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Cranberry Sauce Makes For An Unexpected But Delicious Hot Dog Topping

cranberry sauce in a crystal bowl
cranberry sauce in a crystal bowl - Skhoward/Getty Images

Cranberry sauce on a hot dog isn't as odd as it sounds. Pairing a hot dog with fruits or berries may be jarring for some, but cranberries aren't just any fruit. Anyone familiar with their role at the Thanksgiving table knows that good cranberry sauce brings an acidic component to a meal otherwise dominated by savory richness. It's one of the reasons that a whopping 75 million cans of the sauce are sold in the United States every year, with 85% sold during the holiday season, according to The New York Times.

Sweet toppings on hot dogs are a familiar concept. For example, your typical relish brings plenty of sweetness to a hot dog. Ketchup also has plenty of sweet notes. Moreover, the Hawaiian puka dog comes with condiments made from papaya, banana, or pineapple. This proves that, for some diners, sweet fruit on a hot dog works perfectly. That said, none of these fruits are nearly as bitter or tart as cranberry sauce. However, if we think of cranberry sauce in the context of the most famous Thanksgiving meat, then other possibilities open up. It's here where we see the beginnings of how versatile this ingredient is as a condiment.

Read more: Controversial Ways People Use Ketchup

Why Cranberry Sauce Works As A Meat Condiment

turkey with cranberry sauce
turkey with cranberry sauce - Pvcrossi/Getty Images

The taste and texture of turkey differ from typical beef hot dogs. Turkey is earthy and relatively lean, whereas a hot dog tends to be distinctly salty and contains a higher amount of juicy fat. Even so, turkey's meatiness pairs famously well with cranberry sauce. However, turkey isn't the only meat that seamlessly goes hand-in-hand with jams made from sour berries.

It's a well-known fact that Swedish meatballs are often served with lingonberry jam. Another Nordic favorite frequently served with lingonberry jam is a delicate reindeer burger. Lingonberries tend to be a little sweeter than their close cousin, the cranberry, but they still have pronounced sour notes. These dishes prove how well cranberries' basic flavor profile pairs with meat.

A bit closer to home, cranberry jam on hamburgers is far from unheard of; other recipes call for mixing cranberry sauce and chili sauce as a dressing for cocktail wieners. Cranberry sauce can also be combined with mustard to create a dip for miniature pigs in blankets. And, if you can make a pig in a blanket work with cranberry sauce, you can do the same with a hot dog.

Ways To Pair Cranberry Sauce With Hot Dogs

hot dog with red sauce, white sauce, and chives
hot dog with red sauce, white sauce, and chives - fromtop/Shutterstock

If you're planning on hot dogs for dinner and are bored with ketchup and mustard, you should check for a can of cranberry sauce in the pantry. If you have one, open it up and add a few spoonfuls like any other condiment. You could stop there, but you don't have to. Go further with the holiday theme by putting your frank and cranberry sauce on a sweet potato roll instead of a regular bun. Or, add some leftover roasted Brussels sprouts to see how their nutty crunch tastes on a well-grilled dog.

Alternatively, you could go in an entirely different direction and explore how well cranberry sauce blends with other traditional hot dog toppings. For example, place thinly sliced raw onions on top of cranberry sauce or mix caramelized onions with the sauce and other spices to create a flavorful chutney. Or, blend classic yellow mustard with cranberry sauce to create a new condiment, as mentioned with the pigs in blankets. With its distinctive tang, yellow mustard helps mellow the cranberries' tartness. On the other hand, the assertive spiciness of Dijon mustard will bring that bite to the forefront. Part of the joy of cooking is experimentation, so feel free to devise your own cranberry-infused condiment recipes.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.