Always use a flat bottomed bowl.  As the slaw sits, the dressing will drip to the "bottom".  The wide bottom will keep more of the veggies in the dressing.  
"hobo packs" are a great way to cook veggies on the grill.

glowing coals, Kingsford briquet
I never get tired of seeing the red glow of coals.

I used my Smoke Hollow combo grill/smoker today.

grilled cabbage, NMT grilled cabbage
Grill just long enough to get a light char on the edges.  It really boosts the flavor of the slaw.

The rollers are completely unnecessary.  But does make grilled dogs so easy.  

Tennessee Smoky Hot Dog, smoking hot dog, chili dog
Smoky goodness!


  1. Yum Yum! They sure do look delicious Chris, and as a hot dog lover of all kinds, I'd definitely eat these, though I do think I'd prefer the slaw on the side myself.

  2. I was raised in an area of WV where a hot dog was topped with sauce (chili but different than the soup), onion, mustard and nothing else - never slaw. But I'm trying to expand my range of food likes and have to admit that is one fine looking dawg. I like the grilled veggie use and, in spite of what the locals might say, I like the absence of beans (or so it appears) in the chili - I still refuse to go there. I wienner topped with Hormel Chili just doesn't cut it. Since we've had no dawgs, I've yet to use the wienner roller you send me but will soon I'm sure. I'm going to have to visit Lay's.

  3. Oh wow, I could eat one of those babies for right now for breakfast! We love a good sloppy hot dog at our house. I recently bought a hot dog bun pan to make my own New England style hot dog buns, so I see lots of hot dogs in our future!

  4. That is so cool! I love that you grilled the cabbage. These dogs look great. I love a great Chicago dog and these remind me of those.

  5. Sounds delicious Chris. I always love a good hotdog. The first time I heard, "do you want slaw on it?" was in North Carolina. Slaw makes everything better.

  6. I am in AZ and we have all the Spring Training you could ask for, but no hot dogs like this! I will definitely give this a try.

  7. Grill slaw? OOOOOh my! Ya, I have a feeling these are even better than a Dodger Dog!

  8. Szent tehén -, hogy a kutya rám gerjedtek!

    See Google Translator from Hungarian to English to translate... two can play at this game my friend!

  9. That's about the prettiest hot dog I have ever seen. Yum!

  10. great looking weiners! The grilled slaw looks delicious!

  11. Whoa, what? Did you just single-handedly invent "Tennessee Smoky Dogs"? If so, we have to tell the Internet. Now!

    They look delicious.

  12. I love a good hot dog when I lived down south, they had me eating them with cole slaw. And I really like it.

  13. Oh man alive do I love the cole salw recipe. That will be made soon. That is the only way I will put lipstick on a pig.

  14. Those hot dogs look fantastic. I think a hot dog 'staple' of our area that you might have overlooked is a touch of cheese! BTW- where do you buy those hot dog grill rollers? I'd like to have a couple of those myself...

  15. These hot dogs look salivating! I love esp. the grilled slaw.

  16. @John - I'm not sure, they were a gift but I am almost certain it came from Crate and Barrel.

  17. I'm not a huge fan of baseball, but I can and will admit that there truly is not better hot dog experience than at the ballpark! Until now.. now I can stay at home and just watch it on tv... or watch anything for that matter!! Best looking dog I've seen, Chris!

  18. I'm not a hot dog lover, but I would like one of these for breakfast! :-)

    Kim in MD

  19. This is so good. So tempting and so right. Puts Papaya King in Hollywood to shame. GREG

  20. Baseball!!! I wrote about Justin Verlander's birthday today, so any baseball-themed post makes me happy ... :) I'm from NYC, so I have certain expectations about my hot dogs; was bracing myself as I scrolled down. But these look great! Chili is mandatory in Detroit, and I can go with cabbage 'cause it's nearly sauerkraut. Don't do all that neon-colored Chicago salad, though ....

  21. Total and complete failure! Where's the cheese? ;) I kid. Looks great and I like the way you grilled the cabbage. Did that give it much of a smokey flavor?

  22. Wow! can I have two, please!!!!!They look amazing....In Colombia we add coleslaw to the hotdogs and I love them, but these sound sooooo good with the smoky slaw!

  23. Thank God for baseball and spring training and the Cubs and hot dogs. I doubt if they will do anything much this year, but at least there's a lot of new blood to build on now! Your hot dogs are great!!! Lots of good stuff on there. Too funny with the slaw tip--it makes perfect sense, of course--just never thought about it. But will the next time I make it!

  24. that my friend is a thing of beauty, I get heartburn from drinking water these days...but I would suffer for these.

  25. Never in my life have I been so hungry for a hot dog. Damn, those are some fine lookin' dogs!

    My husband and I made an impromptu trip to the Smokies this weekend. I thought of you and Alexis when we drove through Knoxville. Maybe next time we can all meet up.

  26. I was really excited about baseball season, then I see this!!?! Oh my word, you're killing me. It looks delicious.

  27. I think you forgot to change the spelling of the word "smoky" in your recipe title. It should be "smokye" (you you can distinguish it from all the others).

  28. That is a great tip about grilling the cabbage for the slaw! Really great photographs too. I was telling a friend of mine who is launching a new grill from Rosle about you today. She's from K-town too :-)

  29. You have a hot dog roller! So cool. Your hot dogs look so tasty! I want one. Now. With lots of smoky slaw on top.

  30. I dig the dog, Chris. I'm with you on the meal-on-a-bun mantra.

  31. Smokey and decadent. Who needs flimsy food for Oscar weekend? A hot dog like this would be much better.

  32. That looks incredible!! Great job on the dog!

  33. Outstanding! I read this yesterday and ran to the store to get some cabbage! It was wonderful. Once again, you have inspired a guy with Big Green Egg envy. I just posted about these dogs on my blog. Thanks again Chris - we now have a new favorite hot dog AND a new favorite coleslaw!!!

  34. I was raised southwest Virginia, 90 mins from Knoxville, I currenly live in Australia and miss southwest VA/east TN!! These hot dogs look fabulous!!! I made slaw today for hot dogs tomorrow, wish I had seen this first.....grilled cabbage would be incredible!!!! Go VOLS!!!!! :-)

  35. I was raised southwest Virginia, 90 mins from Knoxville, I currenly live in Australia and miss southwest VA/east TN!! These hot dogs look fabulous!!! I made slaw today for hot dogs tomorrow, wish I had seen this first.....grilled cabbage would be incredible!!!! Go VOLS!!!!! :-)

  36. Not to hurt any ones feelings, but reply after you make it so you can give a review, reply before hand has no meaning

  37. Just made these today. Oh my!! My taste buds are still smiling from this amazing tasty treat. Had to adjust on the fly for the onions, I failed to realize my lack of tin foil. Sauted them in a pot with butter and bbq seasoning. Came out just as good. Will absolutely make these again.


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