The Great Weenie Show Down
Hey hot dog fanatics, I’m getting time to write this post because I’m waiting for a flight to New Orleans via Houston, where I expect to indulge in boudin, deep fried boudin balls, and endless amounts of oysters. And then there’s the library conference that I’ll be attending too, far from the highlight of the trip (obviously).
So what’s happened to the blog recently? Well, we were featured in the weekly supermarket magazine, Woman’s World. Oh yes, I’m waiting for the endless amounts of traffic the blog is sure to get after hordes of women looking to burn calories flock to our high-fat site.
It must have been a few months ago that I received an email from one of their editors asking for an interview. After scratching my head for a moment and considering whether or not I wanted our first print advertisement to come from something like this and not–let’s say–Gourmet magazine I figured what the hell, if you write a blog about hot dogs you can’t take yourself seriously. So I settled into the task, which the editor described: to find my “personal best” hot dog among a variety of categories. More head scratching occurred after reading the list, which included vegetarian, low-fat, healthy, chicken, etc. What the?!?
So I’ve never considered that there could even be such a thing as a healthy hot dog. What do you use, the snouts of pigs who were given a run on the treadmill before entering the slaughterhouse? Of course not! You pull back on the delicious things like nitrates and nitrites (which will eventually result in my complete sterility), use leaner cuts of meat, or just stomp on the idea of a hot dog and make an aberration out of beef broth and beef puree.
Not having all the money in the world, I set out to the nearest supermarket and purchased three packs of the healthiest (shudder) hot dogs I could find. In retrospect, I should have gone to Whole Foods instead of the run-down Johnny Foodmaster down the road, because they have an amazing selection of the above brand, Applegate, as well as a host of other contenders.
The Applegates were Sam’s request, being the hot dog of choice for her, and the Boar’s Head was mine. The Ball Park came into play because I couldn’t have just two dogs in the competition and it was the only other option in the grocery store. Unfortunately that was a mistake, I should have just licked the floor to enjoy its superior flavor over the Ball Parks and kept it at two.
My good friend and neighbor Dave hosted for the night, so he had the pleasure of watching these dogs shrivel up on the grill. Believe me, when you look at the next picture the wrinkled results were not because he overcooked them, these dogs just don’t have enough fat in them to remain plump and juicy.
And now I know what I’ll be looking forward to in old age: eating wrinkly hot dogs to keep my cholesterol down. For the lineup we have the Ball Park on the left, the Boar’s Head in the middle, and the Applegate looking somewhat delectable on the right. I added a salad in to keep the healthy atmosphere rolling and a few beers to help me forget the shame of the night.
And what do you do when you’re faced with the prospect of a healthy hot dog? You load it up with a can of Tony Packo’s chili sauce, which added at least 25% of my daily required saturated fats with each bite.
Ball Park: mushy, straight beef broth flavor; loose casing, tastes like the dog a kid would ask for; consistency of a pate with a film. With condiments the hot dog is easily overwhelmed and the taster underwhelmed.
Boar’s Head: very, very garlicky; firm and snappy; makes me want to snap into a Slim Jim because it tastes like a warmed-up stick of jerky. With condiments the dog still has a lot of garlic coming through, certainly not kid friendly.
Applegate: beef with spices, perfect balance. Firm and snappy texture. With condiments its the clear winner.
And what was the result of the interview? A month later I got this in my inbox:
Now I always try to stay away from the homoerotic when I’m writing and speaking about hot dogs–there’s a lot of opportunities for puerile (and penile) humor but it’s just too easy. So please, please believe me when I say that I never wrote nor said in my interview that you’re likely to “gobble up these . . . wieners.” Regardless, this was our first brush with in-print fame, so I’ll let it slide.