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Speed's new dog

As a properly festive start to my birthday celebrations, Allstonian and I stopped at Speed's on our way out of town for lunch. While our dogs were grilling, I asked what action had been taken about the plans he'd spoken of when I'd gotten my last fix, of replacing Pearl as his vendor because he'd grown dissatisfied with the quality and consistency of the dogs he was getting from them. His answer, "Yeah, these are the new dogs here. They're from (sorry, I didn't get the name) in Connecticut, but they're OUR dogs. They make them special for us, and no one else has them."

So I had one of the new Speed dogs, and if anything, the new dog is even better than the old Pearl item. For one thing, believe it or not, it's actually slightly bigger. The casing, at the points where he slashes the dog on the grill, crisps up beautifully. It's juicy as anything, beefy-tasting with a nice subtle garlic kick, and perfectly textured, neither too coarse nor too pasty. You wouldn't think this hot dog could get better, but somehow it did.

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  1. Well... you just justified another trip into town. Thanks for the report.

    1. I actually was hoping you'd say they had a regular sized dog in addition to the jumbos.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joanie

        Totally agree. I know, I know, most folks would never complain about having too much to eat but those dogs are just monstrous. I'd be happy with one half the size. Good excuse to bring someone else with you and split it, I guess.

      2. When you mentioned they're from "somewhere in CT", I'm wondering if they could be from Bogner's in Manchester.....??

        1 Reply
        1. re: Science Chick

          A qualified maybe. It was kind of noisy (idling trucks nearby, that sort of thing) and I just didn't catch the name, but Bogner's does fit the rhythm of what he said. Someone else will have to ask, I guess.

        2. I have been going to Speed's for a while, not back in the 80s a while but several years. Pre-PG anway :)

          There is something different about Speed's since Larry the Grillman and Speed stopped working the truck. At first blush everything seems the same except that it's not. Greg is a nice guy, the process seems unchanged, the toppings similar… I can't put my finger on it.

          Maybe it's a somatic response to seeing new grill guy. I don't think that Speed has jumped the shark but something is different

          9 Replies
          1. re: ac106

            I sure wish there could be some consensus as to whether Speed's is as quality as before.

              1. re: applehome

                Yeah you either like it or you don't, who cares what the consensus is :)

                I'm still trying to get out there for my inaugural dog ... now that it looks like they have saturday hours it might just happen - although now I"m confused as to whether they're still in Newmarket Sq or over in Quincy.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                    Anyone know if they'll be around this Saturday, what with the holiday weekend and all?

                    1. re: jgg13

                      He will not be around over the weekend. He said maybe next year he'll open on the 4th.

                1. re: applehome

                  Because I live in NH and it's a pain for me to get there.

                  1. re: observor

                    Some discussion of the value of consensus has been moved over to the Not About Food board. You can find it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/535263

              2. re: ac106

                I know at least one other hound agrees that Speed's has changed. Not necessarily for the bad, but different.

                Something about the cleaning of the old grills, IIRC.

                Ultimately, the speed dog is a little sweet for my taste, but it remains on of my favorite Boston houndly experiences.

              3. I stopped by for my first time ever yesterday, and got 4 cooked dogs to go. They were huge and delicious as heralded here. I also asked if I could buy some dogs uncooked, so I could make my own at home, and picked up a sealed package of 10 for $22. The label was torn off in various places just enough so that I can't make out the manufacturer info, and somehow I'm thinking that was not by accident.

                FYI, I went to Russo's today and asked the deli if they sell the Pearl dogs raw, and they do: $4.98/lb, and the guy said they average about 4 to a pound. I didn't get any today since I have the 10 from Speed's but will next time so I can compare them.

                4 Replies
                1. re: tbiscaia

                  I tried a Pearl hotdogs from my market the other after reading that these were the dogs used at the popular hotdog places/carts. While I liked it much better than your average supermarket frank, I have to say I think the Boars Head ones are still much better (the natural casing version - much better snap to it). Are the raw ones that different in taste? Is that maybe the route to go?

                  1. re: kobuta

                    When I said "raw" I meant ungrilled, just straight out of the package. Aren't all hot dogs already pre-cooked in some way? Wondering now...

                    1. re: tbiscaia

                      That's what I thought too, but since people keep raving about Pearl's, I thought I was missing something. I guess I'll stick to my Boar's Heads.

                    2. re: kobuta

                      I've been eating Pearls for years and just tried my first Boars Head about 2 weeks ago, because they didn't have Pearls at the store I was shopping at. I'm now a Boars Head convert. Delish!.

                  2. When I saw the title of this thread, I was temporarily horrified that the post was going to say something like "the new dog isn't as tasty" or "the new dogs are smaller"

                    Whew! I wonder when he actually made the switch, was today the first day?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                      I thought it might say the new dog is a labradoodle.

                    2. Talked to Greg today about the new dogs. He changed them a little over a month ago from Pearl country clubs to Bogner's custom dogs.
                      For what it's worth ... I think they're even better than the Pearl's. This coming from a Pearl fanatic.
                      Although it's less about the actual dog itself, at Speeds. It's more about the respect and treatment the dog receives once they get their hands on them

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: FastTalkingHighTrousers

                        I will tell you what I think is the difference.
                        When speed was working, you had to wait for the dogs. He would cook one order at a time and if there were 3 people in front of you, you were there for 30 minutes at least. Now, I don't mention this as a bad thing, you have to wait for the best things in life. The waiting just intensified your hunger, you would smell the dogs grilling, you would talk to others around you and the anticipation would build up. And when you got your order, and you were standing over the hood of your car.....
                        To me, that’s the difference. The Hot dog is just as good, as are the toppings and the buns. It's just the anticipation that’s missing


                        1. re: gutterman

                          Perfect accessment, I agree completely.
                          There was just something incredibly appealing and charming about watching Speed make his dogs, one at a time. It was just as much about the anticipatory experience as it was about actually eating the dog. Now it's mostly about the dog (and it's still a great one.)

                      2. I was kind of wigged out by this news, but I'm relieved to concur that the new dog is an improvement over the Pearl, which I always loved. Phew!

                        Does anyone know where the new guys' website is? I swear I came across one online not too long ago, but finding it again has defeated my Google skills (I'm not talking about the many laudatory blog entries about Speed's out there.)

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          Does anyone know how late Speed sticks around?

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Does anyone ever go get a breakfast dog at 9:30?

                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                Um, me, right after BFP's report. I couldn't wait to see whether the new guy had ruined the Speed's experience. I was not the only one there.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  So, what's your take on the new dogs, or are you saving it for publication... can you give us a preview? So far the concensus seems mostly positive, but since I never got to try the old version I'm curious to hear more informed opinions.

                                  1. re: tbiscaia

                                    I think BFP pretty much nailed the flavor/texture of the Bogner dog. I can't detect any appreciable differences in the cooking technique or condiments. Greg is definitely speedier than Speed.

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      I guess I have a confession to make: I didn't really notice the change in dogs until I read this thread. Even though I've only started visiting Speed's wagon for a couple months, I know I've had the Pearl dog, only because during one of my first visits I remember seeing an empty carton with their label on it, in back of the trailer.

                                      In addition, I've been experimenting with the different toppings, ordering seemingly different combination each time. So almost every visit to Speed's has tasted different to me anyway.

                                      A few visits ago, I ordered mustard-only, and remembered the dog tasting especially good that day. That must have been my first taste of the new dog.

                                      Since reading BFP's post, I have noticed the charred casing, the slightly bigger dog, and I'll add that it seems to curl a little bit more in the bun. Also I think it's a tiny bit more salty (which is a good thing, complementing the sweet sauce).

                                  2. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Cool. Hey, sausage, bread...all part of a balanced breakfast.

                                  3. re: tatamagouche

                                    I had planned to get there yesterday by about 10AM..but got sidetracked by the aircraft carrier tour in Southie (worth doing).

                                    Got to Speed's about 11:30..short, manageable wait. Thought the dog was better than ever.

                                    One other point..though there was a certain charm in Speed's slow deliberate method, it was also very easy to make the trip and find that Speed's wasn't there..not charming, disappointing. Particularly if you've travelled a good distance.

                                    Greg sems to be pretty dependable..and freely gives out his ph #..Chris posted below. I doubt Speed would have been out in yesterday's near 90 degree heat.

                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                This is the closest I could find, not sure if it's the website you mean, but it has pictures of Speed (I did not meet him yet and had no idea what he looks like) and the stand:


                                If it's actually a chowhound competitor site, feel free to delete this post.

                                1. re: tbiscaia

                                  Nope, that's one of the laudatory blogs I was referring to, probably the definitive fan post on Speed's that I've seen. So, still looking for Speed's new owners' website.

                                    1. re: Hambone Willy

                                      Wait a minute...Does that mean we can hire "Speed" for a private event!?!? Holy cow! I got dibs!!!

                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                        He does catering....but I dont' know if he brings the hot dog truck or the scallops wrapped in bacon to those gigs.

                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                          I wonder how my fiancée would feel about an all-Speeds wedding reception.

                                          1. re: Alcachofa

                                            If she's against it, just make it a Speed's bachelor party instead

                                            (awesome Crow T Robot pic in your profile BTW )

                                            1. re: Alcachofa

                                              I don't know, but the guests would sure be happy.

                                  1. Placeification:

                                    Speed's Hotdog Wagon
                                    54 Newmarket Square, Boston, MA 02118

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                      I tried the new dog today. While the new dogs look different, the difference in taste is not significant IMHO - maybe a little better. The Speed's dog is 95% the experience and preparation and the other 5% is the sausage. I give Greg a great deal of credit for keeping the wagon going and sharing the opportunity for those like me who never met Speed. Even without the legendary long cooking time of Speed, the dog is still hands down the best in my experience.

                                      1. re: laulauman

                                        How do Speed's dogs compare to Fearless Franks by Niman Ranch? Those are the standard by which I compare all hot dogs.

                                        1. re: greenstate

                                          The Fearless Frank is a fine dog, but in my opinion, Speed's current dogs taste better: they're really flavorful without being over-spiced the way some dogs (Nathan's, for example) can be.

                                    2. Since nobody has mentioned this, and I keep forgetting, Greg now has a couple of little plastic picnic tables set up next to the truck, so you don' t have to stand in the middle of nowhere or drip chili on the hood of your car. This might get my award for Most Lopsided Flavor-to-Glamour Ratio in Boston Patio Dining.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                        I was there yesterday and saw the benches. I just figured that was a weekday thing as I'd only ever been on Saturdays. In some ways I thought the bench hindered things ... well, it wouldn't have to but it led me to rolling the wrapper out and eating more "normally" than keeping the dog all under wraps and revealing more as I went down. It seemed to be more difficult to eat that way ;)

                                        I was surprised there weren't a ton of folks there, I'd always pictured weekdays as being jam packed.

                                        1. re: jgg13

                                          I don't think I've ever seen more than one or two other people there on a weekday, but admittedly, I tend to go at odd times.

                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            This was "a little late" for lunch (12:45ish). Guess it goes to show that assumptions aren't always correct :)

                                      2. Dear Barmy, (since you started this thread) I had my first Speeds Dog this week!

                                        I knew if you and Allstonian recommended it, hounds like MC Slim seconded it, and everyone else cared about a change in the dog, it was worth going there alone when I was in the area.

                                        Here's a bit from my long, babbling (hey, I was in love) report on BostonZest.com.

                                        "The large diameter of the hot dog (it's more the size of a kielbasa) means that you're really biting into something meaty. The hot dog itself has great flavor- a little smoke, good spice, and great texture. The casing has that perfect snap, and the contrasting sweet of the cider mixture makes for good balance.

                                        I quit eating at about half. Next time, I'll take someone with me to share. Oh yes, there will be a next time, and a next, and a next. I fear that I'll join those who spend late winter and early spring, with one ear to the ground, listening for Speed spottings."

                                        More babble and photos at:

                                        Now for the important stuff. The sign on the side of Speed's wagon posted hours:

                                        September to December

                                        9:30- 5:00 (or until sold out


                                        Saturdays until Columbus Day 10-4 (or until sold out)