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Archive for the ‘Hot Dogs’ Category

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!

Superdawg!

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

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 like 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!

 

 




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