Michigan hot dogs and potato chips
Have you ever noticed every community seems to think their local brand of hot dogs are the best? I now live in Ann Arbor, where Koegel's dogs are the local favorite, but to me they are just okay. I grew up on the east side of Detroit on Kowalski dogs, and that remains my preference. I also prefer Better Made potato chips, but my hubby, who grew up in northern mid Michigan, doesn't see what I like about them.
I used to live in the U.P., where the locals loved Vollwerth's hot dogs, which I never could get used to eating.
It got me thinking...to paraphrase Tip O'Neill, that all hot dogs and potato chips (like politics) are local. What are your favorite local brands of Michigan made hot dogs and potato chips?
I grew up in Flint, Koegel's headquarters, and love their Vienna's. Usually don't eat dogs unless they are Vienna's, I like the way they snap when you bite down on them. I remember loving Paramont potato chips growing up and don't even know if they are around any more. Better Maid I see at the store, but I try to stay way from chips anymore, too fattening. I should try them one day when I'm feeling light.
Ok, I'll bite...
When I was younger and didn't mind eating 17 grams of fat in a tube, we would boil them, slice them down the middle and put Kraft singles in the middle and top with mustard. Now, I do them on the grill, with plain mustard and Claussen pickle relish on a bun. Then the second one I eat without a bun and dip in mustard. About every 10 years some Koegel's pickled bologna pulls me in and I have to have some. Almost did that today.
I like Koegel's, and Kowalski also. I think the key is that sausages in general tend to run pretty good around here. The businesses were founded by the people who do sausages best, namely Germans and Poles. What I find when I leave the area is that the dogs are usually not as good (New York and Illinois-Wisconsin would be exceptions). A Koegel's bratwurst is pretty much what you get in a bar in Germany, but the things that pass for bratwurst in many parts of the U.S. are strange, lumpy, greasy tubes of spices and fat.
Made Rite potato chips rule. Better Made are good too, but Made Rite's have just the right blend of grease and salt. They are always super fresh too.
As for hot dogs, when our town's German butcher went out of business, i had to switch to Koegels and Kowalskis. I come down a bit on the Kowalski side b/c of their slogan "Kowalski Means Kowality."
After 50 years of eating a LOT of both Koegels and Kowalski dogs, I give a slight edge to Koegels. The taste is pretty much the same with the Koegels having a grind I like better--can't really explain the difference. Made Rite chips were made in Bay City, but even though I'm just in Saginaw, Made Rites are hard to find. I don't know if they went out of business or just a poor distributorship.
One thing I wanted to add...I travel a lot and love hot dogs so I've eaten them from coast to coast. It's really sad what most of the country calls a hot dog after having Michigan dogs. I'd once heard that we have the highest quality standards in the country. And you can really get some pretty scary dogs (pun intended) when you see what other states serve as "brats".
My original post should have said "Made Rite potato chips ruleD" (past tense). Apparently Better Made bought them out. I'm just glad Better Made is still in business, because they make damn fine chips and use Michigan potatoes I believe.
As for Michigan hot dogs, growing up, it was verboten to order a hot dog while on vacation outside of Michigan. I can't find any proof in a quick search, but I too have heard Michigan has the highest quality standards for hot dogs.