For those hot dog lovers living north of Boston, if you haven’t been to Fred’s Franks then it’s time to get off your keister and treat yourself to some finely grilled encased meats. Fred’s is my regular hot dog stand, and the regular for many more living and working in the Wakefield area–including all the nine-to-fivers working in the office building adjacent to Fred’s stand and making it a habit of taking lunch there, you know who you are! Perhaps the most amazing part of visiting Fred’s stand, however, is seeing the poor guy who decided to challenge Fred to his territory and set up a sausage cart. You’ll see the evidence of his doom in the two pictures below, taken during my most recent lunch-time visit.
So what’s the difference? Well, Fred’s got his secret weapon, the big green egg. This thing is so hot it cranks out a finely-grilled dog in just a few minutes, giving a Pearl frank a wonderfully snappy, smoky casing. He’s also got a great lineup of encased meats: 1/8 lb. regular hot dogs, 1/4 lb. “jumbo” dogs, and 1/2 lb. monster dogs–all Pearl franks–and an assortment of chorizo, linguica, and keilbasa. It’s not on the menu, but my staple–and the only dog I’ve tried, to tell the truth–is the schnurble. Topped with his “ying yang” condiment mix (mayo, Chohula hot sauce, sweet cabbage, and chopped raw white onions) this 1/8 lb. Pearl all-beef frank and half a link of chorizo concoction is enough to make my day perfect.
Last, but certainly not least, Fred’s not-so-secret formula for success is having a few things that he does well, and keeps doing them consistently well. It’s enough to bring a tear to my eye, just thinking of cranking out perfection like this, day in and day out.
Fred’s will only be open until October 31st, maybe a little bit into November if the weather holds, but he’s taking email addresses from people and, if he decides the winter weather is right, will be opening a few times during the season. I’m assuming he’s looking at expanding his hours and possibly shifting base of operations for the winter, but there’s something perfect about eating a perfectly-grilled dog while standing on the Wakefield waterfront, especially with the fall colors in full peak on an Indian summer day.