Tailgating recipe: Samba Dogs

As "Barbecue Bible" author Steven Raichlen points out in "Raichlen's Tailgating! 31 Righteous Recipes for On-the-Go Grilling," his latest ebook, "Long before NASCAR and the Super Bowl, there was tailgating. This distinctly American institution dates back to 1869, and probably earlier, when Rutgers and Princeton played their first intercollegiate football game. Students gathered before the contest to drink and socialize, so legend goes, serving their picnics on the lowered tailgates of horse-drawn wagons."

We've all seen or heard about elaborate tailgating setups — the limos and silver candelabras, the plasma-screen TVs and military-strength sound systems. There's even a company in California that will customize your pickup truck with built-in grills and refrigerated beer kegs. Tailgating has been embraced not just by football fans but by baseball, soccer, and racing enthusiasts. According to the American Tailgaters Association, more than 20 million Americans participated in these over-the-top parties last year."


You might be surprised to find that Raichlen has included recipes and a technique for grilling hot dogs in his new book. After all, as he says, "What could be easier than popping a tube steak on the grill? Even if you're a total neophyte and you've never grilled anything else, you've probably grilled a hot dog." However, Raichlen's recipe for Samba Dogs, which he first sampled from a street vendor outside a samba school in Rio, will make you think twice about ever serving a plain old hot dog at your tailgate again. Why not try this recipe, which crowns the grilled dogs with an electrifying relish of corn, tomatoes, peas, black and green olives, and hard-cooked eggs?

Steven Raichlen's Samba Dogs

Makes: 8 hot dogs

Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes

Prep time: You can make the relish up to 2 hours ahead.

1 large egg, hard-cooked and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 red ripe medium-size tomato, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 cup corn kernels, freshly cooked or drained canned corn

1/4 cup cooked fresh or frozen green peas or drained canned petits pois

1/4 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 cup pitted black olives, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 cup diced red onion

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste


coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

8 best-quality hot dogs

8 best-quality hot dog buns, split

Place the egg, tomato, corn, peas, green and black olives, onion, olive oil, and vinegar in a medium-size mixing bowl and toss gently but thoroughly to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more vinegar and salt and pepper to taste; the relish should be highly seasoned.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the hot dogs on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until crusty and nicely browned all over, 6 to 8 minutes in all.

Meanwhile, toast the hot dogs buns, cut side down, on the grill until golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Watch the buns closely; they can burn quickly.

Serve the hot dogs on the toasted buns, topped with the relish.

Recipe courtesy of "Raichlen's Tailgating! 31 Righteous Recipes for On-the-Go Grilling" by Steven Raichlen