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What makes a hot dog YOUR top dog?

I'm not a hot dog connoisseur, but I know what I like. I may be easier to please than some--a grilled, buttered bun for my dog goes a LONG way. Good chili (nothing too acidic) atop the dog makes me happy. And my own preference is for a skinless dog--grilled is yummy. I recently had a deep-fried dog--I didn't get it. It didn't taste different to me--I was underimpressed, to say the least. But enough about me, how do YOU roll?

P.S. to jfood--I've been reading your hot dog posts with interest, but didn't want to pirate your thread, so I hope you find this post and chime in.

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  1. Chili, cheese, onions and mustard and of course, being a RI native, NY or Coney Island System HOT WIENERS!!!l

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sean

      Thanks, Sean! I appreciate the RI connection. Since we're close neighbors, I'm always surprised to learn about things I've never heard of such as NY or Coney Island System Hot Wieners/Weiners! I had to look it up and found this:
      http://www.roadfooddigest.com/post/20...

      When I first read "HOT WIENERS," I was thinking you meant Johnny Red Hots--I haven't had one in at least a decade. They used to sell them outside Home Depot (and I used to live with someone named John, so the name always struck me funny). ;

      )

      I will have to try a "gaggah" next time I'm in RI.

    2. No Nitrates, All beef. Has to actually have taste and texture. I'm really liking the Coleman all natural beef dogs that Costco is selling now.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Fritter

        I will have to look for them. Wonder if Sam's Club has 'em?

        1. re: Fritter

          One heads up on the whole "no nitrates" thing...Unless the dog is as gray as cement, it has nitrates, despite the claim...they use a loophole. Check the ingredients, and I guarantee you'll find something like "celery extract" or "celery juice" or something on the list.

          What would celery be doing in a hot dog, or any other cured meat product? It is naturally high in...you guessed it...nitrates. But because nitrates are a naturally occurring component of the ingredient, they don't have to be listed. But the nitrates are there, and the proof is in the pink!

          1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

            And a bit of research:

            Colman's ingredient list says the dogs contain "Celery Juice Powder"

            And Consumer reports say:
            "While the three uncured franks might boast of "no added nitrates," our testing found that Applegate Farms, Coleman Natural, and Whole Ranch contained nitrates and nitrites at levels comparable to many of the cured models"

            1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

              Coleman's is *not* attempting to hide the nitrate/nitrite facts.

              On the label, it states "all natural, uncured beef hot dog, no msg, nitrites or nitrates* added - gluten free". IF you follow the astrisk, it states further: "except for the naturally occurring nitrites in sea salt, nutmeg and celery juice powder". There, full disclosure.

              I was at Costco yesterday and remembered Fritter's post above and picked up a package Colemans. Unfortunately, there's only 2 people in my house and I had to buy 3 lbs of them. Fortunately, they taste really good. While grilling some pork chops last nite, I grilled off two dogs - not at all overly salty like the national brands - and to verify, I had a pkg of Ball Park in the freezer and by comparison, Coleman's has (a bit) less sodium as well as fat (but trust me, there's still plenty of fat there!).

              Now I have so many hot dogs, I may need to plan a neighborhood block party.

              1. re: CocoaNut

                I would disagree, having worked in marketing for 20+ years, and dealt with FDA labeling requirements on foods, OTC and Rx drugs, and nutrional supplements. This is exactly what is doen, and what they are doing.

                They clearly have nitrates, and add ingredients to their product specifically because of the nitrate content of those ingredients, and the effect they have on the appearance of the final product.

                To claim prominently "no nitrates added", in big honking type, along with other health/natural claims is clearly an attempt to lure those who wish to avoid nitrates, while the asterisk and small reference to the source helps them to comply with the letter of the law. In fact, as Consumer Reports says, they have as much or nearly as much nitrate content as brands that add nitrates via more "conventional" means. it is a pure and simple marketing ploy

                To me, that is deceptive, albeit via a legal loophole that makes it technically compliant. If you are seeking to avoid nitrates for whatever reason, you would be inclined to believe Coleman dogs allow you to do that, and it is clearly not the case.

                But nevertheless, I eat hot dogs..not some sort of anti-nitrate militant, here. Just pointing out what I feel is a questionalbe practice, IMHO.

                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                  CBAM

                  You will really get a kick out of the website ingredients, sans asterisk

                  http://www.colemannatural.com/compone...

                  1. re: jfood

                    Oh yeah, right to my point.

                    interestingly, FDA will not allow "MSG free" if a product contains ingredients (e.g., hydrolyzed yeast proteins, etc) which contain high levels of glutamates...I don't quite understand why this is permitted, though I imagine the issue just hasn't been raised loudly enough, and they have bigger fish to fry...

                    At the end of the day, if someone considers nitrates bad, and they want to avoid, I'm not sure why it matters where they come from...If I was trying to avoid strychnine, I don't see that it makes a difference if it is lab synthesized, or from a natural source, it'll kill me either way. (note I'm not saying nitrates = poison, just making a point)...

                    1. re: jfood

                      Questionable claims aside... Do we LIKE the Coleman's frankfurters? Applegate Farms? Or other uncured brands? What do all you dog 'hounds on this thread think?

                      1. re: surman

                        Jfood's dog of preferences

                        1 - Don's Hot Dogs made by Best Provisions in Newark, NJ but they only sell them there so its a little tough
                        2 - His go-to grocer dog is HN Dinner Franks. He likes the size, the taste, the texture and they can stand up nicely to his new preferred grilling method which is split and cook butterflied on the grill.

          2. Having grown up in Queens NY and having an uncle who had a Hygrades beef route, the Nathans/Hygrade was the gold standard. Hebrew National was a good second choice. In the more recent decades I have liked Boars Head with casing. America's Test Kitchen didi a store brand hot dog test and said they liked Nathans with its casing snap but showed the skinless on the tasting table. Last week Pathmark stores were selling Nathans at buy one get two free. I bought casing and skinless. The casing wins. The ones with casing give 12 oz. to a pack while the skinless ate 16 oz.

            I will do a test between Nathans casing and Hebrew Nat next.

            Over the years I have become more of a purist in my dog appreciation. Although I love kraut, slaw, horseradish mustard, dijon, Russian with a dog I now relegate the accoutrement to the side and enjoy the dog plain. I leave the seasoning to the dog meister letting their recipe speak to me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: phantomdoc

              phantomdoc, i noticed that discrepancy on the atk testing table, too.

            2. Have lived up and down the Atlantic Coast. My favorite is known in most areas as a "Boardwalk Frank". The best is a Schickhaus Griddle Frank. In the city what we call "Dirty Water Dogs" (street cart hot dogs) need to be Sabrett #10's. They're now available in many supermarkets.

              1. For starters, it has to have a natural casing. And the best hot dogs to me are definitely not all beef...I don't dislike all beef hot dogs, and there are some decento ones out there...but I much prefer ones made with pork and beef or preferably, the real deal made with all pork.

                1. To me a hot dog experience has to start with a natural casing hot dog.
                  My latest near the top of the list is "Casper's" which is an Oakland California hot dog that I found in bulk at a Costco in Las Vegas.

                  Sometimes just deli-mustard is fine with me. Last week I had a Chicago dog at Portillo's and don't understand how you can appreciate the hot dog with all that stuff on it.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: monku

                    I differentiate between Kosher or kosher style (not kosher, but similar) all beef and German style beef/pork. I like both types, but comparing them is like comparing apples and oranges. I get whatever type or style of frank I happen to be in the mood for.

                    My favorite all beef dog is the natural casing 10 inch franks from Best Provisions in Newark, N.J. This dog is best prepared heated in water (not boiled) then finished off on a gas or charcoal grill. This is how they did it at the late great Syd's. My second choice would be a Sabrett 10/1 prepared on a griddle. This is the dog served at Papaya King and Gray's Papaya in New York.

                    Other very good brands of beef dogs are Usinger's out of Milwaukee, Boars Head, Hebrew National, and Nathan's. All are well seasoned and best enjoyed with only a little mustard.

                    German style beef and pork dogs have little or no garlic (there are exceptions) and a wider range of subtler flavors and spices. Thumann's is the absolute best hot dog I've had in this style. It is made from whole cuts (not trimmings like most franks) of beef and pork. The pork comes right off their hams. This is the Thumann's griller in the blue and white package; not their milder dog made specifically for deep frying.

                    Other great dogs in this style are Hartmann's from Canadaigua, N.Y., Sahlen's, from Buffalo, Schickhaus (made by Armor Eckrich for the New Jersey market), Kocher's Continental Provisions in Jersey, Usinger's from Milwaukee, and Hofmann's from Rochester, N.Y.

                    Local European butcher shops also make excellent dogs in this style. Kocher's is a small butcher shop. Hartmann's was, but recently expanded. Many of these producers do not use a technique called vacuum chopping that condenses and sucks air out of the meat mixture. Those that do not use this technique have a more loosely packed and tender frankfurter that is less dense. For this reason I prefer to have these dogs prepared on a griddle rather than a grill because they cook up faster and are less likely to split apart and be overdone on a griddle where you can better control the temperature.

                    For both styles, I prefer just mustard 90% of the time. I think condiments such as chili and relish go better with the milder beef/pork dogs.

                    If you don't use a quality dog, it doesn't matter what you do to it or put on it. It is best accompanied by a sturdy food service bun that is baked individually rather than the cheap supermarket brands that are stuck together and often fall apart while eating your hot dog. I prefer my bun toasted or left on the griddle. If I'm having a dog heated in water (most of the time I prefer grilled) I like to have the bun steamed. Putting it in the microwave for a few seconds simulates steaming.

                    1. re: hotdoglover

                      Grew up with those brands which I took for granted when I grew up in New York and now live on the west coast. Back then it was weekend nights at Nathans in Oceanside...I could eat a half dozen of those on a good night. Grilled is the way to go.

                      A good reminder to visit the European sausage maker near me....they make great franks and sausages. Everyone loves them when I bring them to a cook out.

                      -----
                      Continental Gourmet Sausage Co
                      6406 San Fernando Rd, Glendale, CA 91201

                      1. re: hotdoglover

                        As always, jfood bows to the supreme knowledge and wisdom of HDL.

                        But the only item jfood would add to his always spot-on description is the othe dog in Millburn, the Don's dog, also produced by HDL. Bigger fatter and it id for jfood the absolutely perfect hot dog anywhere, anytime.

                        And thaqnk to HDL as soon as jfood finds himself lost in Nurk, he will go to Best and buy a cryovac to bring back to CT and show them what a real dog tastes like.

                        1. re: hotdoglover

                          I agree with you 200%,,,Bests' really are the best of the supermarket all beef dogs, and the Thumann's do best exemplify the German style. I do thing the only hot dogs I've had that I liked better were franks made by independent German butcher shops (a disappearing breed) or, when I have the time and patience, franks ground, seasoned, and stuffed at home (I'm a home made sausage freak).

                          1. re: hotdoglover

                            Dear hotdoglover,

                            You, my friend, truly live up to your name. Thanks for the education! I appreciate your insights.

                            1. re: hotdoglover

                              When you say *local* butcher shops, can you be a little more specific? What part of this great hot-dog-lovin' land are you in?

                          2. A grilled beef natural casing dog with cooked kraut and Cleveland stadium mustard.

                            1. Chicago style all the way!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: libgirl2

                                I just don't get it.
                                Doesn't matter what kind of hot dog is underneath all that stuff--you could eat it without a hot dog in there and wouldn't miss it.

                              2. Nathan's or National Hebrew's or Sabretts. Sliced down the center but not thru (think - like a hinge). Then grilled or pan fried until almost blackened. After that - well, anything, but they're good on their own. I like mustard, sourkraut, celery seed, precessed cheese (yeah, I know), hot sauce, a good chili dog with cheese is a meal in itself.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JerryMe

                                  What a way to ruin a great piece of meat.

                                  1. re: JerryMe

                                    sometimes, i pan fry my sausages split that way when i don't have a grill handy -- i like the crispiness (but not "almost blackened" though). often i will have done a little par-simmer in beer.

                                  2. "Sonoran style" best way to go, mmm mmm mmm!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                      Had to look it up. Wrapped in bacon, eh? Very interesting!
                                      http://www.azstarnet.com/business/171839

                                    2. All beef on a steamed bun with mustard and lots of chow chow!!

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: twisterp

                                        Chow chow like this (and is this a good recipe?)? It sounds tasty.
                                        http://www.mtnlaurel.com/Recipes/chow...

                                        Where in the South are you from?

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          like twisterp, i like the chow-chow, too. i'm from florida, with relatives in virginia, georgia, oklahoma. that recipe looks about right....
                                          right now, i have a jar of "mrs. campbell's sweet chow chow" which i probably bought at harris teeter...
                                          reminds me of "picalilli" relish....

                                          it's good on dogs, and i put it in my tuna salad.

                                          here's a picture http://www.flickr.com/photos/eatingin... , and more chow chow info: http://melissamccart.wordpress.com/20...

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Am now thinking of requesting a jar of Mrs. Campbell's along with that Duke's Mayo that'll be coming my way soon.

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              make it so.

                                            2. re: alkapal

                                              Picallili! Yes! When I was a kid we always had a jar of Forman's Picallili in the fridge. Great stuff, that was. My dad used to like it with boiled beef...actually the boiled beef NEEDED the picallilli. But it was a good combo.
                                              Never thought to try it on a hot dog though...

                                          2. re: twisterp

                                            What you are calling chow chow may be close to what makes my favorite dog. It MUST be made with homemade green tomato relish. This relish you can yourself. It contains chopped green tomatoes, cabbage, onion, red and green bell peppers, vinegar, sugar, and turmeric. You cannot buy this relish anywhere and find the same wonderful flavor. The recipe appeared in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook from 1957. Don't know if they still include it in today's edition or not. Assemble your dog with a good, sturdy bun, a beef (not too strong tasting) weiner that is split and pan grilled, the green tomato relish, a little plain yellow mustard, and fresh, uncooked, chopped sweet onion on top. This is TOOO good.

                                          3. For me, a great dog can be all beef or beef and pork. Turkey need not apply. Gotta have a natural casing; love that snap. And I'm not one for subtlety - a good hit of garlic and spice in the meat is always welcome.

                                            The current reigning champion is Casper's; they're becoming increasingly available on the left coast and hopefully will appear in a meat case near you (check Costco first). Long, thin, and snappy, with a garlic kick that will stay with you for a good little while.

                                            As to preparation, I use the method taught to me 20 years or so ago by an old German woman in a New Braunfels, TX sausage shop (their Wienerwurst is a serious contender for Best Hot Dog Ever). Cover with water, bring to a simmer, kill the heat, let stand ten minutes, drain, and eat. Nothing so violent as boiling or grilling or frying. (Diesen Wurst sind delikat Essen!!! Delikat!!!)

                                            For the bun, I confess to a weakness for old-fashioned white bread. Rainbo, to be precise. Toasted until slightly crispy. Mustard, maybe a little pickle relish, kraut, and/or chopped onion, and you're good to go.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                              Thank you for the prep tip--we have a really fantastic German sausage shop in CT (Noack's in Meriden). I'm stuck on their wursts (veal and veal/pork combo). Will have to check out their dogs as well.

                                              Will check with one of my friends on the Costco connection (our megamart is Sam's).

                                            2. I start with Hebrew National dogs, parboil and then drain the water, grill in the same pan with the tiniest amount of butter until browned all around, but be careful to avoid splitting the dog with excessive heat. Meanwhile, bring fresh sauerkraut (never canned) to heat, and lightly toast the hot dog buns. Add drained sweet pickle relish to the bun, top with the hot dog, a smear of Gulden's Spicy Brown mustard, and finish with with a big spoonful of hot, drained sauerkraut. Take a bite: Heaven.

                                              Just plain grilled on a fresh bun with mustard is pretty good, too. But this thread IS about "your top dog".

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                                We are Gulden's kids, too, for dogs and wursts. Might I add, everything's betta with butta!

                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                  I can't argue with you there; in fact, my idea of a perfect bacon sandwich starts with lightly buttered toast.

                                              2. All the above plus, sorry Kate, a Rut's Hut mega ripped Cremator. But my life time 3 favorites are Johnny's Hot Dogs on Rt 46 in New Jersey w/ kraut and mustard and a root beer; a Nathan's(?) w/ mustard & kraut and a cold beer on the Staten Island Ferry going to NYC; and in Allentown, Pa., a Yacco's chile dog w/ raw onion & mustard and a side of pierogies .
                                                Good Memories
                                                George's Cony Island Dogs in Worcester, Ma., have been a recent (10 years) addition during our drives south.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  In Maine, we love ourselves a hot steamed dog (natural casing with a snap) on a steamed bun with special hot sauce and celery salt from Flo's. Opps, Passa- I forgot that Cape Neddick is not Maine!

                                                  1. re: emilief

                                                    Yes sah Cappy Flo's is in Little Boston, but still wicked good pups. Now you drive 'round the rest of Maine, I mean the rest, Downeast, the County, Skidder Country and then you tell me the Kittary and all them out letmalls is in Maine. If New Hampshire can claim the th Kittery Navy Yard is in NH, then sure as hell Kittery is North Boston.

                                                2. Sahlen's first, Nathans second. No butter on the bun, lightly toasted, I like diced onion, yellow mustard, and either chili or kraut. Chili, no beans for a hot dog, kraut, good kraut. Onions, not red onions, not dijon, only yellow. I do love a good pepper relish. I like both together. Sometimes just the kraut with onions. Love hot better and relish too. I don't have one favorite. I also like my hot dog lightly grilled. Not just steamed. YUCK! I guess not a true hot dog afficionado

                                                  1. After the demise of Don's in Short Hills NJ, jfood needed to go to the market for dogs. And he has eaten tons. No matter what he tries he keeps coming back to the HN dog. And the one he likes is the Dinner size. He also liked Shofar when he lived in NJ but they do not know from Shofar in CT.

                                                    He mixes up how he cooks them. Sometimes on the grill, sometimes split on the grill with a brick on top, sometimes in an MV (yes the MV).He likes mustard, Guldens and some Vlasic green relish

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      Hebrew National ¼ Pound Dinner franks are indeed a top dog for me.
                                                      Big, juicy, satisfying, and delicious. Size matters folks.

                                                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                        If size matters you can get a 1/2 pound hot dog at Slots of Fun in Las Vegas for 99 cents.

                                                        1. re: monku

                                                          and that hot dog at Slots o Fun is GOOD

                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                        jfood-it's NOt that we didn't know from Shofar in Connecticut-NOTE the PAST TENSE. They were always available at Shop-Rite, and also packaged Shop-Rite's private label Kosher franks, BUT Shofar was a brand of Best Kosher and it was shut down by Sara Lee Corp around the first of the year.

                                                        I've lived in Connecticut for more than 50 years and have watched the quality of franks deteriorate. I grew up eating Hebrew National, BUT my mother only bought the loose deli goods, never the packaged which was inferior. We always bought 'specials' these were 5 to the lb. and had more spice than griddle franks which are 6 to the pound. The typical packaged HN franks are approx 9 to the lb and lacking taste.
                                                        HN went way downhill when they were sold to ConAgra, closed their plant in Maspeth, Queens and moved to the midwest.

                                                        You should try Abeles and Heyman for authentic old time beef kosher dog taste. I like mine split and grilled and topped with hot sauerkraut-Silver Floss from the can. I detest bagged kraut. Fresh kraut from Guss's on the lower East Side is great on the side, but not on the dog.

                                                        As a child I would first put on a slight taste of Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard, but unfortunately with puberty came an allergy to Mustard and it is now only a fond memory.

                                                        I also prefer that the bun be from a bakery, not a bag, split by myself and put on the bbq grill for 2-3 minutes to toast befoer inserting the dog.

                                                        Leftover dogs are used to make hot dogs and eggs, pancake style for breakfast the nest morning.

                                                        Bush's vegetarian beans on the side....
                                                        My taste is too grown up for the Heinz vegetarian (which was all I could get as a child that did not have pork).

                                                        Other memories of hot dogs past that were great are the Rossler's Yellow Tag dogs served at Jimmies of Savin Rock.

                                                        Now, the closest pork based dog that is acceptable for snap and taste is a Hummels as grilled and served by the local Duchess chain. The Hummels is NOT good on the BBQ grill as they char too easilly, grilling on the flat-top is best.

                                                        We had Franks on the grill for supper tonight. MY wife and I had the A&H, the kids had HN which is milder---the dogs will eat eithe................

                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                          And where does one buy A&H? That would be helpful.

                                                          And in NJ, you could go into any grocer and have a selection of good dogs, in CT, not so much. In NJ you could go to any grocer deli and they had HN salami and Bologna to slice, and if you wanted sliced Shofar most grocer delis has available as well, in CT not so much. In NJ you could find a bagel, in CT, not so much. And Novey, sable, chubs, etc same gig. See the pattern?

                                                          Don't get jfood wrong he absolutely loves CT, but as far as some good jewish fare, it has a huge bit of catch up to play.

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            They should be available in a local kosher grocery store or butcher shop - also if your local supermarket has a large kosher food section you should be able to find the A&H dogs there -

                                                            1. re: weinstein5

                                                              Oy weinstein, if eet vas so easy. There are no kosher anythings in jfood's neighborhood. for passover, jfood's grocer has an end aisle display for matzah, et.al. and 10 years ago it did not even have that. it is getting better but it ain't skokie.

                                                          2. re: bagelman01

                                                            bagelman01,

                                                            Nice post. Although I don't remember having Hebrew National way back when, I think the current version is very good. I can get it near me with a collagen casing. From what I've heard, they kept the recipe for the franks the same; they only changed the recipe for the kockwurst or "specials".

                                                            Abele's & Heyman are unique and many like them. I don't really like the spicing. It gives these dogs a strange tangy, herbal almost metallic taste.

                                                            Hummel's are made from beef and pork. I disagree about them not being good on the barbecue grill. A place in Hamden, Ct. called the Glenwood Drive In serves long skinny 5 to a lb Hummel dogs that they char grill. Best dog that I've had in Connecticut now that Rosco's is gone. And I've been to a dozen or so places including Swanky Frank's, Super Duper Weenie, Danny's, and Merrit Canteen, all of which prepare their dogs on a flat griddle. Ever been to the Glenwood?

                                                            1. re: hotdoglover

                                                              hdl, my mom used to buy my kids "sirloin" hot dogs from Delicious Orchards in NJ. Any clue as to what they were as this is your hot dog stomping grounds. Do you remember "The Greeks" chili dogs on Ferry St. in South River (of ht Bosco & Turbacs era)?

                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                Passadumkeg,

                                                                I've never been to Delicious Orchards although it is about 30 or so miles from me. I know they have a good selection of hot dogs including some from local butcher shops. Never heard of sirloin hot dogs. I have heard of the Greeks only recently. I've never been there either.

                                                              2. re: hotdoglover

                                                                At Swanky's, the default is fried...they only grill as a special order.

                                                                1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                  I lived in Hamden for 18 years................Had plenty of Glenwood. Don't really care for their dogs. They have been known to put them in the fryer then on the grill. Frankies from Watertown (with branches in Waterbury and West Haven) does the same. and the kraut at Glenwood is tasteless.
                                                                  OTOH-the ice cream at Kelly's-Glenwood's daughter-is great.......

                                                                  Super Duper Weenie is just plain vile and expensive. Swanky Frank is better in Westport than Newtown. Danny's in Stratford across from the Dock rates a B+. Merrit Canteen or its offshoots-Mr. Mac's Canteen in Monroe or Milford are acceptable. Merrit was even open on Xmas Day which gave this non-Christian a choice besides Chinese this year.

                                                            2. I don't get the interest. Most hot dogs are so insipid. Please tell me you are not talking about those anemic looking, pinkish, homogeneous, meat-like tubes that come 10-20 a pack and are made by Hormel or Oscar Meyer. I've had good bratwurst, kielbasa, andouille and other smoked sausages, but I can't understand anyone slobbering over a generic hot dog. So, I guess what makes a top dog for me is not really a hot dog.

                                                              29 Replies
                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                I admit, I love those slimy little generic pink meat like tubes. Sorry. Slather on some mustard, onions, some good relish, kraut or chili on a processed store bought bun and I'm right there. Chili dogs are also just as good. Anyway I have them ball park too. I love them.

                                                                Fries and a cold beer and it doesn't get any better.

                                                                BUT to your reply, I love a good brat, kielbasa, or any sausage just as much. But I still love the little pink tube of semi meat :)

                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                  I remember Dick Cavett interviewing Julia Child. He asked "Do you ever just duck into McDonalds? She said "yes and burger king too. Its good food. So our Hebrew National of various lengths and girths Nathans, Best's with all kinds of toppings or none at all. Grilled, boiled , steamed, pan fried, deep fried. Enjoy your dogs.

                                                                  Let's not hijack the thread as to what beer/root beer to drink.

                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                    "TUBE STEAKS"!

                                                                  2. re: Scargod

                                                                    It's amazing how bad some hot dogs can be.

                                                                    According to the USDA bologna falls into the same category as frankfurters.
                                                                    http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/...

                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                      Oscar Meyer hot dogs (it is hard for jfood to even type that) is like Dominos pizza compared to HN and New Haven Pizza.

                                                                      Go and buy yourself a package of HN Dinner franks and then report back.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        Or the Hebrew National knockwurst. To me tastes the same as the dogs, just bigger.

                                                                        While setting up grill today to try my hand at hickory smoked ribs, I compared the Nathans natural casing to the Nathans skinless. The casing had a better snap, but, I must say the skinless did squirt on to my shirt on more than one bite.

                                                                        1. re: phantomdoc

                                                                          P

                                                                          It appears from the website that the dinner franks are just slightly larger thn the knockwurst (also known as "Specials" where jfood grew up).

                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                            Do the HN dogs have the casing?
                                                                            I remember the specials of my youth, from my uncle and his Hygrades route. My cousin told me of how they would eat the specials right out of the smokehouse.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              As mentioned earlier:
                                                                              Specials were 5 to the pound
                                                                              Knockwurst are 4 to the pound-same weight as the dinner franks, but short and stubby.
                                                                              Prior to 1980, HN had a differnt recipe for Knockwurst than franks, now it just refers to a size and shape.

                                                                              Growing up, knock were only served boiled, and served on a plate with a knife, fork, kraut, beans and boiled potatoes..............

                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                Specials were something jfood's dad was allowed to eat but was not available to the kids. go figure.

                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                  Your mom probably thought they were too spicy for you, or that dad deserved a larger portion. Each got the same number of franks, Dad just got more meat.

                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                            Those dinner franks are great.

                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                              jfood-you shouldn't have to type 'Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs', they're Oscar Mayer Weiners, and only weenies eat weiners....................

                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                In your opinion, do you make a distinction between a hot dog, wiener (weiner, alt. spelling) and frankfurter? Is this a local thing? Are you just kidding?

                                                                                I ask this because, coming from Texas, I think of a "hot dog" as something made by Oscar Mayer. I never made any quality distinction between any of the namings (hot dog, wiener, frank, frankfurter), whereas, at least in the CT/tristate area, a dog seems like an art form to some. In Dallas there was a very limited selection in a regular grocery store until (as I vaguely recall), the 80's. I seem to remember "Ball Park" brand being special... they plumped up! Deli's (and especially NY style), were rare back then, too.
                                                                                And what's with "plumping up"? Is this a good thing? I thought a good sausage only plumped down.

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  Growing up in the metro NY area, weiners were typically pork products. And later packaged grocery store (showing my age) items.
                                                                                  Franks or Frankfurters tended to be beef. This word was generally used for the kosher product.
                                                                                  Hot Dogs could be anything dished out by a low cost vendor.....
                                                                                  Generally Mystery Meat.

                                                                                  Hebrew National Frankfurters
                                                                                  Nathan's Famous Franks
                                                                                  Sabrett (dirty water) hot dogs

                                                                                  Dogs plump when the casing is able to hold in the steam generated when cooked. A dog that is split or scored can not plump. Usually plumping occurs when cooked on a griddle or in a frying pan.
                                                                                  Oscar Mayer packaged weiners.......

                                                                                  In Connecticut
                                                                                  Hummels Hot Dogs-pork

                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                    how do you explain a Ballpark frank plumping up there is no casing?

                                                                                    1. re: monku

                                                                                      I just used the word casing to refer to the smoot outer layer of the dog. It does not mean an articial or natural 'condom' to hold the meat in.

                                                                                2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                  :-)) Right you are B01. Oscar Mayer should not be allowed to use the words hot dog in their name...sacrilege.

                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                    The ASPCA should take legal action, Oscar gives dogs a bad name........

                                                                              2. re: Scargod

                                                                                Hot dogs (aka Frankfurter aka Wiener, based on alleged original creation in Frankfurt and Vienna) have a long and noble history. Done right, they're a delicious sausage. Yes, they can be and often are insipid, and some folks even like the mass-market stuff; more power to 'em. But that's just the lowest common denominator; it's not a fair basis for judging every hot dog out there.

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  We from the east must forgive and try to better understand Scargod. Being a true son of Texas, he hails from Elgin, what some might consider, the Sausage Capital of Texas (home of the jalapeno sausage). The foods that we hold dear, the noble pizza and the wonderous hot dog were simply not part of his formative years. He was suckled on foods foreign to us, w/ strong flavors, like Texas barbeque brisket (and sausages), ribs, tamales, tacos and other fine Tex-Mex fare. It is then understandable that from his point of view, that he simply does not understand the nuances of fine NYC pizza and great Jersey dogs. But after sampling Coopers BBQ, Smitty's BBQ, Rositas Tacos al Pastor and La Fonda San Miguel (and more) w/ him last month, I can almost not blame him.
                                                                                  Gracias a la Vida,
                                                                                  El Keggo

                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                    <<I don't get the interest.>>
                                                                                    I could make it through a whole year without eating a hot dog, but on warmer days when I'm out and about (biking/skating/walking), sometimes I just feel like a dog. We used to love to skate on the Cheshire trail, then hit Blackie's. There are people here on CH who know a whole lot more about hot dogs than I do--I thought what better place than this to ask what is the best of the best in the dog world.

                                                                                    The Friday of Memorial Day weekend we were out and grabbed dogs for lunch while out for a walk. They were deep-fried. I didn't get it. They didn't taste very different to me--in fact, I thought they had made a mistake when they served it. So, for me, it's curiosity. If I'm going to grab a dog, I'd like one that's better than average. And just based on my own preferences as a hot dog eater, I have never understood why a hot dog joint WOULDN'T grill and butter a bun. There ya go. That's the whole story, man, and I'm sticking to it.

                                                                                    Oh, and P.S., we love wursts, too. But I don't "slobber" over any piece of meat--hot dog or otherwise!

                                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                      I have to get my hot dog fix 2-3 times per month. Just a good chili dog sitting out on my friend deck on the water, blue goreous crystal water, watching the rays swim buy, fishing rod in hand. Cold brew and sand between my toes. Bright sun, no clouds, 85 and couldn't get any better. Finish the brew, catch a fish, take a swim and take a couple of extra dogs home for dinner. My kind of Sunday.

                                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                        I'm with you--that is EXACTLY the summertime vibe I'm talking about that makes me want a dog. Thanks for understanding...and about the chili, too! ;) Happy Sunday and enjoy your dogs if you're having 'em today!

                                                                                      2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                        OK, drool (?). And stick to it! I like women with backbone!

                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                          kattyeyes,

                                                                                          I've been to Connecticut to sample many of the fine hot dogs served there. Did you know that Blackie's deep fries their dogs? Most of the time I prefer my dogs grilled, but deep fried is good too. The dogs at Rutt's Hut in N.J. are specially made for deep frying. They puff up and absorb some of the flavor of the oil. They have 2 extra ingredients regular hot dogs do not have.

                                                                                          Swanky Franks in Norwalk, Danny's in Stratford, and Mr. Mac's Canteen are other popular places in Connecticut that deep fry their dogs.

                                                                                          1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                            hotdoglover,

                                                                                            I didn't know Blackie's deep fries their dogs. It's been a while since I've been, too. Speaking of CT, I went to Guida's in Middlefield today--all this talk about hot dogs made me hungry. They serve grilled 10-inch dogs from Martin Rosol's (I asked).
                                                                                            http://www.martinrosols.com/about.cfm

                                                                                            My recent deep-fried venture was at Jack's @ Harbor One Marina in Old Saybrook. Very nice folks, but the dog didn't do it for me or my dining companion. We were both hungry afterwards and went out for sushi! And I didn't notice the dog being puffed up--maybe something was lost in the execution there altogether. I'm never hungry after a chili dog at Guida's. And though there's no chili at Blackie's, I remember those dogs to be very tasty, too.

                                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                              Blackie's is famous for their peppery relish.

                                                                                        2. re: Scargod

                                                                                          I lived in Texas for 3 years in professional school. The food was great in some ways and very bad in others. I the NY area the hot dogs were smoked. The fresh tortillas were heaven. Until visiting Los Angeles in the early 1970's I had never had real great Mexican food. I guess it would be like judging Mexican specialties when all you have known is Fritos jalapeno bean dip. We grew up on the specialty smoked and corned meats. There is a huge difference between Oscar Mayer wieners and Nathans, Hebrew Nat, Sabrett etc.. Just look up the best pastrami in NY. I love the sweet onions and hot peppers in Texas. In NY we have hot onions and sweet peppers. I would bring back 50 bagels to Dallas from a vacation back to NY.
                                                                                          Love Nathans with casing, plain, no bun, no mustard, no kraut, no slaw.

                                                                                        3. Kosher Dog definitely - either Romanian Kosher Sausage from Chicago - IMHO the best dog there is - or a dog form Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausage in LA! Kept simple mustard and relish

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: weinstein5

                                                                                            Although I live in New Jersey, I've heard a lot about the Romanian Kosher Sausage Company. I called them to request some of their dogs but they would not ship them to me. I posted here on Chowhound and found someone who live 3 blocks away who agreed to ship me some. They were excellent. Best kosher dog I've had.

                                                                                          2. I'm still a kid at heart. I just want ketchup on my hot dog.

                                                                                            Although, it is only really good when on a toasted New England style hot dog roll. (I order mine on-line since I moved from NH.)

                                                                                            1. A new ShopRite market opened in Marmora, not far from me (Ocean City NJ) I was there yesterday and had a very pleasant surprise, The carry Sabbret natural casing hotdogs. I had them for lunch yesterday and today. Delicious, and I love that snap.

                                                                                              1. It's been years since I was there....but Hot Grill in Clifton, NJ (opposite Nash Park) was my introduction to the perfect chili dog and is still my benchmark.

                                                                                                Anyone been there recently? Is it still as good?

                                                                                                Oh what I wouldn't give for "two all the way and a frenchy with gravy!"

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: hungrykids

                                                                                                  Assume "frenchy with gravy" is fries w/gravy...what about a hot dog with gravy on it?......that's a thought.

                                                                                                  1. re: hungrykids

                                                                                                    The Hot Grill is still there and as good as ever. If you go weekday afternoons, they have a buy one get one free special.

                                                                                                  2. Thanks to EVERYONE for lots of food for thought--literally! :)

                                                                                                    1. There aren't that many selections down my way, the one true sausage shop we had closed up years ago.

                                                                                                      I usually buy Nathans with the natual casing. I toss them in a hot skillet and grill 'em a little and serve them one fluffy white buns with some spicy mustard and some onions. Although that's my preferred manner of eating them, I do like a good Chicago dog or chili dog.

                                                                                                      Anything but ketchup.

                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                        As a Yankee, myself, I wonder where in the land of Yankees you're from...and, as a snowbird, do you make your way back here? We seem to have more than the average bear's share of dogs (and sausages) in CT.

                                                                                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                          I'm not a yankee. I am a Southron trapped in East Central Florida (Snowbirdistan).
                                                                                                          Why in the world in a place that's overrun with folks from NY, RI, etc. can't we get good pizza?

                                                                                                          1. re: bkhuna

                                                                                                            Oh, OK, I misunderstood your location. I get it now. And if you're living "in a place that's overrun with folks from NY, RI, etc." and can't get good pizza, I'm guessing that's 'cause those folks are *retired* now. :)

                                                                                                            We just bumped into the guy who used to run a local joint with the best scacciata (stuffed broccoli, spinach or potato pie) in our town. No one makes scacciata like this anymore--not that's any good, anyway. So, all excited, my mom says, "We really miss your scacciata!" and without missing a beat, the man said, "I don't miss making them!"

                                                                                                      2. It's definately gotta be natural casing. The only way I can eat the skinless ones is charred from a grill.

                                                                                                        Otherwise, for toppings I like mayo, cheese, and kraut.

                                                                                                        Oh, and definately grill the bun.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: nimeye

                                                                                                          Mayo? Heresy!!!

                                                                                                          Mustard, yes. Ketchup, maybe. But mayo? Whaddaya think this is, Belgium?

                                                                                                          ;-)

                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                            Well, stuff some fries--I mean frites--in there, too, then! ;)

                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                              Hey...I've gotten heat for saying that an Italian "Hot dog" tastes better with a good Italian sausage replacing the actual hot dog (the best one I ever tasted did just that); that cheese on pastrami is a crime against nature; and that Belgian beer tastes like spoiled German beer (the latter suggested by a German brewmaster)...the jury is out on that one, as I seem to be warming to the Belgian beer (if nothing else, I am open to change).
                                                                                                              But in the end, it's "Whatever floats your boat"! Life would sure be boring if we were all the same! Vive la difference!

                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                Nicely stated, Professor. :)

                                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                  "Have you ever been to Belgium in fact?" he asked brightly and she nearly hit him.

                                                                                                                  "I think," she said, restraining herself, "that you should restrict that sort of remark to something artistic."

                                                                                                                  "You sound as if I just said something unspeakable rude."

                                                                                                                  "You did."

                                                                                                                  - Douglas Adams

                                                                                                            2. People who say they don't like the Chicago-style dog need to try a char dog from Poochie's in Skokie. They are very good at proportioning all the different ingredients correctly, and they make the best-tasting, best-looking Chicago dog I have ever had. Mustard, relish, tomato, diced onion, two sport peppers, and pickle eaten on the side is how I like mine. I do prefer the all-beef frank grilled rather than traditionally steamed though. The bun has to be a steamed poppyseed roll.

                                                                                                              Chili dogs are always great. The chili needs to be thick and viscous, savory rather than super-spicy. The dog can be beef or pork, as long as it is dense, hearty, and grilled. shredded cheddar and pickled jalapeno are optional, diced onion is not. The bun needs to be yeasty and crusty enough to stand up to the chili.

                                                                                                              And you know what, I won't even turn down a cheap Ball Park frank. Just boil that thing, wrap it in white bread, and douse with ketchup and yellow mustard. I'm easy.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                I'll admit to being a Ball Park fan myself! Fried. On a toasted bun. With mustard and onions.

                                                                                                                But my favorite is a Vienna - on a steamed bun with mustard and onions.

                                                                                                                And, I'm going to be in the Skokie area this coming weekend - I'll ask my husband to make sure we detour to Poochies!

                                                                                                                1. re: Missy2U

                                                                                                                  Hi Missy, I'd also recommend the fries at Poochie's; they have a very crispy brown crust and a pleasant chew to the middle. Skip the Italian beef though, it doesn't have much flavor.

                                                                                                              2. I'm fine with just mustard and kraut, but if I want to make the ultimate? Toasted bun, Hebrew National or Nathans dog, French's mustard, sourkraut, fried onions, relish, ketchup and a slice of American cheese. YUM!!! Or, if I'm in NYC, a Sabretts with red onions will do just fine.

                                                                                                                1. I'm a purist: all beef, natural casing, steamed dog on a steamed bun, topped with deli (preferred) or yellow mustard, a tiny bit of ketchup, sweet relish, saurkraut.

                                                                                                                  Whenever I eat hot dogs, I get 1 dog just like the above. If I'm having a second dog, I might get a chili dog but only if the chili is from a trusted source - none of that nasty orange stuff

                                                                                                                  1. After posting on this today, I was totally craving a hot dog. This is what I had --
                                                                                                                    Nathans dog, grilled bun, american cheese (sort of tucked under the the dog, lining the dog, if you will), French's, ketchup, a few pickle slices thrown in, and a side of chili-cheese Fritos. I had two dogs. Needless to say, it was my only meal today. But sooooo good.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                      Isn't it dangerous?! The very same thing happened to me the other day.

                                                                                                                    2. White Eagle hot dogs with the sheep casing, need nothing on them. They are a meaty, sweet savory treat. They are local brand and they really do a wonderful job with their product. I highly recommend to anyone in the Albany New York area. However that being said I do have fondness for the following on my hot dog: Mustard, sauerkraut, onions, jalapeños, pickle relish.

                                                                                                                      1. Norwegian polser: natural casing dog, steamed and covered w/ a mayo shrimp salad. Yum
                                                                                                                        Finnish nakki, 2 stuffed inside a meat pastry, a lihapirraka. Double yum.
                                                                                                                        I should add these to the foods I miss thread.

                                                                                                                        1. Smith Provision Co Inc

                                                                                                                          www.smithhotdogs.com

                                                                                                                          1300 Cranberry St
                                                                                                                          Erie, PA 16501
                                                                                                                          (814) 459-4974

                                                                                                                          the best hot dogs ever

                                                                                                                          1. While we're reminiscing about our formative frankfurter fressing finds...

                                                                                                                            American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island, longtime sibling rivals next door to each other in downtown Detroit, where the signature Great Lakes wiener is served on a white bread bun with runny chili, raw onions and yellow mustard. (If your flight connects in Detroit, get one in the new Northwest terminal.)

                                                                                                                            The Tasty, no longer in Hahvahd (Harvard) Square, Cambridge, MA, where delicious dogs -- wish I knew the maker -- with a very resilient casing and a distinctively smoky taste, were swaddled in "New England style" rolls, perfectly toasted on both sides on a modified electric sandwich press. Default condiments were mustard, relish and finely chopped and slightly wet onions. Proprietor George Black and his trusty lieutenant George White disdained ketchup consumption, except on french fries.

                                                                                                                            Some train station in Germany -- Berlin, maybe -- where a mini-baguette was toasted from the middle on a large metal spike just larger than the frankfurter -- no, it wasn't in Frankfurt -- that was then slipped into the toasted hole. With brown mustard.

                                                                                                                            At home these days, I'm a fan of Fred Usinger's, which -- once you figure out the difference between weiners, frankfurters and "tender franks," or just give up and order one of each -- you can have shipped from Milwaukee (see http://www.usinger.com/ala_links.php) or for a quicker fix, Boar's Head natural casing, available at many markets in the NY area.

                                                                                                                            Looking forward to trying others suggested here. Thanks, all!

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: surman

                                                                                                                              From Usinger's (in response to an e-mail inquiry):

                                                                                                                              "The frankfurter, wiener, and tender frank all have
                                                                                                                              the same meat. The frankfurter is larger, has a
                                                                                                                              hog casing that snaps when you bite into it. The
                                                                                                                              wiener is smaller and has a sheep casing making
                                                                                                                              it more tender. The tender frank does not have a
                                                                                                                              casing at all and is usually recommended for
                                                                                                                              small children.

                                                                                                                              "The knackwurst is different in that it contains garlic.
                                                                                                                              It is much larger in diameter so the casing is tougher."

                                                                                                                              Of course, that begs the question of the difference between a skinless and a "tender" frank... and I also forgot to ask the difference between a Bavarian and the other varieties of wiener and a Stuttgarter and the other varieties of knackwurst. Stay tuned!

                                                                                                                              1. re: surman

                                                                                                                                FYI, hounds, here is a link to another source of many wursts, Karl Ehmer. Site includes cursory descriptions of most products and "where to buy" information, including web orders. Gut fressen.

                                                                                                                                http://www.karlehmer.com/index.html

                                                                                                                                1. re: surman

                                                                                                                                  and there is a distributor for this ehmer's wursts in sarasota (sw florida), for folks like kchurchill, val, bkhuna, veggo.....

                                                                                                                                2. re: surman

                                                                                                                                  Here's a source for delicious and sustainably/humanely/locally produced franks in the New York area: The Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills makes its own sausages -- including pork hot dogs with natural sheep casing. The franks are sold in vacuum packs of 8 links (approx. 1 lb.)

                                                                                                                                  I also tried the breakfast sausages, which were absolutely delicious -- well seasoned, good balance of fat and lean pork.

                                                                                                                                  All of the farm's sausages are $10.50/lb. (currently) at the farm market, Wed. and Fri. 2-4 PM and Sun. 1-4 PM. (Summer 2009 days and hours.)

                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                  Stone Barns Center-Food & Agri
                                                                                                                                  630 Bedford Rd, Tarrytown, NY

                                                                                                                                3. this earlier thread as a "guide to wursts" is worthy of mention here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/518872

                                                                                                                                  1. The July Bon Appetit arrived in my mailbox today, with an article featuring hot dogs every which way...so we'll all be starting over deciding which way we like ours done. Personally, I'm going to start with the Indian twist on franks'n'beans: "hot Dogs with Dal and Red-Onion Raita wrapped in naan...

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: hungrykids

                                                                                                                                      hungry kids, hot dog with dal? that's ironic, since dal is a big vegetarian dish. (they always have a muddy flavor to me, somehow, but that's neither here nor there).
                                                                                                                                      and raita with yogurt (that's the only kind i know)?
                                                                                                                                      actually, you might want to try the tomato-cayenne chutney i just linked on a another thread -- it sounds better to me for a hot dog pairing. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6234...

                                                                                                                                      or this indian onion chutney: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489006

                                                                                                                                      and if you want to make your own indian-style flatbreads, look at this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/517073

                                                                                                                                    2. a top dog is from Speeds truck

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                                                                                                        And where might we find that, please?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: surman

                                                                                                                                          Boston.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                            Speeds, home of the seven buck dog, tasty, though.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                              Boston's a big place. Got an address? Thanks!
                                                                                                                                              BTW, does anyone in the Boston Chow community know where The Tasty in Harvard Square used to get its dogs?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: surman

                                                                                                                                                Newmarket Square.

                                                                                                                                        2. Karl Ehmer Weiners. I order them online -delicious!!!

                                                                                                                                          1. What makes a hot dog my top dog changed recently when I had the best hot dog in the world. Street vendor at farmer's market makes bacon-wrapped dogs on an outdoor grill/griddle next to onions and peppers and jalapenos... and it tastes like pineapple's been on that griddle. There's a little char. It all goes into an atmospherically softened bun, topped with mayo, relish, mustard, ketchup and two lightly-charred jalapenos.

                                                                                                                                            This is an utterly phenomenal combination. I never would have put all that together on my own. I was kind of a hot dog purist. But this is incredible.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                                                                              Can we assume you mean the farmer's market in downtown L.A.?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: surman

                                                                                                                                                Oops, no - I see them Thursday late afternoons at the El Segundo farmer's market (in Mayberry RFD-esque downtown El Segundo south of LAX). I have been meaning to ask them where else they go. The word "Tropical" is in the name of the stand they run, as they also serve some huge fruity drinks (alas, without alcohol).

                                                                                                                                            2. In the Flavor section of this week's Hartford Courant, there's a book review of "500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late" by Jane and Michael Stern. One of the local shout-outs for CT is Portland's Top Dog stand on Route 66. According to the Sterns, it "serves up plump, snappy franks with extraordinary condiments including slow-cooked squerkraut and/or Creole relish." Oddly enough, I could walk to Top Dog from my mom's, but I can't recall the last time I went. Will have to get there again soon. Anyone traveling east of the river in CT on Route 66 (corner of High Street across from Cumberland Farms), you can't miss this place: the stand itself is a giant hot-dog shaped vehicle with relish on the roof and a yellow cab in front of it that pulls the dog when it's time to go home!

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                                                chargrill any version of Nathan's and stick it on a soft steamed (microwaved for 10 seconds works great) cheapie bun with spicy mustard (creole works well)

                                                                                                                                                I would eat those till I burst...really

                                                                                                                                              2. IMO, no hot dog tastes as good as a Danish hot dog. In my home it means a long, thin dog with natural casing. (made with veal and spices only from the butcher we buy from) It is poached slowly in water and served in a bun with ketchup, mustard, remoulade sauce, fried onions, and topped with thinly sliced pickled cucumbers (NOT American style).

                                                                                                                                                Heaven.

                                                                                                                                                1. A scandalous and messy combination of raw minced onion, diced tomato, mustard, ketchup, and grated sharp cheddar. OH! And a sprinkling of celery seed. Call it a midwest mess.

                                                                                                                                                  1. The Top Dog, a hole-in-the-wall on Durant Ave. in Berkeley, is the top dog. A great selection of primo dog types, a perfectly toasted bun, a swizzle of Russian hot mustard -- sheer heaven. On game days, the line stretches for almost a block.

                                                                                                                                                    I lived in Chicago recently for three years. I thought Chicago-style dogs were absurdly overloaded with non-essential condiments. And the other specialties that Chicagoans make a cult around -- like deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches -- are dubious, at best. However, there's such a profusion of good restaurants there that one doesn't have to eat the crap.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                                                      Hot dogs are terribly subjective. Growing up in Northern New Jersey, a deep-fried hot dog, all the way (chili, onions) was something we took for granted. Good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ptrichmondmike

                                                                                                                                                        I always thought Top Dog was kinda overrated. Just a basic grilled HD for $3.00. Desi Dog is better, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                      2. This summer I discovered pudgies hot dog truck, and the pudgies dog. Deep fried dog with deep fried pickles and horseradish sauce. ( I'm a girl who's not into pickles, but wow!) can't wait until thi summer!

                                                                                                                                                        1. Call me Mr. Lowbrow, but I actually like O-M all-beef franks, and I like plain, white buns straight outta the package.

                                                                                                                                                          I like my dawgs either steamed or grilled.

                                                                                                                                                          Go-to dawg is nothing more than yellow mustard, minced hot yellow peppers and celery salt.

                                                                                                                                                          I make a BBQ dawg with homemade mustard BBQ sauce and diced onion.

                                                                                                                                                          Then there's the chili-cheese dawg with Wolf Brand hot chili (no bean, natch), diced onion and shredded extra sharp cheddar. I'm having those tonight.

                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                            Hello mr. Lowbrow, I'm the embarrassed girl who ate 8 hotdogs in 4 days whle touring disney. And each one was goooooooood. Not so highbrow either

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunangelmb

                                                                                                                                                              Let us meet on Skid Row and drink a bottle of Riunite with our next dawgs. Skinless dawgs, might I add.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                                Sound Delish. Sometimes with hot dogs, the dirtier he better

                                                                                                                                                          2. Natural casing (w/ high quality meat, no chicken/turkey/veggie subs), that SNAP when I bite into it. e.g., Chicago-style dogs.