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Screw You, Pink's! Make Line-Worthy Hot Dogs at Home

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Every time I’m driving up La Brea and I see that line of hungry hot-dog cravers snaking up the street, I gotta shake my head – seriously, people? You’d wait in that line? For a hot dog? And for Christ’s sake, where are all you people parking?

Don’t get me wrong – I love Pink’s as much as the next girl, and I’ve certainly indulged in my fair share of that famous chili cheesiness throughout the years. I also totally appreciate the fact that it’s a truly historic site, with its 65-year history of serving celebrities and commoners alike. I’ve even discovered the best time to go to avoid the queue is on a weekday, before 11 a.m. (Yes, hot dogs for breakfast. You got a problem with that?)

But any other hour of the week, I simply cannot muster the stamina to wait that long for a hot dog that frankly isn’t much better than what I could cook for myself at home. In fact, in the time it takes you to get through that gosh darned line, you could have gone to the store and bought yourself enough goodies to throw a whole hot dog party! In fact, why don’t you? And while you’re at it, why not put together some super tasty, unique gourmet-style dogs that you won’t see at Pink’s and impress all your friends while you’re at it? Soon they’ll be standing in line at your door, fouling up your street parking!

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Choose Your Weiner: Okay, okay, you could always just pop down to Ralph’s and pick up some beef Hebrew Nationals from the meat section. Or you could step it up and check out the Italian, Polish, and veal bratwurst kosher dogs at Jeff’s Gourmet Sausage and Deli Company on Pico, or the spicy merguez or apple chicken sausages from Surfas in Culver City.

Traditional Chili Cheese Dog: Now's the time to defrost that homemade beer chili you put in the freezer a few months back for just such an occasion! Also, congratulations: if you have homemade chili in your freezer, you are officially a better person than me. Otherwise, pick out your favorite canned supermarket variety. Grill your dog of choice (either on the BBQ or in a hot saute pan with a touch of olive oil to keep the dogs from sticking), and toast the bun. Top with warm chili, diced red onions, and shredded cheddar cheese. Yes. Oh god yes.

Southwestern Style Dog: Grill up a traditional pork dog, or go for a spicy chorizo or merguez variety. Top with pepper jack cheese, sliced jalapenos, sliced avocado, and a quick lime-cilantro mayo (stir chopped cilantro, lime juice, a pinch of cumin and a pinch of cayenne into regular mayonnaise).

Vietnamese Banh Mi Dog: Top your pork or chicken dog with pickled daikon and carrot, sliced cucumber, sliced onion, cilantro, mayonnaise, and a liberal squirt of Sriracha hot sauce. You can use a halved baguette instead of a hot dog bun if you want to get even closer to the banh mi style.

Deli Style Dog: Now's the time for that Polish sausage, or kielbasa. Slather it in spicy mustard, top with warm sauerkraut and swiss cheese. Pastrami is also always an option (and hey, I just invoked Carrie's Infallible Rule of Cuisine # 271: pastrami is always an option).

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Italian Jersey Dog: Get some good Italian-style sausages. Use crusty rolls instead of buns to maximize authenticity. Top them off with slices of roasted potato, sautéed red and green bell peppers, sliced onions, crushed red pepper, and some provolone.

Hawaiian Dog: Use a nice pork dog to honor the Hawaiian obsession with Spam. Top with canned pineapple chunks, swiss cheese, and teriyaki sauce. Pour a little sauce on the floor in memory of Don Ho.

Street Style Dog: Not for the faint of heart or clogged of artery. Wrap your dog entirely in slices of uncooked bacon. Throw it on the grill and let the sweet, sweet smell of pork fat wash over your quivering nostrils. Once sufficiently crispy, pop that baby in a bun and top with grilled Maui onions (or any other kind of sweet onion), jalapenos, and salsa, OR the usual mustard, ketchup, and pickle relish.

Oh, and the best thing about throwing a hot dog party in the comfort of your own home? Your guests can bring BEER!!! In fact, recommend that they stop by BevMo and pick up some craft brews that are hearty and unique, just like your dogs.

You may never go to Pink's again - at least not after noon.

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Photo by phantomkitty via Flickr