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FOURTH OF JULY MAILBAG, PT. 1: FOOD

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Pushing the boundaries of salads, figuring out how to top our hot dogs, and eventually just getting drunk and shooting off fireworks because no one can agree.

2017 US College Football Sydney Cup Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Goddamn, we asked for Mailbag questions...and y’all brought it. As your reward, we’ll be parceling these out throughout the day—food and drink now, AMERICA! later, and work- and football-related stuff...possibly tomorrow? We’ll see how motivated I am.

As my selfish aside, since I have you [ed. note: Who are you kidding, MNW; they’ve all skipped to the comments], I want to thank you guys for making B1G 2019 such a great time so far this year. We’ve had great previews, great debates, great hate...and while it stuns me that nine years into this, it’s still kicking, it’s a testament to our readers past and present.

But it’s America Week! We’re sitting back and enjoying some of the greatest things about the U S of goddamn A: Mostly beer, fireworks, injuring ourselves with beer and fireworks, and then having shitty opinions about said beer.

Alright, fuck all that, let’s talk about gorging ourselves on grilled meat, loosely-defined salads, and lots of booze.

MAILBAG POTLUCK: FOOD EDITION

Potato salad, macaroni salad, or Snickers salad??? Bonus question: should your potato salad contain mustard? --mnfanstc

BrianB2: I had to look up Snickers salad, that is the most midwestern thing ever, you all should be ashamed of yourselves. I probably won’t be eagerly reaching for any of those things, but I would probably go for potato salad first, and a little spicy brown in there can’t hurt.

Thumpasaurus: Macaroni salad if that’s the only list of options, but hot damn, give me a crisp cool three bean salad any Fourth of July and I’m delighted.

Ray: What the hell is Snickers...ohhh...ohh that’ll do nicely.

Beez: Do baked beans count as a salad? Yes? Baked beans.

Boilerman31: Potato salad, only if it’s the German variety.

MC ClapYoHandz: I’ve already gone full-on #basic in day-to-day life and go the kale and/or spinach route for salads. But for the 4th, let’s be real, none of these are being considered. Give me a pulled pork sandwich with burger patties as the buns. Give me anything that makes sense on a charcoal grill. Maybe I’ll have the Snickers salad after.

Creighton: I’m not a huge fan of any picnic dish labeled as a “salad”, but given the choice of those three I’ll take the one with the candy bars in it.

Candystripes: Pasta salad.

Jesse: Snickers Salad. I’m 100% making this and you can’t stop me.

As for potato salad containing mustard, it sort of depends. If you already have a bunch of vinegar or vinegar-tinged things (see also: pickle juice and relish), mustard is really just compounding the acidity and unnecessary. If you just loaded the hell out of things with mayo, please for the love of god put mustard in it.

BRT: Potato salad, with that mustardy zing.

MNW: As a matter of fact, I made Snickers salad for a family gathering just last week. And so can you! Ready?

  • Make a box of instant vanilla pudding to the package’s specifications
  • Beat in an 8-oz tub of Cool Whip.
  • You know what? You’re gonna want more than just that pissant little bit. Go back and double the recipe.
  • Cut up a Granny Smith apple or two into smallish cubes (about .06 cubic inches—I’d give it to you in centimeters, because that’s a much more whole number, but this is the Fourth). Mix them in.
  • Cut up a bunch of bite-sized Snickers into similarly-sized bites. You can’t do too many of these. If you don’t want to shell out for Snickers, you cheapskate, my mom makes a similar recipe using the Fudge Striped shortbread cookies (it is very good, but oddly, she still calls it Snicker bar salad).

Enjoy. You are welcome.

Poll

YOU answer the question, wise guy/gal:

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Potato salad with lots of mustard
    (26 votes)
  • 11%
    Potato salad with minimal to no mustard
    (12 votes)
  • 13%
    Macaroni salad
    (14 votes)
  • 10%
    Pasta salad wait this wasn’t an option, Candystripes
    (11 votes)
  • 6%
    Kale/spinach salad what the fuck are you even doing here, MC Clap?
    (7 votes)
  • 30%
    Snickers salad
    (31 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now

Ranking hot dog condiments with mustard, coleslaw, chili, sauerkraut, ketchup, bacon, cheese and of course it has to be all 100% beef. --MartinDB

BrianB2: You should probably reference the comments section in my dumb article from earlier in the week.

I, personally, would put those in this order: Chili, cheese, bacon, mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut. I don’t think I have ever put coleslaw on any kind of tubed meat, so I can’t say. I suppose we can all rest easy knowing relish didn’t even garner consideration.

Thumpasaurus: Sauerkraut doesn’t count because it doesn’t really go on a 100% beef hot dog, it’s for German, Polish and Ukrainian sausages. Cheese isn’t really much good on a hot dog without chili. Coleslaw is what the hell are you doing. Bacon doesn’t really work on a hot dog with a bun now does it? I mean are we talkin bacon bits? Therefore:

Chili+cheese, chili, relish, stone ground mustard, ketchup, Chris Ash’s arm hair, yellow mustard.

The Portillo’s Chicago dog is how to do it properly.

Beez: Mustard, (relish), ketchup, chili, slaw, I guess cheese. Nothing else makes the list. Stop putting bacon on everything.

Ray: Ketchup is #1 due to versatility. Mustard is at #2 on account of its robust flavor platform. Relish is #3 due to the sweetness upside. Bacon sizzles at 4. I’ve got chilli and cheese tied at 5 due to butt dragons. Sauerkraut at number 6 because its gross.

MC: Let’s grill some onions and call it a day. But if you insist. I’ll go sauerkraut, then chili, then bacon, then ketchup, then cheese, then the rest can die in a fire. Chicago dogs also work.

Creighton: The only one of those ingredients I would consider is mustard. I’m partial to Chicago style dogs with mustard, tomato wedges, pickle spear, celery salt, and a pepper.

Jesse: Chili is my favorite topping, but only if we can go full Coney and have cheese sauce. Otherwise it’s something like: Ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, bacon, and uh… I dunno, this is getting a little out of hand.

BRT: I’m having a brat—not sure why you’d bother with a hot dog over the age of about 8. That out of the way, we’ll go mustard, sauerkraut… none of the rest of those things belong on a brat, but I’d add onions and relish.

MNW: BRT is 100% right. I personally am not a mustard person (just sauerkraut on a brat is enough for me), but I’m even MORE not a ketchup person. Ketchup people can die in a shitty grill fire.

Things that belong on a hot dog: Chili. Cheese. Maybe some onions, if I’m feeling frisky. Full stop.

The city of Chicago is ready for another cleansing fire any day now, and most of all because it created and now has sustained this insufferable Portillo’s/Chicago dog bullshit that means whenever a question like this is asked, 85 “Chicago” bros who moved from Naperville to Lakeview after getting their business degree at Iowa (yes, they love Sluggers, why do you ask) will poke their head out of whatever shitty cubicle they reside in and deign to present you with the same tired take that Thump listed above.

Chicagoans are to hot dogs what people from St. Louis are to baseball.

Poll

What’s the best condiment for a hot dog?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Ketchup
    (25 votes)
  • 39%
    Chili (and cheese)
    (44 votes)
  • 12%
    Relish
    (14 votes)
  • 25%
    /pokes head out of Chicago consulting firm cubicle "Well ACTUALLY—"
    (29 votes)
112 votes total Vote Now

What’s your drink/beer for the holiday? And what’s the best food pairing in your opinion to go with said drink (individual food, not a full course plate) --Lions_Tigers_Wings_Oh_MI

BrianB2: My go to drink is beer, but I don’t necessarily have a go-to beer. The haze craze is mildly conducive to enjoying a beverage in the great outdoors in July, or perhaps a nice easy drinking pale ale. I don’t tend to pair food with beer to often as I have the stomach of an adolescent boy and tend to get full easily, but a nice soft pretzel goes well with just about any beer.

Ray: Shandy for freedom! Is there anything more American that to say “Screw you convention. I know a better way.” Don’t let the staid naysayers get you down. Enjoy the sweet nectar of life.

Beez: 8-12 cans of Ruby Redbird by Shiner. I stand with Ray on this.

Thumpasaurus: Bourbon on the rocks is an underrated American thing for the Fourth of July. The great thing about bourbon is that until Pappy came along, it was hard to spend three figures on a bottle even if you were trying to. Good American whiskey is still plenty affordable, and it has sweeter characteristics than its counterparts from the British Isles.

MC: Beer. The hotter it is, the more likely it is that I’m living the High Life. Burgers to pair; there’s a reason it’s popular.

Boilerman31: Whatever is ice cold and in my fridge. Give me a Johnsonville Brat smothered in sauerkraut to go with that bad boy.

Creighton: The Fourth is one of the few days of the year where I’ll let down my snobby facade and drink some cheap American beer. MC is spot on with the High Life (they’re killer in the heat), but I’ll gladly accept a Rolling Rock or a Miller Lite or whatever else you’ve got. I’m also going to keep some Dale’s Pale Ale and Pilsner Urquell on hand.

Jesse: Ice cold lemonade. Sure, it’s boring, but it’s also great when it’s 110 degrees out so here we are.

MNW: First: Naturdays.

Second: In our conversation the other day about our shittiest beer takes, I realized that I just cannot get into dark beers right now. I used to be one of those heathens who could pop a stout in the middle of summer and suck down that motor oil like it was a glass of water in the desert.

No more. I have passed into the stage of my life characterized by old white man beer tut-tutting. We have Castle Danger Summer Crush, Short’s Soft Parade, and lots of Spotted Cow and Mich Golden Light in the fridge for after the first two are gone and we want our piss to taste vaguely like our beer.

If you were making me choose a drink, though, give me a Grain Belt, on a boat, while I eat some disgustingly-decadent cream cheese-based dip with a pudgy fistful of torilla chips.

Poll

What’s your Fourth of July beer of choice?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    An easy-drinking pale ale
    (13 votes)
  • 13%
    SHANDYYYYYYYYYY (Ruby Redbird, Leinie’s, or otherwise)
    (14 votes)
  • 9%
    High Life, baby
    (10 votes)
  • 13%
    Whatever’s cold
    (14 votes)
  • 15%
    Just gimme a cheap American domestic, and I’m happy.
    (17 votes)
  • 9%
    Lemonade, as I am the wife of Rutherford B. Hayes
    (10 votes)
  • 8%
    Naturdays!
    (9 votes)
  • 5%
    Grain Belt
    (6 votes)
  • 13%
    Other
    (14 votes)
107 votes total Vote Now