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Sep 13, 2009 06:25 AM

Hot Dog Cook Off

On Saturday a small, dedicated group of Chowhounds (just under 20) grilled and ate their way through several pounds of good hotdogs and sausages, ranging from home made to the elegant Nathan's.

All were good.

Some of the participants will have really astute observations, and have promised to post.
I was surprised at the similar taste of Deli-Cart beef and Nathan's: both salty and greasy but this blends well with a simple roll and mustard.
We can't get Nathan's here, but Deli-Cart all beef seems to be available seasonally at Costco, and maybe Highland Farms. The season is over soon, however.

There was quite a group effort, and the park setting was ideal. I'd like to thank Davwud for his char-grilling skills and persistence in getting many batches ready over a 2.5 hour span. Mrs Sippi kept him fed on the spot!

I have one shot of the packaged dogs; I think others have some of the finished hot dogs and may post.

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  1. Hot dogs packaged.

    1. Thanks for organizing JayT

      My favourites were the Nathan's of course. I was really happy with the Stemler's Ball Park variety and found the Cumbrae's and Baldwin St. very similar. Both were good as well.
      The only dogs that I didn't like (and really didn't like) were the Stemler's All Beef.

      Other dogs on hand were the Deli Cart dogs JT mentioned, Piller's European style, Big Frank's, European Deli's European style, Stemler's Nitrate Free, Juicy Jumbo's All Beef, and a few others I can't think of right now.

      Sausages included Deli Cart, A wine infused one that was really good. Paulustrious's home made beef and smoked chicken which I thought were much better than he seemed to think. There was also an Elk sausage that didn't really turn me on. It was the last thing I tried so I may have been dog tired by then.

      Kudos also to those who brought salads, pickles, other condiments and dautcalm for the great idea of grilled pineapple for desert.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud

        The European deli I bought those at is called Rupelt's, as I discovered yesterday in another thread. They have some great looking stuff and I'll definitely have to pay a return visit. I saw lot of house-smoked meats in their cases as well.

        I was a big fan of the Stemmler's ball parks, as well as both European-style dogs (love the smokiness). I should really have tried the Nathan's on a bun, because I found them way too salty. I was skipping buns by then; trying to save room to try the last of the dogs. The only one I really didn't like was the Big Frank's, which is weird because I used to buy them all the time for their sugar- and starch-free properties. Too strong on the anise for me.

        I don't think I ever did try the Juicy Jumbos. I now have a package of Chicago 58s in my freezer (which never managed to make it onto the grill), and one of Baldwin St. Kosher dogs (thanks to the generosity of my fellow dog tasters). I also brought home the Springer brand dogs from my local butcher (The Butcher Shop in Scarborough) which also didn't make it into the cook-off (way too many varieties were brought). Some day I'll have to do my own cook-off and see which I prefer of those. Right now I can't even look at another hot dog, though!

        Thanks again to everyone for all the great dogs, salads, condiments, charcoal, hard work and FUN.

      2. There's a small set of photos of the hot dog cookoff on Flickr at:

        1 Reply
        1. re: torontovore

          Sounds like it was a fun day. Wish I was there!

        2. We need to reprise this in the west end GTA, perhaps in cooler weather if anyone's game. Maybe a non-packaged wurst fest?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Kagemusha

            Good idea. You can take this up on Google Groups; chowhound_toronto
            The moderators won't allow a discussion here, but I'll share everything I've learned there.

            1. 17 hot dogs and 10 buns later I finally can get up to type!! Great bbq in a beautiful grassy area surrounded by Karaoke, it was a great time. Thanks to the organizers.

              My personal favorites were the European Dogs (because of the great smoke flavour) and the Big Frank's/Beretta Farms (because they were different than the rest - Anise maybe??). The Stemmlers Ball Park and I think the Jumbo Franks were great too (junk food indulgent).

              I discovered later that the salt/nitrate/msg?? combination causes amazing hot dog headache. But sooo worth it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Freakazoid Glazermabobber

                Thanks for confirming the hot dog headache. I got a doozy of one and also a stiff neck. But it was still worth it. Word of warning to anyone who's thinking of doing a hot dog eating contest, though...get the Stemmler's nitrite free.

                1. re: Freakazoid Glazermabobber

                  Hey Freaky...

                  Yes you whined all day... but c'mon... it was SO worth it!

                  My personal faves were the Nathan's (nice, thin hotdog with great seasoning and good crunch) because I felt they were TRUE dogs. Junk food, don't read the ingredients... BAD for you goodness. ;-)

                  My second place were the Deli Cart dogs.

                  I got a strange chlorine vibe from the Stemmlers dog - not sure what that was about. Maybe it was just me.

                  Thank you chowhounders for a great hot dog cook off! I was most impressed with the level of detail (chunk natural AND brick charcoal?!) and the company. You are good people.

                  The curried ketchup was awesome DomesticGoddess.

                  1. re: kitchensalive

                    this is too funny. I had a wicked headache on Sat. Nite and I never ever get headaches. Now I know where it was coming from. However if I had three little bits, I can't beleive it would cause a headache like that.
                    It truly was a wonderful afternoon and I so enjoyed meeting everyone plus tasting all the great food.
                    The highlights for me: the homemade pickles and the grilled pineapple. (cleary I am not a hot dog
                    Congratulations again for organizing such a great chowmeet.