Grilling up hot dogs on the Fourth of July is a given. But being that they’re usually loaded with unhealthy preservatives like sodium nitrites, what’s a healthier alternative to serve your family that’s equally patriotic? Chef Brian Tsao of Mira Sushi & Izakaya in New York City has a delicious solution: the Kurobuta sausage, which are made from Berkshire pigs bred in the Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan.
“It tastes like a high–end hot dog,” says Tsao, who grew up in Flushing, New York. “It’s much more on the robust salty-smoky side with very heavy texture as well… The skin cracks a little when you bite into it.” He’ll have his own gourmet version of a classic American hot dog, Kurobuta hot dogs with a jicama mango slaw, on his menu this weekend.
“The jicama manago slaw, once you put the mango in, it’s refreshing and has lemon juice, so there’s tons of vitamin C,” he says. “It changes the texture, and the acidity and smokiness go along very well.” Tsao recommends checking your local Japanese supermarket or higher-end Korean market for the sausage. But if you can’t find them, you can still use a regular hot dog — just boil them first to reduce the amount of sodium, etc.
“When I straight-up pan fry, it’s salty as hell, so I always boil it first,” he says. “It makes it more juicy. Even if you boil it for a minute, you cook out excess salt and add water.” Tsao recommends preparing these hot dogs the night before by dropping the cold links into boiling water and pulling them out as soon as the water returns to a boil. You can put them in the fridge overnight so they’re ready for the grill when you are.
Chef Brian Tsao’s Kurobuta Hot Dogs With a Jicama Mango Slaw
12 to 15 mini Kurobuta pork sausages
12 to 15 mini hot dog buns
1 small piece of jicama, julienned
1 mango, julienned
2 red onions, sliced thinly
8 oz lemon juice
3 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp honey
3 tbsp salt
Mix the julienned jicama with salt and lemon juice, let sit overnight. The next day add sugar, honey and mango and mix well. Grill or pan roast the hot dogs. Toast the buns. Place the hot dog in the buns, top w jicama slaw and red onions and enjoy.