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Archive for the ‘Hot Dogs’ Category

I Invent the WeenieBurger

A few weeks ago, I made frankfurters at home, I usually do this once or twice a year. The recipe is rather simple beef and pork on a 2/1 ratio, paprika, black pepper, celery seeds, garlic powder, dry milk powder, ground mustard, white pepper,coriander, and salt. You process this all, adding ice cubes slowly until you get a slurry of meat product which can easily slide into the casings, natural or not, your choice; my preference is always natural.  You can refrigerate them to consume in the next week, freeze them,  or smoke them and then freeze.

Well, I was a little ambitious on the meat, and had a lot left over that I froze in one pound packs, and have been using for various things. Wednesday is my hamburger day, and I didn’t feel like going out, and had no pure ground beef in the house, so I used a pound of the weenie mixture and shaped it into three patties.

Because of the content, the patties carmelized a little in the pan, and the distinctive color is a result of the spices. You’ll note from the pic of the sliced burger, that this is beyond a fine grind, and so the patty tends to be chewier, lacking the air pockets you find in most ground meats.

But for me, flavor was excellent, and I dressed them with dijon/mayo mixture and dill slices. I’ll make them again, and maybe not only when I have left over frankfurter meat!

weenieburger png

weenieburger cut 2 PNG



Bobak Polish Sausage Review

Bobak Sausage Review“Polish” Sausage is the Americanization of a smoked beef / pork sausage from Poland that is commonly called kielbasa.  The American version is generally milder than the original, depending on the manufacturer.   Many Chicago companies call their polish sausage “Maxwell Street” (style), as an homage to a sandwich that was commonly sold to the immigrant settlers in one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods, Maxwell Street, a major east-west thoroughfare;  a lot of that area now is home to the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois.

Back in the day, Maxwell Street was home to a large open air market, where one could buy nearly anything, legal, or illegal, and the Maxwell Street sandwich was common fare in the market – a grilled split sausage, with grilled onions and yellow mustard, served on a bun, sport peppers on request.  Today’s  “New” Maxwell Street market is a very vibrant giant flea market, held on Sunday’s year round, with a decidedly international flair.

Bobak’s, a Chicago area sausage maker, has been around for more than fifty years, and makes all manner of smoked and fresh sausages and deli meats, as well as operating a large grocery with their own products and imported European groceries.  The grocery, pictured below, is at 5275 S. Archer Ave.

(Got a craving for Chicago foods?  Get hot dogs, pizzas, and more delivered to your home!

Bobak Sausage ReviewBobak’s appears to share a production facility with another Chicago brand, located on the West Side.  Based on the low double digit number assigned to the plant by the USDA, this plant, in some form, has been around a very long time, and probably dates back to stockyard days.

The Bobak Polish come in to different lengths, 8″ for buns, 12″ to heat and eat as a dinner sausage.  It has a very mild flavor, and the bun length ones have a great ‘snap’ and a nice smoke.   Ingredients are: Pork, Beef, Water, Corn Syrup, Potassium Lactate, Sat, Natural Flavors, Sodium Phosphates, Dextrose, Sugar, Sodium Diacetate, Garlic, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

The bun length ones are five to a 14 ounce package, I paid around $4.00, which is a good value, but that was a sale price.   I prefer my Polish on a bun with kraut and yellow mustard. When I used to travel to Poland on business,  the local employees would treat me to  a sausage soup, which was absolutely terrific.  (Polish soup recipes).


Bobak Sausage Review

Bobak Grocery


Bobak Sausage Review







Bobak Polish Sausage Review

Indian River, NC – D Moe’s Famous Hot Dogs

(Update:  This location now closed)

Ran into this place, hiding in the out lot of a strip mill, in Indian Trail, North Carolina.

This is a brand new building, but I didn’t inquire if they were at another location previously, or why the hot dogs were famous.

They have a wide variety of ‘specialties’, which are D-Moe’s take on the various regional dogs of the US, like the “Arizona”, (bacon wrapped, pintos, jalapenos, mayo, onions, tomato, mustard and cheese), the “Carolina”, chili, mustard, onions, and slaw, the “Chicago”, and you know what that’s all about, and the “Coney”, which is mustard, beef chili, and diced onions.  I chose the Coney, and chased it down with a local soda pop, “Cheerwine.”

I wasn’t too moved by D-Moe’s chili, so I peeled out the dog to try it all by its lonesome.  It’s a good quality all-beef dog, and it was a-ok.

“Moe’s Original” seems to be the big daddy of the lot, a bacon-wrapped dog, D-Moe’s mustard sauce, Texas Pete, onion, jalapeno, and D-Moe’s blue cheese slaw.  I maybe should have gone for that.

As I was just “tasting”, I didn’t try the sides, fries, sweet tater fries, rings, mac and cheese, a couple of slaws.

D-Moe’s also has a pretty fair-sized burger menu, and a couple of sandwiches, and damn, looking at the menu just now, I spotted fried bologna, wish I would have seen that on the spot, that would have been my choice for sure.

As for “Cheerwine”,  the only thing it did for me was make me whine that it didn’t make me cheery.  Think of red 7-Up.

I’m a big support of local businesses, no matter where I am, and you should be too.  So when you’re in this part of the world, hit up D-Moe’s for at least one meal.

Complete menu here.

D-Moe's Famous Hot Dogs

Coney Island


D-Moe's Famous Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon


d moes indian trail d moes indian trail

Oklahoma – El Reno Onion Burger v Onion Dog


Johnnie's Grill, El Reno

One of the problems with being a “legend” and lasting 50 or more years, is……you’ve lasted 50 or more years, and you’re damned tired, it’s easy to rest on your reputation, and who can blame you for wanting to squeeze a few more bucks out of your place for your golden years?

But I do like it when there are “two legends”, across town, or down the street, and locals are passionate about one or the other being the best.

Such is the case in my home town with “Deluxe Coney Island“, and “Original Coney Island.” (No question, Deluxe rules!). Such is the case in El Reno, OK, the “birthplace of the onion burger.” In fact, if you find yourself on Route 66, in the spring of any year, El Reno is the place to be in May for Fried Onion Burger Day. I swear. A giant onion burger is cooked and served up to the curious, tourists, and locals alike.

So what is a fried onion burger? Well, at Robert’s Grill, around since before grills were invented, the cook takes a handful of fresh ground beef, slaps it on the flattop, and smashes it once with a spatula. Sprinkle a mess of raw white onions on top, and smash the shit out of it, so it’s a thin patty, awash with onions, sizzling at a high temp, so that the edges are going to get crispy. And I like that. Let it cook for quite awhile, or at least until the blood is coming thru the topside. Flip it once, so the onions are ‘neath it, and place the bun on top to warm. Flip again, slab o’cheese-food. Counterman turns, asks “mayo or mustard.” “Mustard,” sez I.” “Pickle?” sez he. “Aye” sez I. I splurged and ordered a side of tots.

I paid (“make it an even $5,” sez he,) and retired to my usual preferred dining spot on these outings, the trunk of my car. Small problem. Oklahoma, whether it’s truly OK or not, has a serious fly problem. Has anyone pointed this out? There are hordes of flies everywhere I stopped (no, they were not following me), so al fresco dining (who’s he?) was out of the question for the Robert’s parking lot. I would have sped out of town, but I was on “E”, so I packed my hamburg sandwich and tots and moved a block away to the gas station, planning to dine and gas, but the card readers on the pumps were taped over, so I had to go into the station twice. Gassed, but not yet gassy, I drove across the street to the parking lot of Johnnie’s, another place in El Reno that was built by the Egyptians, soon after they finished the pRobert's Grill, El Renoyramids.

I intended to do a side-by-side comparison, after polishing off the Robert’s onion burger, which pretty much tasted like a giant White Castle, but grilled, instead of steamed. I will admit tho, for being grocery store beef and buns, I did like Robert’s version of the o-burger.

Walking into Johnnie’s, the only midday customer, I spied the menu board and out slipped, “two coneys to go, please.” My eyes wandered right. $6.50 for two? WTF? Are you making the weenies in-house here?

They were ready in a sec, of course, the chili was meaty and sweet, like a bbq sauce, and the tiny diced onions were awash in a mustard/vinegar concoction. It was a sweet and sour dog, and I quickly soured on it. I thought that maybe the frank itself would have given the sandwiches some redemption, but scraping off the good, picking out the dog, and taking a bite, revealed nothing more than a standard 10/lb, “mixed meat” hot dog. Could have even been a poultry one. No knack, no flavor. The upside was I was happy I didn’t order the burger, which no doubt would have been a frozen puck from Sam’s Club.

Oh, I know. I didn’t hit the “popular place”, but then I rarely do.


Robert's Grill, Fried Onion Burger

El Reno Onion Burger

Johnnie's Grill, Coney Islands

El Reno Onion Coney


Johnnie's Grill on Urbanspoon

Robert's Grill on Urbanspoon


El Reno Onion Burger

Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

There are few things in “food-dom”  as iconic as the Chicago style hot dog.  And in 2014, Murphy’s Red Hots in Chicago has been proclaimed as the ‘best of the best.’   Here’s a video on how they slap them together at the eatery, your choice of “old school” or the “new way.”


 Unfortunately Murphy’s doesn’t sell their food online, but if you have a craving for Chicago grub delivered to your door, these guys can hook you up.

Murphy’s Menu  and location.


Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce ReviewLocal Toledo hot dog legend Tony Packo’s has been around for 70-80 years, and is the birthplace of the “Hungarian Style Hot Dog.”   Now with five locations, the business received a lot of publicity as the home town favorite of the TV character “Max Klinger” on the long-run sitcom “MASH.”

Toledo is about halfway between two distinct  “coney island hot dog” territories.  And all three are distinctly different in flavor and texture.  To the north, you find the Detroit style like American Coney, heavy on meat and a beefy taste –  in Ohio you have the dueling chains of Skyline and GoldStar, and both of their coney sauces have a ‘sweet’ element in them.  Some fans say chocolate, some say cinnamon.  They are both good, and you can purchase complete Detroit kits or Skyline ingredients online.  And you should.  Often.

So Packo’s sells their sauce in little 8 ounce cans (pictured), less than a buck and a half, if I recall, and the promotional material says it is enough for five hot dogs.  I think that’s conservative, you could probably schmear the sauce on 8-10 I’ll betcha.

Ingredients include: beef, water, chili spice, textured vegetable protein, sugar, salt, corn starch, and garlic.  The distinctive characteristics of Packo’s are 1) the presence of the chili pepper is very evident, as is the sugar.  The sauce is sweeter and hotter than the Detroit or Ohio styles.

There is a layer of flavor deep in there that reminds me of say, Hormel Chili.  Which isn’t a turn off, just ‘different’ for a coney type sauce.  In my experience. Your mileage may vary.  Below are pix of the sauce in the can, out of the can, and after heating.  Shop online if you can’t find at your grocery.  In addition to hot dog sauce, Packo’s sells pickles, noodles, peppers, chili, barbecue sauce, relish and ketchup.  And yes, I’d buy this again. Might even stock up.


Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

In the Can


Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Out of the Can


Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Gently and Lovingly Heated




Tony Packo Hot Dog Sauce Review

Chicago, IL – Superdawg Drive In Review

For over sixty years, Superdawg has been serving up their special menu of hot dogs, burgers, fries and shakes in Northwest Chicago.  It’s still run by the family of the founder, and I always appreciate that type of business and try to patronize them more often than not.

In virtually any list of the top hot dogs in the city, Superdawg makes the cut.  They have their own pet names for the menu items, and claim proprietary ingredients and seasoning.  Each “sandwich” comes in a special box with a mound of fries, terrific pickle spear, and even more terrific, half of a pickled green tomato.

I went with the “Supercheesie,”  their freshly ground burger under melted American cheese. The burgers come fully dressed to your specifications, with a couple of different options being rye bread in lieu of a traditional bun, and “piccalilli” or at least Superdawg’s interpretation of it.  The traditional piccalilli originated in England as a take off on “Indian pickles” and is comprised of diced pickles, vegetables and seasonings.   Superdawg’s is more akin to a sweet relish, something I don’t usually order, but went with it and was delightfully surprised at the outcome.  I did like it.

“Superfries” are crinkle cut, crispy, and nicely salted.  Other menu choices include their hot dog, polish, chicken tenders, tamales, assorted fried vegetables, and fountain treats, including most likely the best chocolate malted I have ever had anywhere,   They start with an entire pint of premium and work their magic from there.

The iconic stand with its hot dog character statues remains an outpost of carhop service, and some families turn a visit into a tailgating even, bringing their own tables and chairs.  Superdawg only has one other full-size location.  I’m not sure why, as this business, with its short menu and long track record of success, would have been perfect for major expansion or franchising.  It’s most certainly a better product than many chains.

The full Superdawg menu is here:

I used to include maps on every post, quit for awhile, but you’ve asked me to stick ‘em in again.  So here’s how to get to Superdawg, accessible by Metra, off I-90 or I-94 (on the way to an from O’Hare, btw)

Superdawg Chicago Review

Family Tailgaters


Superdawg Chicago Review

Icon Rooftop Figures



Superdawg Chicago Review

Cheeseburger on Rye



Superdawg Drive-in on Urbanspoon
Superdawg Drive In Review

Chicago’s Hot Dougs Final Hours

Add up all the major fast food joints and know that there are more hot dog stands in Chicago than the fast food numbers combined. Many of them are called “iconic” for one reason or another – longevity, special menu. One such icon, “Hot Dougs” closed last week after a mere 13 years in business. Owner Doug Sohm says it’s time “to do something else.”

Not just another “hot dog stand” Sohn was on a mission to bring gourmet food to the masses with value pricing, and did this by placing such ingredients inside natural casings and serving them on a bun.

The menu featured rotating items featuring different ingredients, in addition to the standard fare. Menu items were named after politicians and celebrities, ala the style of Pinks Hollywood.

Sohm got a lot of publicity during Chicago’s short lived ban on fois gras, when he kept serving the delicacy as a sausage ingredient. Eventually he was fined and thirty pounds of the delicious pate was removed from the restaurant.

Another eyebrow raising feature was on Friday and Saturday, you could get fries cooke in duck fat.

The last few years, there was almost always a line at opening hour at Hot Dougs, and the weeks preceding closing were no exception, with some staking out their positions at 1 AM. Enough people were in line those last few days that usually by 7:30 or 8:00 AM, people were told that beyond that point in the line would not be served prior to closing time.

A video on the closing hours is from CBS in Chicago is below, following that is a typical Hot Dougs menu..

hot menu

Athens, OH – O’Betty’s Red Hot Review

Dogs and Dames

By Oddzar Easeright Twitter 

O’Betty’s Red Hot

15 W. State St., Athens, OH 740-589-6111

Nothing goes together quite like hot dogs and burlesque dancers, don’t you think?

At O’Betty’s Red Hot in Athens, Ohio, owner Bob Satmary has combined his two passions into a one-of-a-kind melding of hot dogs and hot women … women, that is, who ply their wiles in the old-style tease-and-tantalize trade of burlesque dancing. Yes folks, O’Betty’s is a monument to both, housing Satmary’s personal collections of hot dog memorabilia, and burlesque theater art – including personally autographed promo photos from numerous dancers – all under one roof.

According to some, Bob Satmary named his place O’Betty’s because it sounded better than O’Bob’s. On the menu, burlesque dancers lend their names to the dressed-up dogs, with offerings like Blaze (smoked bacon and creamy coleslaw), Salome’ (sport peppers, sweet relish, diced tomato & onion, mustard),Tempest (habanero salsa, jalapenos, sharp cheddar and sour cream), and Mata Hari (chili sauce & creamy coleslaw).

The dogs are all-beef in natural casings, sourced from Five Star Brand Meats in Cleveland, and the traditional buns are sourced locally from Heiner’s Bakery. Order at the counter up front, then take a few minutes to browse the burlesque art and hot dog kitsch covering every inch of wall space, and all of the table tops.

And don’t forget to order the fries – hand cut daily, water-soaked and peanut-oil-fried to perfection. If you are daring or socially challenged, order the garlic version. No cheap garlic powder here, folks – these fries are adorned with minced garlic so fresh and plentiful, you’ll be scooping it out of the bottom of the basket. And what’s more, you will not be bothered by vampires for at least a week afterward.

O’Betty’s, well worth the trip to Athens. Wear your pastie tassels. If you can get them spinning in opposite directions, they just might give you a free basket of fries.

Full menu.

Hootchy-Kootchy (the “build-your-own” offering), Tempest, Salome’, and a large basket of garlic fries

Hootchy-Kootchy (the “build-your-own” offering), Tempest, Salome’, and a large basket of garlic fries



Store Front

Store Front

O'Betty's Red Hot Review

Kitsch Central

O'Betty's Red Hot on Urbanspoon

O’Betty’s Red Hot Review

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 Gleeson, 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, it’s 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.  In the friendly West End. Or West Duluth.  I could never tell what the difference was.

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


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



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