Carla Hall's Most Memorable Meal Of 2023 Was At A Hot Dog Cook-Off - Exclusive

Food Network television personality, cookbook author, and esteemed chef Carla Hall knows a thing or two about cultivating a memorable meal. Famous for her appearances on numerous hit culinary shows, including ABC's "The Chew" and Bravo's "Top Chef", Hall is skilled in the art of making cooking joyous and delicious. Tasting Table sat down with Hall at this year's New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) where she shared the surprising and delightful details of the best meal she ate in 2023.

"You know what's so crazy? This 4th of July, I was at a friend's house. They were doing a hot dog cook-off and I love hot dogs. It's like, yeah, I love hot dogs. And the hot dog that won, it was a quarter-pounder hot dog, and it was from Happy to Meat You," Hall revealed. Happy to Meat You is a Chicago-based, family-owned butcher that specializes in high-quality steaks and chops. "[That hot dog] was so delicious, the bun, everything about it. It was so great," she gushed.

A day of hot dogs

The Fourth of July is synonymous with backyard cookouts, grilled meats, and comforting American classics like apple pie and potato salad. Hot dogs are regularly the stars of the show at these celebrations, but not often enough do we see this menu staple elevated to include unique preparations and toppings that harken back to regional hot dog specialties. Fortunately for Hall and her love of hot dogs, the selection she experienced this Fourth of July was exceptionally vast.

"Actually, on that same day, I had a really good turkey hot dog – that was unexpected. And I don't even remember the brand because if I remembered the brand, I would tell you. But it was just a day of hot dogs." Turkey hot dogs are a wonderful substitute for those looking for a lower fat content, but still hoping to enjoy the quintessential taste of a hot dog on a toasted bun. 

Interested in something with a little more gravitas? Another hit at the backyard celebration Hall so fondly recalls was a hot dog inspired by a French culinary classic. "We had one that was like a French onion soup hot dog. With caramelized onions and Gruyère cheese and all of that on the hot dog. It was amazing."