Party dogs?

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Party dogs?

Postby Larry Greenly » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:18 am

What brand of hot dogs to be grilled would you recommend for a party for adults?

And how about sausages?

We're talking about brands that can easily be purchased in ordinary grocery stores, not those imported from some remote corner of the earth and made with hummingbird tongues and the like.
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Carl Eppig » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:43 am

In my experience quality Franks or other sausages, for that matter, are regionally produced. Don't know of any National brands except for the usual suspects. We are blessed in New England with a fistfull of excellent local producers. Recommend you go to the best meat shop/butcher in the area and ask. We almost aways go for the all beef, natural casing styles.
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:58 am

We prefer Lobel's, Larry -- available mail order; the review is by David Rosengarten:

The Chicago/New York Dog: Lobel's Hot Dogs ($14.98 per pound)

Luxury meats at luxury prices defines Lobel's butcher shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The source of their magnificent hot dogs is a family secret, but they did reveal that an 80-year-old Austrian wiener maker in Brooklyn supplies them exclusively to the shop. These dogs are long and thin, all-beef in a natural casing, have excellent "snap" and a great deal of juice. The restrained flavor has little smoke and moderate garlic, but the big meat flavor is right up front.

Lobel's
1096 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10028
Tel: 212-737-1372
http://www.lobels.com

Last year he added a Chicago place to his favorites:

To a Chicago Hot Dog disciple, mecca is Superdawg, on the city's far Northwest Side. It’s a long taxi ride--but if you're into All Things American, I recommend you just bite the bullet and get your butt over there.

Superdawg was founded in 1948 by an accounting student and his young wife, a teacher in the public school system; they were looking to start a business that would keep them busy during the summer months.

They set up a drive-in stand at the end of the Chicago streetcar line that in 1948 must have looked slightly ahead of its time; today, after a few renovations, but with the two 12-foot-high humanoid hot dogs still winking and blinking at you from their perch on the roof, it looks like a nostalgic set for Happy Days.

The secret of success then, and now, is quality--and a slightly different way of doing things.

Most places in Chicago selling hot dogs use a brand called Vienna Beef, which is plenty good--and plenty garlicky, like a New York dog. Superdawg, ever the iconoclast, has its own dog custom-made--just as garlicky as Vienna Beef, but bigger, juicier, snappier, squirtier, with big curls of compact meat.

This dog is all beef--as they like to say at Superdawg, "no pork, no veal, no cereal, no filler." The fresh onions here are minced almost to a paste, and--because there's no year-round availability of good tomatoes--wedges of pickled green tomatoes are used instead. These are major variations on the theme. Top all that off--or, rather, don't--with no celery salt, because the owners "don't think it belongs."

The most important specific difference has to do with humidity. When you get your Superdawg at Superdawg, it comes not handed to you exposed, but inside a red-colored box, "contentedly cushioned in Superfries"--and with a steamed, almost soggy dewpoint, which aficionados think of as the ultimate comfort touch.

In fact, special rolls are formulated to be richer and sturdier, so the damp mass doesn't collapse. If there was ever any question about the compatibility of the various elements in a Chicago Hot Dog, it sure doesn't get raised here; the Superdawg treatment turns this specialty into one, heavenly, unified bite of Americana.

Superdawg Drive-in
6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60646
773.478.7800 (tel, corporate office, catering)
773.763.0660 (to place an order)
http://www.superdawg.com
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Howie Hart » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:02 pm

The standard hot dogs in the Buffalo area are Sahlen's, but I don't know how widely they're distributed. These are what are served at "Ted's Charcoal Hots" a local chain featured recently on a Travel Channel show tilted "Hot Dog Havens". In addtion to the local Ted's locations, they have one other Ted's in AZ (Phoenix? Tempe?), which, I have been told, employs off duty police officers to direct traffic. Sometimes Sahlens hot dogs are on sale in the local supermarkets for $10/5 lb. bag, but the usual price is around $13. However, I just found their web site and they sell on line at about double (5 lb. for $19 to $24 - depending on the casing). They also have a good selection of Polish sausages.

http://www.sahlen.com/main.html
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Larry Greenly » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:16 pm

I guess I wasn't clear. I live in Albuquerque and I just want to drive to a nearby grocery store and pick up maybe a dozen or so dogs for those who don't want to eat hamburgers. No ordering, no spending beaucoup money, just an ordinary little party next weekend--nothing fancy or hoity-toity.

How about Hebrew National, Oscar Meyer or other national brand for the dogs?
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:24 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:How about Hebrew National, Oscar Meyer or other national brand for the dogs?


They're as good as any, Larry. Frankly, a dog's a dog, pretty much. A snappy natural casing is nice, but your constraints may make that difficult. I do think turkey dogs are perverted, and personally consider beef dogs a little silly. But if you've got a craving for a decent dog, a premium brand like Oscar Meyer is going to be just fine.
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Dale Williams » Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:48 pm

We did a (non-serious) study where Hebrew National came out on top:

http://www.myspeakerscorner.com/forum/index.phtml?fn=2&tid=63106&mid=542085
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Carl K » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:03 pm

If you're going for a national brand, Iprefer Ball Park Beef. Unlike Robin, I do not find that a hot dog is a hot daog is a hot dog, and Ball Park seems to have the best taste of all the national brands to me, with Hebrew National coming in a close second.
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:33 pm

For national brands, we prefer Hebrew National.

Check the labels carefully -- you may find a preference based on the ingredients.
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:30 pm

Hasn't Dietz and Watson gone national? They are the best commercial brand in both Philly and the DC area although there are some local Philly area brands that may outdo D&W today. Back in the day they were the best. they put Hebrew National and Ball Park to shame.
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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:34 pm

I'd go with Hebrew National for the dogs, Johnsonville brats for the sausage.



Mike

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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Mike Conner » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:30 am

Larry,

If stopping by a decent butcher isn't an option (my local guy makes these incredible 1/4lb skin-on dogs that are stellar), keep your eyes out for Boar's Head skin-on Hot Dogs (maybe it says Frankfurters on the package). Our local Kroger's grocery store carries them on occasion - but they are with the 'specialty meats' like summer sausage and near the decent cheeses they carry - not where the usual hot dogs are displayed. Somewhere I read the Boar's Head was highly rated. Not the cheapest, but very tasty indeed (plowed through a package last week in fact). I love the extra crunch of the skin-on dogs - especially after they pretty much explode when cooked. Makes extra nice 'nooks and crannies' for the condiments.

My second favorite of the packaged style is Nathan's skin-on dogs. Might be more difficult to find the skin-on ones than the skinless that are often on the store shelf (which are also pretty good).

Unfortunately, both of the above come in less than 8 to a package, so you end up with extra buns . . . Although our local "Fresh Market" grocery store [akin to a slightly inferior Whole Foods] used to offer the skin-on Nathans by the single dog... they got large packs of like 32 or 36 dogs from Nathans and would break the packs and just sell by the dog (or, as many as you'd like). Would buy a large package or two and take home for the Holidays so dad could have his hot dogs with his sauerkraut and pork for New Year's.

Anyway, those are my reccos.

Best,

Mike

P.S. forgot about Sausages. Again, my local butcher makes some of the yummiest sausages from all sorts of meats... lamb, chicken, pork etc.... but that ain't gonna help you. If cooking on charcoal grill, just about any of the top brands will do fine. Not too long ago, scarfed down a couple of the Kroger store-brand fresh sausages (mild) that was cooked lovingly by my fingers holding the tongs over the grill....


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Re: Party dogs?

Postby Larry Greenly » Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:33 am

Thanks for the reccos. Albuquerque has some great sausage makers (I don't know about hot dogs). One is the Bavarian Sausage House (kinda says it all) that has great sausage, which I'll consider. I'm under a certain amount of financial constraint. The board of our writers' organization has authorized the party, but I can't spend too much.

2-1/2 years ago our organization was within 6 weeks of going belly up due to the financial excesses of the previous officers. We are now in a healthy financial condition after I instituted some cost-cutting measures and did a Stanlinesque purge of certain members of the board.

Memories of that time made the board somewhat reticent to spend even a little money on a party for themselves. But I figured the board deserved a pat on the back for turning the whole thing around.

http://www.southwestwriters.org
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