The Stars of National Hot Dog Month

Our celebration of National Hot Dog Month continues this week with a blog post featuring Levy’s Vice President, Chef de Cuisine, Robin Rosenberg, and two new hot dogs he created just for July’s monthlong celebration. Learn how the recipes came together, and discover some delicious dogs for your next BBQ!

Chef Robin Brings the Best of Summer to One Plate

At seven years old, Chef Robin Rosenberg convinced his parents to let him walk their dog for 25 cents per walk. He was playing the long game, 4 walks per week was $1, so, by Saturday he could stop by his favorite hot dog stand in Sausalito and order their weekend special: a root beer, fries, and a hot dog for 99 cents. Hot dogs have always been a favorite of Chef Robin’s, and from seven years old to now, mustard and sauerkraut have always been his mainstay toppings of choice.

To celebrate National Hot Dog Month, Chef Robin created two delicious hot dogs piled high with barbeque favorites to enjoy in the summer sun.

The Charred Colossal Dog

Chef Robin’s first creation, the Charred Colossal Dog, is a Vienna Beef Frankwurst topped with 14-hour slow smoked pork shoulder and Beaver Sweet Hot Mustard, with a three mustard barbeque sauce, caramelized pineapple, and homemade crispy onions served on a toasted split top bun. A combination of perfect contrasts, from sweet to savory, this dog has it covered.

The fantastic foundation for this hot dog is Vienna Beef’s Frankwurst, which is Chef Robin’s favorite hot dog. Although Frankwursts, traditionally called knockwursts, are served stew-style, cut up with mustard or sauerkraut, he prefers them on a bun. “The taste can’t be beat, it’s 100% beef and they grill incredibly well,” he said. “They’re charred on the outside but are so juicy when you bite into them.”

The Short Rib Dog

Chef Robin also created the Short Rib Dog, a footlong hot dog topped with sharp cheddar cheese, slow smoked short rib smothered in a vinegar barbeque sauce, red cabbage and green onion slaw and Beaver Sweet Hot mustard on a toasted split top bun. Chef Robin noted his favorite part of this particular hot dog is the two ends of the footlong that stick out on each side of the bun, providing a perfect first and last bite.

Both the Charred Colossal Dog and the Short Rib Dog are served on toasted split top buns, Chef Robin’s bun of choice. These buns are typically used on the East Coast for lobster rolls, not hot dogs. “The soft, buttery but slightly crispy toasted outside is perfect contrast to the hot dog and toppings, to me, it’s the best bun for a dog.”

Recipes are Like Music

Chef Robin explained brainstorming for these summer-themed dogs, “is like composing music; the ingredients have to be harmonious.” Throughout the crafting of the two dogs, Chef Robin frequently had coworkers and his culinary team try the ingredients and give feedback. How does the smoked pork taste? Which mustard do they think pairs best with each hot dog? Sous Chef Martin Soto works closely with Chef Robin throughout the creative process. Chef Robin finds this communication to be the most rewarding part of the creation process. “I start with research, and then I get feedback on the ingredients I’ve made. I like the genuine feedback, it’s fun to see how people react, and it truly makes the dish better,” he says. Chef Robin notes it’s very important to incorporate feedback as he creates dishes that cater to what the guests may like, not just what he likes.

The hot dogs Chef Robin created for National Hot Dog month aren’t your average dogs; Chef Robin likes to think outside the box when it comes to creating new dishes. His mother always encouraged him to add his own twist to dishes to make them special. With nearly 40 years of experience in the kitchen, 23 years of which at Levy, he knows how to integrate new, innovative, and delicious flavors when creating dishes.

Chef Robin’s dog walking career lasted only a few years as the competition got tough when his brother caught on to his weekend ritual. This childhood experience was so impactful, that to this day he suggests the best drink to pair with a hot dog is root beer.