Fun In A Bun: How To Make D.C.-Style Spicy Half Smokes

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Food blogger Daina Falk (daughter of renowned sports agent David Falk) just published a cookbook of her favorite tailgating dishes. From rookie recipes to legendary snacks, entrees and desserts, The Hungry Fan's Game Day Cookbook has a winner for every sports fan out there.

Jeff Green is a fellow Marylander and such a great guy. He is one of my favorites of my dad's clients and also one of the first that was in college when I was. Jeff is a big food fan like I am, and when I asked him what his favorite sports food is, he quickly replied D.C.-style spicy half smokes served with potato salad and honey barbecue baked beans. (I think someone used to frequent the classic D.C. spot Ben's Chili Bowl.) Here you have Jeff's half smokes recipe. Per his advice, serve these with potato salad and my BBQ Baked Beans.

Reprinted with permission from The Hungry Fan's Game Day Cookbook

Fun In A Bun: How To Make D.C.-Style Spicy Half Smokes
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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 1 Fresno chili pepper
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck beef
  • 1 tablespoon Yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 6 jumbo hot dogs
  • 6 hot dog buns
  • Hot mustard
  • 1 small red onion
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic, onion, and chili pepper, and sauté until the onions start to become translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, and stir in the ground beef, mustard, mustard seeds, cumin, salt, 1 tablespoon of the chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well, and cook for about 12 minutes, using a spoon to break up the clumps of meat.
  2. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for 4 minutes. Add the vinegar, and deglaze the skillet, stirring well and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, another 4 minutes.
  3. Melt the butter in a separate medium skillet over medium. Add the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon chili powder, and stir well. Slowly pour in the broth, whisking continuously to remove any clumps. Continue to cook, reducing the liquid by a quarter while continuously whisking, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the chili and mix well to combine. Cook for 5 minutes over medium, continuing to stir.
  5. Preheat your grill. Slice the hot dogs lengthwise about three-quarters of the way through, and then grill them, cut sides down, for about 8 minutes. Spread mustard inside each bun, if desired. Place a hot dog in each, and top with a large scoop of chili. Sprinkle with some red onions.
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