What’s your favorite hot dog brand? We all know (deep down) which pack of hot dogs we’re going for when we’re pushing our rickety shopping cart along the chilled lanes of our grocery store. But is it the best? Does it even matter? Aren’t we all going to be partial to the hot dogs we developed a palate for in the first place? Julia Moskin of The New York Times gathered two of her fellow food writers to answer the near-impossible question — which hot dog really is the best hot dog in your grocery store?
The food writers set out a few rules. The all-beef dogs would be gas grilled and served only on a bun. Moskin explains that this “would allow us to assess the melding of meat and bread, sweetness and spice, salt and juice that makes up a perfect hot dog.” After tasting the hot dog on its own, they would sample each one with condiments to parse and analyze the subtle flavor of the glorious hot dog.
But this wasn’t about whether or not ketchup or mustard belonged on a hot dog. They wanted a dive deep into the flavors involved in the meat of the hot dog, not what you put on it. “Beyond the meat, frankfurters have a trace of smoke, a touch of garlic and a hum of warm spice from paprika, coriander, clove or nutmeg,” Moskin waxes. “These subtle seasonings are what make a hot dog a hot dog.” Amen to that.
They taste tested Applegate, Nathan’s, Oscar Mayer, Wellshire Farms, Boar’s Head, Trader Joe’s, Niman Ranch, Ball Park, Brooklyn Hot Dog Company, and Hebrew National. If we’re being honest that does sound like a pretty broad spectrum of national brands that are accessible coast to coast. And the winner was … Wellshire Farms which is only sold at Whole Foods.
For the rest of us who aren’t inclined to brave Whole Foods’ steep prices, Hebrew National came in at a very close second. And you can get those everywhere.
(Via The New York Times)