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Mar 4, 2014 09:09 AM

Searching for a great Hot Dog as winter winds down.

Just having a craving. What's your favorite?


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  1. My favorite are my Essem's cooked at home..but my favorite place out to get a hot dog is Top Dog in Rockport.

    10 Replies
    1. re: BlueMagic

      I don't know if I have ever had an Essem's. Are they best griddles, bbq'd or steamed. And to keep this on board, who carries the brand in the Boston area?

      1. re: Bellachefa

        I find Essem behind the deli counter at Market Basket.
        Essem was bought by Tyson Foods, and Kayem bought the Essem brand off Tyson about 5 years ago, and they are not as readily available like they used to be. The Essem dogs with the natural casing (hog or sheep) was a mix of beef and pork with dried milk and other spices.
        The dried milk has been removed from the original recipe.
        I'm pretty sure you can find Essem dogs at Hannafords too.
        I like them steamed or on the grill.

        1. re: Infomaniac

          Do you remember the old Essem plant in ( I think South Lawrence)? I remember my family used to get hot dogs and such there. They used to sell the "imperfect" ones at a big discount. I think I ate hot dogs with "pimples" on them for the first 10 years of my

          1. re: BlueMagic

            I remember the plant in Lawrence, and my dad would stop there and bring home a box of the imperfect ones in all shapes and sizes.

            1. re: BlueMagic

              Absolutely I do. Didn't they also have kielbasa there, at least seasonally?

              ETA: Second on Thwaites for cooking at home. Once in a while, I like the dogs at Kelly's in Saugus, too. I get a clam roll and a dog and call it a surf n turf.

            2. re: Infomaniac

              I went to the Market Basket in Chelsea today and asked for Essem at the deli counter. They had never heard of them. I also checked with the stocker on the prepackaged area and he said he'd never heard of them either.

              1. re: catsmeow

                I don't doubt what they told you, and that's too.bad.
                Try another MB and you might get a different answer.
                Most of the MB's in the Merrimack Valley know of Essem.

            3. re: Bellachefa

              Hi Bella,

              Well..that is the subject of the great hot dog debate in my house :-)

              I like them best bbq'd just until the skin cracks..otherwise broiled the same way.
              Son likes them steamed.
              They are really good either way.
              I get them either at Butcher Boy in North Andover or Thwaites Market in Methuen.

              1. re: Bellachefa

                Love Essem's I worked at the plant one summer right out of High School, summer of 1988. I still eat (local) hot dogs, too. The closest I find to the original Essem taste are Kayem's. I can attest to the quality of the meat they used in the past, as well as the nonfat dry milk and spices.

            4. For home cooking? Sometimes I'm in the mood for the big dog, Pearl Natural Casing dogs that are sold in the deli case, good, but somewhat mild, so the grill is a good spot for those to add that extra char flavor. For a smaller dog, and a bit spicier option I go with Applegate Farms natural casing dogs, very tasty, and a smaller dog (which I usually prefer to be honest), good on the grill or griddle, and sometimes steamed when the mood strikes. Lastly, my latest favorite have been the ones made by Moodey Street Provisions in the freezer case, a very spicey dog with alot of flavor, nice size and good snap (all 3 dogs here actually have good snap, FYI)...actually need to head out and grab another packet of these soon...their pricey, at about $10 for a pack of 5 I think it was? Maybe six? I can't remember how many but it was such a tastey dog it was worth the price for me.

              1. Here is an old post, but R.I.P. Gregg of boston speed dog.

                As reported earlier Sullivan's at castle island is reported open, oh to have a blue bird day in the 50's to enjoy the view.


                1. Fred's Franks, the truck and Big Green Egg can be found off Route 128 at Exit 40, at the head of the lake in Wakefield.

                  He has Pearl franks grilled to order, with some sausages and he had jalapeno ones last summer. Also has sauerkraut and many homemade condiments. Really nice guy, too.

                  His website says he will be opening for the season in March.

                  If not Fred's Franks, we really like grilling the Pearl Kountry Klub hot dogs from the deli counter. Their website has a directory where their products can be found.

                  Fred's Franks

                  Pearl Meat

                  1. Go see Grady at Windy City Eats. Original location in Weymouth or his new one in Norwell. Great Chicago dogs!!