Chow Town

Where would Julia Child get a hot dog in Chow Town?

Janet Quick with Earl Quick’s half-pound deep-fried spiral cut hot dog with chili, cheese & chopped onions.
Janet Quick with Earl Quick’s half-pound deep-fried spiral cut hot dog with chili, cheese & chopped onions. Special to The Kansas City Star

The late Julia Child, international culinary icon, loved hot dogs. She called them “hot dogs,” with emphasis on dogs. If she could miraculously appear here today, where would Julia find her favorite hot dog?

Some of her obvious hot dog options would include tailgate dogs and stadium dogs at The K and Arrowhead, creative dogs at the New York Dawg Pound and Sonic, plus a few barbecue joints, neighborhood block parties and Chow Town backyards.

I wonder if Julia would have liked the dogs in our local barbecue joints. Some don’t offer hot dogs. Others relegate dogs to the kids menu. Several ramp up the dog to serious adult-level delicious feasting.

Two remarkable dogs that come to mind are the Chili Dog at Johnny’s Bar-B-Q in Mission and Olathe, and the Big Dog at Earl Quick’s Bar-B-Q in Kansas City, Kan.

Johnny White’s Chili Dog features one large all-beef split, deep-fried dog, centered on a hamburger bun, topped with Johnny’s ground beef-and-beans chili, dill chips, sliced purple onion and pickled jalapeno slices on the side. Mustard, ketchup or barbecue sauce is optional.

Earl Quick’s Big Dog is a half-pound deep-fried spiral-cut hot dog loaded with ground beef chili, shredded cheese and chopped onion. Condiments are available with this one too, but as with Johnny’s chili dog, Quick’s Big Dog is big on flavor as is.

We’ll never know what Julia might have said about Johnny’s Chili Dog or Earl Quick’s Big Dog.

We know with certainty that if she craved a hot dog in Chow Town, one mandatory stop would be Costco for a fourth-pound all-beef dog with mustard, chopped onions and sauerkraut. Costco’s, and Nathan’s Famous foot-long all-beef hot dogs, were her known favorites. She also reportedly stocked up on airport hot dogs to eat in first class. Hot dogs aside, she would no doubt also sample a fair share of our world famous barbecue.

One last note: Red, all-pork hot dogs haven’t taken hold yet in Chow Town. Viewing John Bray’s Red Hot Dog Digest makes me wish Kansas City had our own versions of a Corner Dog House, Dip Dog Stand, Skeeter’s and Dude’s Drive-In.

Kudos to Larry Smith, John Bray and Fred W. Sauceman of East Tennessee State University for producing this tasty, enlightening documentary. American history buffs will discover a connection between our first defacto female POTUS and red hot dogs in the documentary. A limited number of DVDs are available free. Email Fred Sauceman for details.

Bon appetit!