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Sep 2, 2008 11:37 AM

Best Hot Dogs? We did a blind taste test this weekend, found our favs.

Since we are here in New England, some may be local only. There were 12 of us and 7 different dogs. Few were natural casing and all but 1 was all beef (must have missed that one). Anyway, they were all grilled. Results weren't earth shattering but:

Essems came in first place with 3 votes
Kayam, Pearls and Fenway Franks all received 2 votes each
Ball park, schonlands and Jordans only received one vote each.

If we used first and second picks from each, Essems and Pearls would be the winners. Many had them as second.

Fun, now I need the next blind taste test or cookoff. :-)

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  1. So which one's had natural casings? I would think that a dog with a natural casing would have been the winner...

    4 Replies
    1. re: virtualguthrie

      Kayem foods (who recently bought the Essem brand) lists Essem Natural Casing Frankfurters on their website.

      1. re: virtualguthrie

        Essems, Pearls, Kayems and schonlands were natural casing. Several judges don't like natural casing so that swayed their vote, as did those that love n casing.

        1. re: lexpatti

          "Several judges don't like natural casing so that swayed their vote..." They should have been disqualified ;)

          Thanks for sharing your research. I had Kayems over the weekend - specifically because I was in MA and have trouble finding them outside of MA. Kayem make a very good dog.

          1. re: Spends Rent on Food

            We went to a recent catered event and I loved their dogs and asked. They were kayems but their first choice is Essems (they happen to be out and Kayems are the only other ones they do).

      2. I'm curious about whether any of these hot dogs have the lurid, artificial red color that I observed on hot dogs being sold in Maine. Is that bizarre red coloring characteristic only of Maine hot dogs, or is it found elsewhere in New England?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ted in Central NJ


          It's found elsewhere in New England as well. I know Mucke's out of Connecticut makes a red colored dog in addition to their regular dogs. Red dogs (due to a harmless red dye) are also popular down south, especially Georgia. Nu-Way, a popular hot dog spot that has been around since 1916, serves a red dog.


          I read about your tasting on the New England Forum. You mentioned that all but one dog is all beef; it's the opposite. All except Pearl are beef/pork with Pearl being all beef, spicier, and in a different style.

          1. re: hotdoglover

            I didn't read all the ingredients but they all said on the package "Beef" hot dogs. Jordan makes a "tasty treat" and those are not all beef dogs. In fact, I just read the package (had a couple left) and Jordan's definately has no pork, only beef. Several brands make both, that might be what you are thinking.

            1. re: lexpatti

              Yes, you're right. Many hot dog producers make 2 kinds, but if the package lists beef, but not pork, than it's all beef. When I was in Maine, I only saw the Jordan's beef/pork.

        2. thanks for the results! Now if I can only find them in PA

          1. If you are in RI, be sure to go to the deli counter of a local supermarket to get Saugy's for your next taste off. (Natural casing, pork&beef; very tasty).

            1. I'm surprised that Schonlands weren't the winners. Our son and DIL love them but when they were living in Alaska, couldn't get them. When we visited in 2004 we were supposed to hand carry a box of frozen Schonlands but I forgot them. They were not happy with us at all. To make matters worse, my DIL was pregnant at the time and CRAVING Schonlands.