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Screaming Trees are a greater band than Nirvana, and definitely greater than Pearl Jam. It is somewhat sad that after all these years, they remain one of the lesser known bands from the Grunge Years and only achieved one top ten single compared to the chart-topping drivel of Eddie Vedder. Sweet Oblivion is one of my Top Ten “All Killer No Filler” albums. When most of his contemporaries were screaming their angst into the endless void, Mark Lanegan gave us true heartfelt emotion in blues-tinged vocals. Screaming Trees certainly trafficked in the musical bastard of punk rock and heavy metal known as grunge, but their musicianship and layered arrangements set them apart from most of the scene. Screaming Trees broke up in 2000, never really getting above cult status in my opinion, but at least we still have the beautiful and brilliant solo music of Mark Lanegan. In honor of one of the most underappreciated bands to come out of the Seattle Grunge scene, I’ve named this hot dog after their greatest album.
I’ve never been to Seattle but I’m a fan of regional hot dog styles. I’m particularly interested in places that use what might be considered atypical dog toppings. I think we all can agree cream cheese is an odd topping choice, but not completely without a certain precedent. There are a wide variety of hot dog recipes using cheese sauce, both domestically and internationally, with quite a few using that cheese sauce as a counter to spicy chili. So, pairing spicy jalapenos with cream cheese spread, while at first blush is an outlier, is actually a fairly logical choice especially if you operate a hot dog cart. Keeping cheese sauce in a non-gluelike form on the street requires far more logistics than keeping a block of cream cheese soft yet cold.
The traditional Seattle dog uses raw jalapenos, but I’m opting for a little sweet heat with the BGC house pickled jalapeno, Rock Candy Jalapenos. You could also use regular pickled jalapenos or even some roasted jalapenos. Whatever you choose, do not skip adding the fried onions and sauerkraut. They add a nice savory layer to the finished dog topped off with a nice acid hit of yellow mustard.
SWEET OBLIVION DOG
All beef hot dog, cream cheese, fried onions & sauerkraut, pickled jalapenos, yellow mustard, hot sauce
Makes 2 sandwiches
2 all beef hot dogs
2 soft hot dog buns
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flake
2 tablespoons sauerkraut
In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Sprinkle the spices over the softened onions and continue cooking until onions begin to brown. Add the sauerkraut to the onion pan and mix thoroughly. Saute for 2-3 minutes until sauerkraut is heated through and has a little color. Reduce heat to very low to keep warm while cooking the hot dogs.
Grill, broil or pan fry the hot dogs until brown and slightly crispy. Toast the buns. Spread a liberal amount of cream cheese inside each bun. Place a hot dog in the cream cheese. Top with (in this order) onions & sauerkraut, hot sauce, yellow mustard, and pickled jalapenos.