Alaska is well known for its reindeer hot dogs. There used to be a famous hot dog cart in Anchorage where the owner served reindeer dogs slathered in caramelized onions deglazed with Coca-Cola. My version is a nod to that nostalgic local favorite, with onions cooked in hard cider, served with robust grainy mustard and a dill pickle spear. If you don’t have access to reindeer hot dogs, a substantial locally made hot dog or bratwurst would be a fantastic substitute. Save some cider to drink with your dogs.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large onion (such as Vidalia), sliced
- Salt and ground black pepper
- ½ cup hard apple cider
- 4 reindeer hot dogs or bratwurst
- 4 hot dog buns, toasted
- Grainy mustard
- 4 dill pickle spears
- In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, spreading the slices out so they make direct contact with the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until tender, golden, and beginning to caramelize. Deglaze the pan with the hard cider. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the alcohol has cooked out and the mixture has thickened. Keep warm.
- Meanwhile, cook the hot dogs or bratwurst on the grill or in a hot skillet until cooked through in the center and browned on the exterior.
- To assemble the hot dogs, lay each cooked hot dog inside a warm bun. Top with a generous heap of cider onions. Drizzle each dog with grainy mustard and top each with a pickle spear.