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Of hot dogs and buns ...


Do you like your hot dog to be the same size as your bun?

Or, do you prefer your hot dog to be longer than its bun?

Personally, I'm in the latter camp. I want a few bites of my hot dog sans accoutrements.

When the dog protrudes out from its given bun, I can take a few bites of just dog (no bun, no mustard, no ketchup, no nothin') and savor for a few moments the sausage I'm ingesting.

Naked is the best way to size up a hot dog, figure out if it's a real frank or simply an imposter using all those condiments and toppings as a crutch.


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  1. i haven't had one in many, many years, but i always preferred the overhang - i would eat the protruding ends first to ensure that i'd have bun left for the last bite...however, unlike you, i did make sure i had full condiment coverage - spicy mustard & kraut - from end to end.

    sigh. i miss hot dogs (in buns!)...and Oreo cheesecake. you're killing me tonight, ipse.

    1. Funny. I just had a cheeseburger (I chose the amount of cheese, so it was a CHEESEburger) at a DEluxe BBQ yesterday, and there is simply nothing better in the world. You can keep your steak, fois gras, lobster, etc, all of which I adore, but there is simply nothing better than a cheeseburger.

      Add to that the perfect hot dog, and that would be my last meal, along with diner fries, which always have those small crunchy pieces. On the bun, I'd have to go with same size.

      Thankfully, I'm having another cheeseburger and a hot dog today.

      1. As time goes by I find myself veering toward the naked truth in a hot dog, and away from anything that alters the experience of the expression of the designers formulae of the tube steak. I want less and less on my dog.

        7 Replies
        1. re: phantomdoc

          I'm with you...a good hot dog doesn't need a lot of toppings. A superb one doesn't need any at all.
          I look at the "Chicago style" hot dogs and just laugh...are the hot dogs really that bad that they have to add all that stuff to kill the taste? LOL

          My bigger complaint though is with the average, white-bread soft hot dog bun. Something with at least a _little_ more character makes a much better delivery vehicle for the sausage. Some local bakeries in my area used to make some very good hot dog buns...still soft but with a little more 'chew'. These mom and pop bakeries are all gone now for the most part, unfortunately...and with them have one the superior hot dog and burger rolls.

          1. re: The Professor

            i'm with you on this one Professor. if they can't provide a more substantial bun, they should at least toast it lightly to provide a bit of textural contrast (and stave off the inevitable sogginess for an additional minute or two).

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              There are certain dogs that should definitely be served and eaten naked.

              Others, however, like many that are sold from carts, or at concession stands, definitely were borne to be paired with condiments and toppings. Not so much that they need condiments per se, but condiments simply justify their reason for being.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I like a hot dog off a charcoal grill, cooked black until exploding, with just a hint of French's mustard, and nothing else.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  JC, same here: #1 must be grilled #2 must be blackened from grill #3 must have cheap yellow mustard #4 preferably Nathan's or some other kosher dog ... except adding a smidge of dill relish...ahhhh!...and I like my dog same size as bun to answer OP's question, oh and please toast that bun on grill while yer at it!

            2. re: The Professor

              That's one of my main complaints about the Sonoran hot dogs I've had. They pile gobs of crap on a squishy-soft little hot dog bun and there's no way you can eat that without a fork , whicand cutlery goes against hot dogs in general.

              I like overhang if I have a bun, and if it's done with a proper char I might just impale it on a skewer and eat it that way.

              1. re: The Professor

                A good chi-dog uses a vienna style dog which is subtle and creamy and goes well with the accouterments. It's all about the flavors playing off eachother. Whereas a nicely spiced Perl in natural casing, grilled to perfection, needs nothing or maybe a dab of whole grain mustard.
                They are both good in their own right, just different. I used to bash on sauced BBQ, but sometimes a decent sauce complements a nice rack of ribs. Not any better or worse than a naked pile of boston butt, just different.

            3. I must confess, I've never sized up a hot dog naked.

              But seriously...

              I prefer dawg and bun to be the same length. To me it is the combination of dawg, bun and toppins' that makes the dawg great. Chomping down on a plain old frank just doesn't really get it for me.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                But you've done it fully clothed, right?!

                1. re: nvcook

                  Honestly, I wouldn't do it any other way. Hot, dripping grease could pose a particularly painful hazard.

              2. I prefer the hot dog and the bun to be the same size. I don't mind if the sausage is a bit bigger than the bun but I cannot stand when the sausage is smaller than the bun. The first bite is nothing but bun and condiment and I feel gypped!

                I really like the sausages made by Niman Ranch. Haven't eaten a national chain brand (National Hebrew, Ball Park etc) since I was a kid. I prefer my hot dogs with chilli (good home made chili, not canned stuff) or with lots and lots of ketchup and relish. IMO, the condiments adds to the whole taste sensation of yummy hot dog goodness!

                1. Weiner same size or longer than the bun is fine for me. I dislike a dog SHORTER than the bun - I'm eating a hot dog, not a dinner roll!

                  However, the title of this thread reminds me of a true story. I live in a small town where everybody knows everybody and many many people go by nicknames. Three of which are un-related men known as hot dog, buns, and mustard.
                  An acquaintenance was telling me he got a call to do a job cutting trees. He shows up at the jobsite and whos already working? These three men - Hot Dog, Buns, and Mustard! Uncanny.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: porker

                    Agreed. Bread without any filling (be it hotdog or sandwich) is sad. :-(

                    1. re: porker

                      Ah, yes, the bane of my culinary existence.

                      Mom would used buy these dogs that were smaller than the bun and I would get these mouthfuls of ketchup and mustard between stale bread.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        The other problem with buying hot dogs and buns for the home is there are always 8 buns to a package and most of the time there are 10 hot dogs to the package.

                        I'd need to buy 5 packs of buns and 4 packs of dogs.

                        1. re: monku

                          I no longer have one, but that's where dogs come in handy.

                          1. re: monku

                            Lately I've found Hebrew National are 7 dogs to the pack. At least I think it's HN. I only buy HN and Boars Head, which I think are sometimes 9 to a pack.

                      2. Hot dog longer than the bun, preferably a New England style top split bun.

                        1. Ipsedixit, I take it as your ipsedixit. A little nakedness makes life exciting. I'm a hot dog liberal, from LA bacon cart dogs to chile dogs, to kraut, to high quality nakedness; but it got have snap! Skinless hot dogs ain't hot dogs for this doggie.

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            Agreed. I just wish I could find a different natural casing dogs than the Boar's Head brand, which I don't really like in general. Do you have some other brands I can look for?

                            1. re: EWSflash

                              Vienna Beef is the only other dog in natural casing, as far as i know.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Sabrett and Schaller & Weber make 'em. I'm pretty sure there's more - Lobel's maybe? Where's hotdoglover in our time of need?

                                And, for the record, with hot dogs being a pretty rare treat, a top split bun, sides slightly toasted, that's shorter than the dog is what I'm looking for!

                              2. re: EWSflash

                                Don't know where you are, but out here on the left coast, Casper's dogs are getting easier to find. Natural casing, great flavor, and extra-long for those who like the sausage to extend beyond the end of the bun.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Casper's has lot's of snap to them. They're right up there with Vienna.

                                  First experience with Caspers was buying a package at a Costco in Las Vegas a few years ago.

                                  Been to Casper's in Oakland several times.

                                  Last week I went to Frank's Famous Hot Dogs in San Luis Obispo and I'm pretty sure they're using Casper's there. Met a food distributor across the street and he says they got their dogs from a place up north. He said most people only know about "skinless" hot dogs and didn't understand a natural casing hot dog like they serve at Frank's.


                                2. re: EWSflash

                                  EWS, It looks like you are in the former, until 1912, New Mexican Territory, now known as Aridzona (sic).
                                  Luckily i have Bean's Meats just up the rud. Theses babies got real snap.
                                  They sell top split rolls too.
                                  I'm moving back to NM in a month, I'm gonna have to reverse the direction of my mail orders.
                                  El Kego

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    I like my hot dog to be at least as long as the bun; ideally a little longer. I like the end bites. If it's a thick dog, it shouldn't hang over the bun.

                                    I prefer to have a quality natural casing dog with mustard only. 90% of the time I have them this way. Occasionally I'll have chili on a dog. A well made and tasty frank doesn't need a lot of toppings which only tends to mask the flavor of the meat. I usually like my dogs grilled, but also enjoy them deep fried, griddled, or heated in water. Depends on my mood.

                                    There are dozens of dogs in natural casings, you just have to seek them out. Most of the time when a particular brand comes in both skinless and casing, it is the same recipe, but I always choose natural casing.

                                    Here in New Jersey we have many butcher shops and pork stores that sell natural casing dogs. Commercial brands available here with casings include Sabrett, Thumann's, Nathan's, Best's (but only at the plant), Boars Head, Dietz and Watson, Black Bear (available only at Shop Rite; same recipe as Dietz and Watson), Schaller & Weber, Schickhaus, Windmill (Sabrett's beef/pork version), and others. Hebrew National is available with collagen casings at Kosher butchers, some delis, and Wegmans. You can also get Sahlen's, Hofmann's, Zweigle's, and Hartmann's all in the natural casing version at various Wegmans. Lobel's have to be ordered online or bought at stores in Manhattan. Last time I checked they were $15.00 per pound. And that was a few years ago. A good dog, but not worth the money. Expensive because they use prime beef. Very similar in flavor to Boars Head all beef, which is about $5.99 per pound.

                                    localemperor makes an excellent point. Vienna beef out of Chicago makes a quality frank. They use bull meat (so does Best's from New Jersey), but it is a milder beef dog than what we're used to on the East Coast. It goes well with all of the ingredients in a Chicago style dog. A more well seasoned beef dog like Hebrew National, Nathan's, or Sabrett would throw everything out of balance. Pearl out of Boston is an excellent beef dog. Spicier than Vienna, it is great with just mustard. In N.J. you can get these dogs sold loose at Stop & Shop. They are just labelled Stop & Shop all beef dogs, but are Pearl's.

                                    Speaking of Chicago, Vienna is the largest selling dog there and used at over 80% of hot dog stands. And while it is perfect for a Chicago dog, I do prefer other beef dogs when I have them with just mustard, which as I've stated is 90% of the time. The best dog out of Chicago in my opinion is from the Romanian Kosher Sausage Company. For years it was only available at their butcher shop/deli. Now I understand that it is sold at some high end stores and butcher shops. Romanian does not ship their products. I was lucky enough to have some of their franks shipped to me on two occasions by someone who lives 3 blocks away. Not only the best Chicago frank I've had, but the best kosher frank as well.

                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                      Holy Ho Hokus! What took you so long. Fini, the Doggie God has spoken. Well done. I'm headed to hot dog hell and read & green chile heaven,

                                      1. re: hotdoglover

                                        wow- a motherlode of information- Thanks!

                                        1. re: hotdoglover

                                          See, I knew he wouldn't let us down. Thank you, hdl!

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            Hey, MGZ, what about Stewart's doggies?

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              Wow, man, sounds like you need a detour through the Garden State on the way West. A couple chili dogs with rootbeer floats, maybe?? Wash it down with a walking tour of South River? Stock up on some goodies at European Provisions to sustain you when you arrive? (Hell, Central Jersey feels like New Mexico today - I'm .5 mi from the Atlantic and it's 95 degrees!)

                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                          Yep, nothing like the east coast hot dog supply here.
                                          Not that we don't have some advantages in the southwest, as you know. At least you'll be able to grow nopales.

                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                            Natural casings r intestines of an animal.Larger dogs r put in a hogs casing and regular size are lamb.Some all beef large dogs r put in a hog casing even tho the package says all beef.

                                            1. re: lobster lover

                                              I know what natural casings are, thanks.

                                        3. re: EWSflash

                                          I agree...Boar's Head's tubesteakes are pretty much like all of their products: lackluster, mostly below par, and expensive.

                                          For natural casing franks, I've found a couple good alternatives: other than the great franks you'd find in a local mom & pop German butcher shop, I've found that ShopRite's "World Class" brand is pretty good, as is their "Black Bear:; I also kind of like the Nathan's brand in the natural casing, even though an all beef hot dog is not my normal preference (besides the more robust and mighty good seasoning, the texture of their dog is better than most others).
                                          Sabrett is also good, but seems to taste different to me than it used to. Could just be my imagination though.

                                      2. Ipse,

                                        There you go again. Way too much airport time or............... I'd love a copy of the book when it's published.

                                        My vote is for slightly longer, for the same reason as you.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Midlife

                                          You really (and I mean really) don't realize what a blessing free WiFi is in airport lounges and on airplanes.

                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I guess not. I used to travel about 12 weeks a year, more than half of that internationally, but it's been a while.................. before wifi. I used to read a lot back then, but laptops were heavier and had really short battery life. Truth................. much of it was before laptops. :o))))