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Archive for the ‘Hot Dogs’ Category

Duluth, MN – Carmody Irish Pub & Brewing

Carmody Irish Pub Duluth Review

Owner Ed & Brewmaster Mike

Comes a time in many men’s lives when they hears the call of the old home town, and feel the passion of his ancestors start to well up inside him. Thus began the latest chapter in the life of Ed Carmody, born in Duluth,  world traveler, grandson of some  former scions of the early hospitality industry in Duluth.   Ed’s Irish immigrant grandparents built a mini-empire in Duluth in the late 1800s, starting a restaurant, acquiring hotels, and being a part of People’s Brewing Co. a rather long-lived post prohibition beer company that lasted until 1957.

Ed’s genetic ambitions led him to create Carmody Irish Pub in Duluth, five years ago, add a Northshore branch, Carmody 61, and finally to add micro-brewing capability on site.

Carmody’s, at 308 East Superior Street in the heart of the “new” old downtown, opens daily at 3PM,  has live music six nights a week, with 32 beers and 21 Irish whiskeys on hand in addition to his own micro-brews.  Demand for the latter is causing him to double brewing output capacity this year.

A believer in supporting local businesses as well as the locavore movement, Ed sources as much product locally as he is able to, and estimates that over 80% of the food products come from establishments within an hour of the Twin Ports.

Carmody’s food offerings include their takes on traditional bar food, with the addition of some Chicago favorites (one of Ed’s major life stopping points),  as well as an homage or two to  Irish / UK specialties.

Chicago style dishes include the “Maxwell Street Chicago Dog,”  dressed as one would find at  hundreds of Chicago eateries, with mustard, cucumber, relish, peppers, tomato,  and a dash of  celery salt.  Another Chicago legend on the  menu is the Italian Beef sandwich, thin sliced roast beef slowly marinaded in a flavorful au jus, served on a fresh bakery roll and topped with mild or spicy giardiniera.  Beef for the sandwich is sourced from Fraboni’s on the range,  and cooked at Carmody 61, which enjoys a larger kitchen and prep area than the Duluth outlet. 

A tribute to the cuisine of  the UK and Ireland can be found in the bangers and mash,  and his version of the Cornish pasty.  If you’re not familiar with the pasty, its a crimped, baked meat and vegetable pie, popularized by miners from the British Isles and Eastern Europe, who settled in the mining communities of Northern Michigan and Minnesota.  The hand-held pie provided hearty fare for miner lunches. Ed says his version of the pasty has “Slavic” influences, rather than Cornish or Finnish.  The pasty has become widely associated with the Finnish culture in Minnesota.

Sausages at Carmody’s are made from Ed’s secret family recipes, built to the pub’s specifications at Wrazidlo’s Old World Meats in Duluth. Bread and rolls are an exclusive Carmody recipe baked by Duluth’s Johnson’s Bakery.

Additional menu items include starters, sandwiches, wraps, pizza with some vegetarian friendly choices.  The menu at the Two Harbors branch has different menu choices, including entrees and burgers.

Taste experiences  this visit included the pretzel appetizer with house made mustard, Italian Beef sandwich, and bangers with garlic mash. All were excellent. We look forward to grazing our way through the rest of the menu in the near future.

Here’s the complete Duluth menu.

Carmody Irish Pub Duluth Review

Exterior

Carmody Irish Pub Duluth Review

Bar Back – 21 Irish Whiskeys!

 

Carmody Irish Pub Duluth Review

Bangers and Mash

 

Carmody Irish Pub Duluth Review

Italian Beef

Carmody Irish Pub on Urbanspoon
Carmody Irish Pub

 

 

Skyline Frozen Chili Review

Skyline Chili ReviewI have had a few words to say about the massive coney island or chili dog infatuation that exists in Ohio, particularly between two rival chains, Skyline and Gold Star.  In the past I tried out Skyline’s dry spice packet and found the results ultra satisfactory.   (I think the dry packet is from Skyline, even tho the brand is “Skytime” and the package is labeled “Cincinnati Style Chili.” Some disgruntled family member?)

Today I’m checking out Skyline’s frozen “Original Chili,” which can be microwaved or heated on the stove top.

Ingredients include:  beef, water, tomato paste, yeast, corn starch, spices, salt, onion, garlic, paprika and natural flavors.

The chili is produced at Skyline’s own plant,  (USDA est 1691)  at  4180 Thunderbird Lane, in Fairfield, OH, which according to Google maps, appears to be in the image below.  It’s important to me that a brand has control of its manufacturing, rather than contracting it out to someone else, which is very common today.

You can get the goods at grocers in about a dozen states, or order some of the products direct online.  I’ve ordered the dry mix packages  through Amazon.  24 packages for $37, which includes shipping.  If you want the best results, follow the packet instructions precisely.  The only variation I’ve done is to add more ground beef and simmered longer,  just my preference for a  very meaty, crumbly sauce.

This frozen pack is easy-peasy, five minutes in the microwave and you’re ready for your coney/chili dog.  I love the flavor and the convenience.  The main difference you’ll find between using the dry spice packets and this preparation, is like I previously said, I use more ground beef with the dry mix.  Beef in the frozen version?  Eh, not so much.  Maybe less than 10% by volume?  More reminiscent of the “hot dog sauces” of the deep south than of Detroit style coneys.  In the pic below, of the sauce out of the microwave, but still in the tray, you can see a little oil slick, and to me, that’s ALWAYS a good sign for coney sauce.  I used Old Wisconsin natural casing wieners, my current favorite.

Prepared them in the traditional coney style, with a squirt of yellow mustard, diced onion and sauce. ONLY. The serving instructions, for hot dogs, suggests 4 T of sauce per dog.  Seems like a lot, but it’s up to you.  I went with 2 T.

In any case, I will pick the product up again and keep one in the freezer, for lazy weekends.

Skyline Chili Review

Out of the Microwave

Skyline Chili Review

Coney Style Hot Dog

Skyline Chili Review

Skyline Chili Plant in Ohio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skyline Frozen Chili Review

Ball Park Franks Angus Review

ball park franksBall Park brand hot dogs are as American as …….Germany.  At least according to Wikipedia, when the Detroit Tigers issued a competitive challenge for companies to come up with an exclusive Tigers frank, a Frankfurt, Germany company called Hygrade won the competition, became ensconced at Tiger stadium and the “legend” grew from there.

Ball Park became a solid American brand when Hygrade was purchased by Sara Lee in 1989, on the company’s quest to move from the grocer’s  bakery shelf to the meat counter for their primary revenue stream.

Some Sara Lee meats ended up domiciled at Hillshire Farms, which now is in the midst of being acquired by Tyson.  That’s a long journey for a simple weenie.

According to some web sources, Ball Park is America’s best selling brand, having toppled Oscar Meyer for the title.  Their marketing slogan is “So American you can taste it,” which is pretty funny considering the original recipe was German.  They could say “As American as Aldi,” maybe.

I picked up a package of Ball Park Angus Beef Franks from the scratch and dent section at my grocery, where they were discounted to $2.  As all of my favorite and preferred brands are hovering around $5 now, which pretty much works out to a buck a dog, this seemed like a deal.  Tho my personal preference is always for natural casing dogs, skinless will do in a pinch, and specifically under two situations at my house:  cut up into a beans and weenie meal, or charred to perfection on a grill.  Charring a skinless gives you a pretty adequate illusion of a casing and ‘snap.’

The ingredient list of the Ball Park Angus frank reads: ANGUS BEEF, WATER, CORN SYRUP, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS: SALT, POTASSIUM LACTATE, FLAVORINGS, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM DIACETATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), EXTRACTIVES OF PAPRIKA, SODIUM NITRITE.

My critique?  First of all, I’m gonna call “bullshit” on any company that puts “Angus” on their label or in their marketing as something liks 80% of the cattle raised in the US are Angus, so BFD.  If it was “certified black Angus,”  now that’s a real thing. Marketers lately have all taken a class in how to exploit the word “Angus” just like they mistakenly often use the word “Kobe” on menus.  Probably “truffle” should be another one to watch for, as long as you are scrutinizing menus.

The lion’s share of grocery hot dogs are precooked. sometimes in the package, sometimes not.  In regards to Ball Park, I’d prefer if they had a smokier flavor, and did away with the corn syrup as an ingredient.  I see no reason for hot dogs, a product that naturally should fit into the “savory” category, to have a sweetener as an ingredient; and you can taste the sugar in these.

Would I buy them again?  Well, if they were on sale and going to be used for either of the two aforementioned preps.  With the corn syrup, I think they’d do well in beans and weenies.  But today I just put a slight char on them and nestled them into a bun.  Meh.

Postscript:  Tried these a second day in a row, and no matter the toppings or condiments, I can’t shake that sugar taste.  Just not appealing to me, but probably ‘addictive’ to kids.

Ball Park Angus Franks Review

 

 

 

 

Ball Park Franks Angus  Review

 

Making Hot Dog Recipes at Home – From Scratch!

Stuff it!  (Your own sausages).  It’s not that hard, I do it a couple times a year, though it is definitely an easier task if you have a partner or two helping.

I’m not going to go through the whole process here, you’ll have to decide whether to use all beef, beef and pork, or poultry as a meat base, and whether to grind it at home or purchase pre-ground meat.  There are simple manual stuffing tools (I sometimes use a modified caulking gun), or attachments for devices like KitchenAid mixers.  You’ll have to learn about and purchase casings, natural or made from collagen.

This article is just focused on the seasoning mix, a very traditional hot dog flavor.  Here are the ingredients for 20 pounds of franks, cut down the recipe proportionately for less meat.

Ingredients

4 Level tsp. INSTACURE #1 (add only if smoking the sausages) 
8 Tb. Paprika
12 Tb. Ground Mustard
2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
2 tsp. Ground White Pepper 
2 tsp. Ground Celery Seeds
2 Tb. Mace
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
8 Tb. Salt
4 Cups Non-Fat Dry Milk or Soy Protein Concentrate
8 Tb. Powdered Dextrose
4 Cups of Ice Water

Mix the dry ingredients and crush as needed with a mortar and pestle, and then  you’re going to blend these ingredients into your meat mixture making sure it is thoroughly distributed throughout the slurry. You’ll be much happier if you allow the mix to sit in the frig overnight so that all the flavors fully take, but it’s not absolutely essential.

From there, you’ll embark on the stuffing part of the task, and either refrigerate the finished franks, freeze some, or put them on the smoker before storage for additional old world flavor.

Home stuffed wieners

hot dog recipes

Video – Building the Perfect Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

Step by step, for the uninitiated…

 



Chicago hot dog recipe

Baseball Hot Dogs

Baseball Hot Dogs  – Vendor videos from around the country!

 

 




Couple of Duluth Disappointments

Kawika and the Minnesota posse hit a couple of places in Duluth recently, and were disappointed across the board.

The local Marcus theater has five buck night, and apparently they try and make up for the reduced admission with a giant price on a hot dog combo – $8.75 for a dog and soda.  The good news should have been that the franks are high-quality beef weenies from Chicago’s Eisenberg, the bad news (beside the price) was the dogs had been on a roller/heater for so long as to be nearly inedible. Food outlets that use dog rollers should toss product from time to time. Common sense.

Duluthians were so excited about the opening of their first Panera bread store, that they lined up the night before the grand opening. The posse went for sandwiches.

It’s funny, Panera does make so many great breads, and do a lot of good in their communities.  But they fall down on the ingredients used in their sandwiches, it’s been my opinion, and the posse came away feeling the same way.

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

 

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

Marcus Theater Hot Dog

 

Panera Tuna Sandwich

Panera Tuna Sandwich

 

Panera Duluth Review

Duluth Lobby

Panera reviews

Coney Island Recipe – Hot Dog Sauce

I love coney island style hot dogs, which are not to be confused with chili dogs.  Coney islands follow a basic formula of a natural casing wiener, adorned with meat sauce, chopped raw onions, and yellow mustard.  There are variations of them around the midwest, usually at shops started by Greek families two or three generations ago.  Some of the more famous include American Coney in Detroit, Skyline and Gold Star in Ohio, and of course, Deluxe Coney in my home town of Duluth.

On occasion, I make my own sauce at home, whipping up a batch large enough to consume immediately, and freeze the rest in sandwich bags to take out whenever I have the urge over the succeeding couple of months.

My recipe has been developed and fine tuned over many years, and is similar to the sauces listed about, but not identical.  Each establishment has their own ‘secret ingredient’, I am sure.

Coney Island Style Hot Dogs

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 6 C water
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 4 t chili powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 4 t cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2  finely diced onions, one for broth, one for assembly later
  • 2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
  • High quality, natural casing hot dogs (I used Usinger’s)
  • Buns
  • Yellow mustard

Method:

Bring the water to a boil, and add and stir in the tomato paste. When thoroughly mixed, add the dry spices and herbs. Now here’s the twist, which is different that I usually would have done in the past, but it really works for this. Crumble the beef RAW into the broth, and the onions, and simmer for three hours or until reduced to a thickness that you prefer. You may have to further crumble the beef while cooking with a wooden spoon or potato masher, but chances are the hot water will do the job for you.  I usually end up cooking for considerably longer than three hours, reducing my concoction to a thick and meaty sauce.

Assembly:

Steam or griddle fry your dogs, place one on a bun slathered with yellow mustard. Ladle a quantity of chili to your personal preference and dust with diced onion.

Pictorial, step by step:

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

6 C water, 6 oz tomato paste

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Spice / herb combination

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Water, tomato paste, spices boiling

 

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Crumble raw beef into ‘soup’

 

 

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Usinger’s of Milwaukee, NC wieners

 

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Finely diced onions

 

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Lunch time!

 

 

Coney Island Recipe

 

 

Eckrich Lil Smokies Review

Eckrich Lil SmokiesI’m a fiend for “little smokies” – give me a mess of good quality, fine tasting ones, and I’ll pass on the rest of breakfast.  You never see them on a restaurant menus, not really sure why.

Like all pork (and meat in general) products, they have gotten really spendy lately, pushing over $6 a pound. While I have some very specific favorite brands, determined by taste and texture, I am a sucker for sale priced ones, and that’s why I picked up a pack of Eckrich “Li’l Smokies” yesterday.  They were half the price of the other brands.

Eckrich is part of John Morrell now, and according to the USDA plant number on the package, these babies were made at the Morrell plant in Cincinnati (pictured below).

How were they?  OK, especially at the price.  A pork and chicken product (I prefer all beef), they aren’t as flavorful as some brands I prefer, tasting more like cocktail franks, which should be an entirely different recipe than smokies.  I’d buy them again tho, at the sale price.

Why the ‘char?’  I prefer sausages with natural casings, and you’ll never see little smokies in a casing. Too expensive, troublesome for mass production I imagine.  For me, putting a little char on the baby weenies gives them a texture more again to a casing product. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 Eckrich Lil Smokies

 John Morrell Cincinnati

 

 

Lil Smokies Review

New Orleans, LA – Brothers Food Marts

Fry Deli“Fry delis” – are a distinctly southern thing, a serving counter of fried on location foods like chicken, catfish, sausage, biscuits and potato wedges, found at gas stations and other outlets below the Mason Dixon line. I explored a few on a previous sojourn when I was comparing chicken fingers and strips in LA, MS, GA, and AL last year.

This trip was no exception, as I grabbed pieces of fish or chicken to nosh on at various locations on this expedition, including some from “Chester Fried“, and ‘Krispy Krunchy“, two inexpensive (to own) franchises stuck into corners of gas station along the way.

Brother’s Food Marts is a local chain New Orleans of mini-marts (New Orleanians are fiercely loyal to local businesses, some chains have never successfully penetrated the market – like 7-Eleven or Starbucks).  You’ll find Brooks scattered around the metro, sometimes as stand alone locations, sometimes at gas stations.  There’s one in the CBD (Central Business District) a few steps from the both the French Quarter and my hotel base this trip.  This one is open 24 hours and their fry deli is amply stocked with fish, chicken, and fries, as a “meal combo” or to be purchased by the piece.

Nothing like being able to get a crispy hunk o’ catfish at 3 AM, I say.  Which I did.  Later on, down the highway, I hit a Chester’s for some strips, which were lightly breaded and H-U-G-E compared to other chicken places.  Tasty.   Course if you want something a little lighter, you can always opt for a cup of boiled peanuts, regular or Cajun seasoned!

Fry Deli

Fry Deli Catfish

Fry Deli Chicken Chesters

Chester’s Chicken Strips

Boiled Peanuts

Brothers Food Marts

Brother's Food Mart on Urbanspoon

Buy Some Stuff



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