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Sugar Dogs

March 20, 2009
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Apparently, when you live in New England it’s imperative that you make an annual pilgrimage to the sugaring shacks.  Sam and I had ignored our civic duty until this year, when we learned that our local Audubon Society (which we’re members of, big up to the little birds!) hosts an annual sugaring off tour.  I thought it would be fun but what really caught my eye was that they were serving hot dogs cooked in maple syrup.  Oh yeah!

I had imagined the hot dog situation like this:  at the end of our tour, there’s this grizzled guy with a long scraggly beard and sporting a flannel shirt with suspenders, stirring this cauldron filled with hot dogs and maple syrup over an open fire.  Maybe this would be outdoors, or perhaps it would be in the sugaring shack.  Regardless, I had fixated on this cast iron pot and open fire for some time.  I was a little disappointed when I saw the dogs being cooked in the electric pot above, especially since the dogs weren’t stewing in a bed of 100% pure grade A amber maple syrup.  Rather, it looked like mostly water with a little syrup drizzled in for good measure.  When the server went to get me a hot dog, it slipped from her tongs and landed outside of the pot.  Hot dog overboard!

They had your typical hot dog condiments–relish, mustard and onions–but I didn’t want to overpower the maple sweetness so I opted out for the sweet relish.  Sam, whose hot dog pallet isn’t as refined as mine, didn’t notice the subtle, smoky sweetness that the maple syrup imparted on the hot dog.  I thought it was a pretty good pairing of flavors, the savoriness of the hot dog mixed with the sweetness of the syrup.  Since having this dog, Alex and I have discussed other methods of using syrup to flavor the dog and we both agreed that the method of cooking in a mixture of water & syrup would be ideal.  Another idea we had was to cook the dogs on a grill and, in the last moments, to slather on the maple syrup like a BBQ sauce.

Sam was much happier with the other lunch offerings, which I was pretty impressed by as well.  They had three different types of homemade soups; I had the spicy black bean, Sam had the organic chicken noodle soup which had delicious fresh-made noodles, just like I remember my Grandma making.  Our sugaring tour was not complete without some assorted maple syrup facts, like the “86 Rule”–it takes 86 gallons of maple sap, on average, to make one gallon of maple syrup.  That’s what all those plastic jugs behind Sam were representing.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2014 9:12 am

    We are sugar makers from New York, I just read about your maple hot dog experience. I am planning on cooking up some dogs this March during New York’s annual maple tour. I haven’t decided yet how I was going to cook them up so I was looking around the internet for ideas. I appreciate your love of hot dogs, we have our favorite (Sahlen’s) here outside of Buffalo, NY. But they have a skin and I’m not sure how that will cook up we usually grill. We may have a choice of grilled with syrup or boiled, either way should be some good eating. On to search out more ideas. To be followed by some experimental cooking!

    • March 20, 2014 4:11 pm

      Hey Amy, hope the dogs turned out well! How did you decide to cook them?

      • March 25, 2014 8:47 pm

        Hi Mike, We ended up cooking the dogs in an electric fry pan, using maple syrup with enough water so they didn’t burn. We also poked Athem with a fork to get the syrup all soaked in. They were a huge success. We had a squeeze bottle full of syrup for tasting and a guy thought he’d put more syrup on top his condiments… he sure must like maple syrup!

        • March 26, 2014 9:43 am

          Oh man, that sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing Amy, I’ll have to try it out some time.

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