Perfect Pairings: Trick Dogs & Trick Dog Aperitifs

 trick dog trick dog aperitif

The English proverb, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” in Russian translates as, “You can’t sit on two chairs,” and in German, it goes something like “You can’t dance at two weddings.” Despite the language that saying is one of the saddest of all times. Which is why my love for Trick Dog in San Francisco, California prevails. Let me explain.

It is my all-too-frequent experience that one must choose whether to patronize a place that serves delicious food or one that serves delicious drinks when going out. While the continued interest in craft cocktails has resulted in more and more restaurants offering delectable beverages like the Old Fashioned, a Whiskey Sour with egg white and the 007-approved Vesper alongside their food items, one still typically must weigh whether a desire for great food and meh drinks or killer drinks and meh food wins out.

Unless you go to Trick Dog, where you can get both in equal measure. With a (twice yearly) rotating menu of drinks and snacks presented as part menu/part art project, as much thought has been given to things on plates as things in glasses.

What’s this about part art? Trick Dog’s menus have been designed, variously, as an ode to Pantone chips, horoscopes, a children’s book and in its present iteration, an airline safety manual: Trick Dog Airways — For Your Safety. It’s worth going down a rabbit hole to check out all 10.

But with all this change, one thing has remained constant: “The Trick Dog Aperitif has appeared on every single menu,” says Trick Dog’s Founder, Josh Harris. “As well as the Trick Dog; obviously our most popular food item.”

Below are Trick Dog’s recipes for both the Trick Dog and the Trick Dog Aperitif. So pop in The Mama’s & Papa’s San Francisco and have fun recreating this perfect pairing at home!

Trick Dogs

Makes about 30 Trick Dogs


1 small-medium sized (roughly 7.5 lbs) brisket with almost all excess fat removed. Leave some—that’s the tasty part.

5 lbs. of Chuck

Sesame seed hotdog buns (don’t mind those black sesame seeds in the drawing—that’s some artistic license right there.)

Sliced iceberg lettuce

Diced yellow onion

Dill pickles

House-made Doggy Sauce*

Cut meat into small enough pieces to put through a meat grinder.* Grind the meat twice—don’t over work it or it will lost its texture and become meat paste.

Portion into 4 oz. balls

Using the smaller side of a quarter sheet tray,[3] form and roll the balls into logs so they are the same size of the smaller end of the sheet tray.

Heat a flat pan on top of the stove to 350 degrees. Place Trick Dogs onto the pan, season with salt, and flatten with grill spatula until it’s half an inch thick.

Butter the inside and outside of hotdog buns, then place onto the cooler side of the flat top to toast.

Flip Trick Dogs when there’s a nice sear or crust on the bottom—should take a few minutes.

Add a few cracks of black pepper and a piece of cheddar cheese.

Flip hotdog buns so the other side can toast.

Cover Trick Dogs with a basting cover which is a domed cover that quickly and easily melts cheese on hamburgers. If you don’t have one, try using a large non-flammable bowl or dome a piece of aluminum foil. until cheese has melted and the temperature is medium rare.

Remove Trick Dogs from grill and let them rest while you remove buns from grill and smear Doggy Sauce on the tops and bottoms.

On the bottoms of the buns, add some diced yellow onions and 4 slices of dill pickles.

Place Trick Dogs on top of he pickles and add sliced iceberg lettuce.

Cover with top of bun.

Enjoy!

*If you don’t happen to have a meat grinder lying around…here’s some advice for grinding meat with a food processor.

*While the recipe for Doggy Sauce is proprietary, you could approximate its ridic deliciousness by combining Sriracha, mayo (preferably homemade) and pickle relish. 

Trick Dog Aperitif

1oz. Hidalgo amontillado sherry

1oz. Gran Classico Bitter

1oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth

Glass — some cute little thing

Garnish — lemon zest and peel

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.

Add ice and stir until well chilled and diluted. 

Strain into a cute little glass over a couple square cubes. 

Express lemon zest on top drink and place twisted peel on top of the drink.  

Now you can have your Dogs and eat and drink them too! Don’t forget to wear some flowers in your hair while dining and let us know how your Dogs turned out!! Send pics!!!