Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wiener Winner

Everyone loves hot dogs. Well, except those vegetarian freaks, but they make veggie dogs for that so they can join the fun. Speaking of which, did you ever wonder what they do with the plastic shopping bags you take back to the grocery store to recycle? They make veggie dogs with them.

Now that baseball and grilling season is winding down, people ask me how to make their next deal on the grill better. How to serve up a better hot dog. Frankly, the frank makes a huge difference. A good frank will make a great hot dog and a mediocre frank can be carried by a great selection of toppings. A killer combo is a fresh bun, great tasting frank and a good array of toppings to complement the meat.

If you are looking to recreate a great tasting hot dog like you would have at the ballpark you should start with a frank served at the ballparks. Since I tested all of them, here is how your world renowned Hot Dot Explorer ranks the franks you would find at the stadium so you can cook one up at home.

First Place

If you read my blog you know I rave about the all-beef Hebrew National frank. Simply stated, I think it is the best tasting dog you can buy of any nationally available brand. It has the perfect combination of saltiness and flavor. Plus, it is kosher. A little known fact is that most people buy kosher product not for religous reasons, but for the sanitary conditions in which kosher products are made. If you have issues with the meat production ick-factor, kosher helps alleviate that. And it will taste great on the bun.

Runners Up

Nathan’s Famous is a New York staple and they do make a delicious dog. Many of the East Coast teams use Nathan’s franks. They are slightly fatty which causes them to burst with flavor.

Esskay is also a ballpark standard in many cities. While not available in every supermarket, you can’t go wrong by slapping an Esskay frank on your bun.

Regional Favorites

Nolan Ryan served up some heat from the mound in his day. Today he serves up some tasty beef, including an all-beef frank used primarily in the Texas area. If you are in the Longhorn State check out a dog with a Nolan Ryan frank.

Winter’s is a Detroit based meat manufacturer and give the Toledo Mud Hens and Detroit Tigers some serious flavor to their dog lineup. Mainly available in the greater Detroit area, and mainly delicious.

Bonus Video
If you feel uneasy about how hot dogs are made this video will help take the mystery out of the process and put your mind at ease. Sirloin it is not, but still the same cow. It is quite interesting and worth a watch.

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