For those of you who have never had the wonderful opportunity to visit Mulligan's Bar in Decatur, Georgia, suffice it to say that if you ever are on the east side of the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area, it's well worth a trip. Aside from being a relatively nice pub with great decor and atmosphere, Mulligan's serves a number of intense gastronomic delights, including their most famous dish, known as the hamdog.
A hamdog is, in the words of the menu at Mulligan's Bar, "a hot dog wrapped in a beef patty that's deep fried, covered with chili, cheese and onions, and served on a hoagie bun topped with a fried egg and two fistfuls of fries." In other words, a hamdog is a heart attack.
The legend of the hamdog had spread far and wide due to the influence of the internet until some images of this delicacy arrived in my world in late February 2005. The images of the hamdog alone caused a great devouring beast within me to awaken, a dark voice inside of me crying out the magical word. "Hamdog!" it shouted, "I must have a hamdog or I will not be sated!"
My wife, being the wonderful woman that she is, was naturally concerned for my health and managed to quiet that loud hamdog voice until the earliest days of August 2005, when she announced that she would indeed participate in the making of hamdogs for my birthday dinner later that month.
How To Make Your Very Own Hamdog - A Guide For The Culinary Challenged
Warning: Following these instructions is very dangerous and potentially stupid. It is a heart attack waiting to happen. If you actually attempt this endeavor, please precede and follow it with a steady regimen of exercise and good eating.
Disclaimer: Neither 18thCandidate nor E2 at large have any responsibility over what happens to you if you follow these instructions. If you follow them, you are the only person liable for any damage that occurs because of it, whether personal, punitive, or property damage.
After some discussion and planning (and some intense studying of pictures and growling of stomachs), we devised a method of constructing our own hamdogs, much like the ones at Mulligan's, with only one small caveat: we avoided actually deep frying the beef patties.
What follows is a step-by-step procedure of what we did that fateful day. Use this information wisely, and be sure to read the entire rest of the writeup before tacking your own hamdog.
Step One: Go to the grocery store and buy the following:
1 package of Hebrew National kosher hot dogs (or whatever your preferred hot dog brand is; I recommend getting good ones like Hebrew National, though)
2 lbs. or 1 kg ground beef (figure that you'll use a bit under half a pound or about a quarter of a kilogram of beef per hamdog)
chili (you may wish to make your own here or purchase a canned variety; I'll leave that to your own discretion, but figure a good cup per hamdog)
a package of bacon (optional, but if you go for it, figure two slices per hamdog)
shredded cheese (I recommend getting plenty of cheddar, easily a cup per hamdog if not more)
onions (these are to taste, of course)
package of hoagie buns (get big ones!)
a dozen eggs
Step Two: Get home. Chop up your onions into appropriately small pieces and set them aside. Now you're ready to start cooking.
Step Two And A Half: If you're making your own chili, do so now. Otherwise, move on to the next step.
Step Three: Separate your ground beef into chunks between 1/3 and 1/2 lb. (or about a quarter kilogram). Press these chunks into very thin and large patties, basically as thin as you can make them by hand without them falling apart regularly. The patties should ideally be oval in shape, with the narrow portion being almost as wide as your hot dogs are long. Cook these patties thoroughly, and while they're cooking, move on to steps four and five.
Step Four: Cook your hot dogs, using whatever method you prefer (grilled, boiled, etc.). Fry a number of eggs (over hard, of course) equal to the amount of hamdogs you're making.
Step Five: Make sure your chili is warm and ready to go. Prepare your hoagie buns for insertion of the hamdog. In fact, just get things ready like a big assembly line.
Step Six: Take a hot dog. Wrap it in one of the beef patties that you've cooked, and place this hot dog and beef patty combination on one of the buns. On top, place the shredded cheese, onions, and then the warm chili. Atop all of this, place your fried egg.
Step Seven: Make sure the paramedics are on standby, then enjoy your hamdog!
Recommended Side Dishes & Beverages
A fistful of french fries. A hamdog goes wonderfully with a big handful of french fries. The drippings from the hamdog (usually chili) make for a great dip for the fries, plus they go right along with the "finger food" status of the meal.
A thick Wisconsin cheese soup. Mmm... a great starter for a meal with a hamdog, or as a side dish if you're into the whole dipping concept.
A beer. Myself, I enjoy stouts with most things, but many people prefer a much lighter beer. In any case, it goes very well with a hamdog.
Some variants to the basic hamdog include:
The German Hamdog Replace the ground beef with sausage. Mmmm....
The Iowa State Fair Hamdog Make the complete hamdog and secure it with toothpicks, then roll it in eggs, then flour, then eggs, then flour again. Press a large stick into one end of the hamdog so that it is secure and can support the entire dog. Deep fry the whole thing in grease. Enjoy.
The HamHamdog Add diced ham to the chili before spooning it onto the hamdog. Adds more meaty heartiness to the sandwich.
The Cajun Hamdog Replace the hot dog with an andouille sausage and add a bit of thyme and some cajun seasoning to the chili before adding.
What's Next After Hamdog? The Luther Burger
Due to recent advances in communications technology, I was able to discover the newest addition to the menu at Mulligan's, the wonderful concoction known as the Luther Burger.
The Luther Burger consists of a relatively ordinary bacon cheeseburger, with one minor substitution. In place of the ordinary bun, the sandwich is encased in a pair of Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts.
Further culinary research and experimentation is now required.