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May 3, 2012 11:30 AM

My last Speed's Dog

On a chowish day yesterday, I stopped in Newmarket square and found Greg's hot dog wagon open and got a Speed's Dog with everything. As per another post, he will be changing the name soon to Super Dog. I'm sad to report that this $8.00 hot dog is no longer in my mind, a destination item. The bun and wiener are the same (Pearl half pounder) but the everything (special sauce, onions, mustard) are no longer the wonderfully integrated perfection that made Speed's a dog of legend. The sauce was cold and overly sweet and there was far too much of it. I remember wanting to eat the wrapper in previous visits. This time I didn't even want to finish the dog. Also, I seem to recall the wieners boiled in apple juice prior to grilling. Not so this time. Your impressions may vary, but I would prefer to remember how wonderful the dog was when Speed would slowly do his thing.

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  1. Been some months now since I've had a Speed's dog, but if Greg is taking those shortcuts, maybe it's just as well that the brand is being retired.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Do we know he is taking shortcuts or are we basing this on someones opinion of one speed's dog on one day? I had a dog there about 3-4 weeks ago, and it was as good if not better than the first two I ate (in one sitting...terrible idea) a few years ago.

      I for one am not at all bothered by the name change, who cares what the name is if the dogs are still good. He will lose business damn quick if anything quality-wise changes, he knows this.

      1. re: ColoradoXJ13

        I think consistency is important when it comes to serving food. I wouldn't want to pay $8 for a hot dog and then have it be luck of the draw whether it is good on one day..but not so good on another. Lack of consistency in quality is usually a pretty goof predictor that things are going downhill.

        1. re: ColoradoXJ13

          Hmmm, odd how posts keep getting deleted. ANyway, I have had Speed's (Boston Super) Dogs each of the past two weekend, great as always, and the scores of people at SoWa enjoying them seems to confirm my enjoyment. Too bad they ran out of fried pickles right as I arrived...would have loved to try a fried Grillo pickle.

          1. re: ColoradoXJ13

            I have been going to speeds for a while. Not back in the 1980s a while but close to 10 years. I don't think its as good as it used to be. Maybe its the grill change, maybe Greg is doing things differently or losing focus with other items. I am not sure but I know its not as good as it used to be. Its not nostalgia, I think the decline has been recent; in the past year or two maybe.

            I don't think SOWA crowds are a good indicator. I bet 90% are having their first Speed Dog. In fact crowds tend to make me leery because I think most people have no idea what good food is. (Cheesecake Factory, Andleman events, etc)

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          I've noticed over the last couple of years that there's been a lot of variance in the Spee^H^H^Huper Dogs that I've purchased. Some are just as good as always and others make me question the whole shebang. Haven't been there since last summer though.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I had a Speed Dog with everything about a month ago, was just as delicious, loaded, and memorable as all of the many I've had in the past!

          2. Speed used to make the sauce himself -- it was a family recipe. And yes, he did simmer the dogs in a water/apple juice bath before grilling them over the briquettes. Part of what made them good was Speed's homey, friendly touch and the feeling that a Speed Dog was somewhat elusive, like spotting Santa Claus in his sleigh on Christmas Eve.

            1. gourmaniac - Is that your own lovely whimsical sketch of Speed's?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Science Chick

                Yes it is and thanks for your kind words SC. Another advantage of how long Speed took to make a dog was sufficient time to do a sketch. RE Pearl vs. G&W, I thought I saw him take out wieners from a Pearl plastic wrapper but might have been mistaken.

                1. re: gourmaniac

                  You are welcome g-maniac......definitely portrays the Speed's vibe. Although my meat-eating days are now long since past, I still fondly daydream about the perfect dog, and the summer my sister and I were on a quest to find it (circa 1979 Hartford area/chili preferably). Your sketch brought me to that place, and I hope captured an iconic Boston spot for those who still indulge! :)

                  1. re: gourmaniac

                    Great sketch! Brings back memories to me. We never get over there now as it's just too far out of our normal area.

                2. oh man! he HAS to do the apple juice thing!?!

                  i took to doing that myself at home because of speed, i feel it is an integral part of the system. time will tell.

                  1. Just curious - did Greg confirm no more apple juice braising?
                    Or just no visual evidence - could they have been pre-braised?