Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Philadelphia's Texas Tommy

     Texas Tommy!
     If you are into health food, then just skip over today's recipe!  The Texas Tommy is a Philadelphia hot dog specialty.  A Texas Tommy is a bacon wrapped cheese stuffed hot dog.  A Texas Tommy can be deep fried or baked.
      Today's recipe is the original authentic way to make a Texas Tommy.  Many modern Philadelphia restaurants have bastardized the Texas Tommy recipe and it is not as good as the original.  Modern snack bar cooks simply put a hot dog on a bun, then they top it off with strips of crisp bacon and pour warm Cheese Whiz over the entire mess.  Needless to say, this is not exactly a gourmet Texas Tommy!
     A bacon wrapped cheese stuffed hot dog is the original Texas Tommy recipe.  I am sure that you can imagine what this hot dog tastes like.  It is the warm melted cheese in the middle of the Texas Tommy that makes this hot dog so appealing.
     I was working as an expeditor and garde manger cook at a popular Philadelphia restaurant and night club back in the late 1970's the first time that I was asked to prepare a Texas Tommy for the evening sandwich special.  I asked the chef, "What is a Texas Tommy?"  He couldn't believe that I did not know what it was.  I was not a Philadelphia native, so I had never heard of a Texas Tommy before.  I ended up making about 50 Texas Tommy specials per night at, till the Texas Tommy craze was no longer popular with the clientele.  The Texas Tommy definitely appealed to the late night party crowd that liked munching on junk food while drinking and dancing the night away.
     I soon left Philadelphia to apprentice in French and Italian restaurants in Florida.  The memory of how the Texas Tommy sold like wildfire stuck in my mind.  As a sous chef, I actually did run a Texas Tommy lunch special at a French café.  There is something about a bacon wrapped cheese stuffed hot dog that even makes fine dining customers forget about maintaining a healthy diet.  The French chefs that were into American junk food liked the Texas Tommy and they liked the profit margin of this gourmet junk food lunch special even more.
     Classic American junk food currently is en vogue in France and many European countries.  Classic junk food is still the king in urban areas and Route 66 style tourist traps, where customers could care less about overpriced modern health food that would only satisfy a caged rabbit.  The Texas Tommy is a sinfully delicious temptation that reigns supreme in this modern age!

     Philadelphia Style Mustard Relish:
     This recipe yields 1 cup.
     Place 1/2 cup of dill pickle relish in a container.
     Add 1/2 cup of Dijon Mustard (or Yellow Mustard).
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Chill the Mustard Relish till it is needed.
     Texas Tommy:
     This recipe yields 1 Texas Tommy.  
     Step 1:  Heat a griddle over medium low heat.
     Place 3 or 4 strips of Hickory Smoked Bacon on the griddle.
     Blanch the bacon till some of the grease renders out and the fat turns a translucent color.
     *Do not cook the bacon crispy!  The bacon should have no brown color and it should be flexible.
     Set the blanched bacon aside on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Step 2:  Select 1 all beef ballpark style Vienna Hot Dog that weigh 4 ounces.
     Cut a slit lengthwise from almost end to end, to form a pocket in the hot dog.
     Cut some 1/4" thick sticks of Cheddar Cheese (or American Cheese).
     *Cut cheese sticks to a size that can be stuffed in the hot dog.  (Refer to the picture above.)
     Stuff the cheese strips in the hot dog till the pocket is full.
     Step 3:  Place 1 strip of the blanched bacon lengthwise over the cheese stuffed pocket.
     Hold the bacon in place with fingers.
     Step 4:  Starting at one end of the hot dog, wrap 1 strip of blanched bacon around the hot dog and fasten it in place with toothpicks.
     Continue wrapping the hot dog with strips of blanched bacon and fastening with toothpicks, till the stuffed hot dog is completely covered with bacon.
     *Be sure to slightly overlap the bacon as you wrap the hot dog, so the cheese stuffing will be sealed in.  Use as many toothpicks as necessary to hold the bacon strips in place.
     Step 5:  *There are two cooking methods for a Texas Tommy.  A Texas Tommy can be deep fried or baked.  Deep frying is traditional, but baking is better for a home kitchen.
     Place the bacon wrapped stuffed hot dog on a roasting pan.  (Try to set the Texas Tommy on the pan so the side with the cheese stuffing faces upward.)
     Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the bacon coating is golden brown and the cheese stuffing melts.
     Keep the Texas Tommy warm on a stove top.
     Step 6:  Warm 1 hot dog bun in the oven.
     Spread a thin layer of the Mustard Relish on the hot dog bun.
     Carefully pull all of the toothpicks out of the Texas Tommy.
     Place the Texas Tommy on the hot dog bun.
     Place the Texas Tommy on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with pickles of your choice and a parsley sprig.

     The Texas Tommy is a classic summertime treat!

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