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Comprehensive hot dog tasting


John
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A traditional Chicago 'dog' like Vienna is steamed or boiled, not grilled. We purchase them from the Factory Store in Chicago right off Elston where you can also get 1/4 pounders. Usinger's in Milwaukee produces a number of great 'dogs' http://www.usinger.com/ala_links.php including a veal weiner that is fabulous. You have to special order the veal weiner and pick it up locally. When we put the Vienna 'dog' against a Usinger all beef 'dog' the Vienna won by all three tasters involved. I need to repeat using the veal weiner. But the Vienna 'dog' is one great product. -Dick

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A traditional Chicago 'dog' like Vienna is steamed or boiled, not grilled. We purchase them from the Factory Store in Chicago right off Elston where you can also get 1/4 pounders. Usinger's in Milwaukee produces a number of great 'dogs' http://www.usinger.com/ala_links.php including a veal weiner that is fabulous. You have to special order the veal weiner and pick it up locally. When we put the Vienna 'dog' against a Usinger all beef 'dog' the Vienna won by all three tasters involved. I need to repeat using the veal weiner. But the Vienna 'dog' is one great product. -Dick

Taste is subjective. The Vienna dog is much blander than a typical New York/ New Jersey dog. But it lends itself better to all of the condiments or ingredients that are put on a Chicago Style Dog. If you were to include a spicier New York or Jersey dog, it would throw everything out of balance. On the other hand, if you were just sampling a dog with mustard only, the East Coast dogs have more flavor. More important is the fact that you tend to prefer what you grew up or were brought up with. In my opinion, Usinger's all beef dog is hands down better than the Vienna dog. In fact, it was picked as the dog to be served at the Olympic Games. The Olympic Comitee engaged in an all day taste test to find the best all beef dog, and Usinger's won. But this would mean little to those who grew up on Vienna franks.

John the hot dog guy

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I don't understand why people drive all the way to the supermarket for hot dogs when all they need do is call Usinger's in Milwaukee and have the country's best dog FedExed to their doorsteps. Good excuse to order a box of Usinger's fresh brats, too.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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My favorite is Boar's Head in the natural casing.

The runner up is the just released Nathan's in the natural casing however they are hard to find ... even in L.A.

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A traditional Chicago 'dog' like Vienna is steamed or boiled, not grilled. We purchase them from the Factory Store in Chicago right off Elston where you can also get 1/4 pounders. Usinger's in Milwaukee produces a number of great 'dogs' http://www.usinger.com/ala_links.php including a veal weiner that is fabulous. You have to special order the veal weiner and pick it up locally. When we put the Vienna 'dog' against a Usinger all beef 'dog' the Vienna won by all three tasters involved. I need to repeat using the veal weiner. But the Vienna 'dog' is one great product. -Dick

Taste is subjective. The Vienna dog is much blander than a typical New York/ New Jersey dog. But it lends itself better to all of the condiments or ingredients that are put on a Chicago Style Dog. If you were to include a spicier New York or Jersey dog, it would throw everything out of balance. On the other hand, if you were just sampling a dog with mustard only, the East Coast dogs have more flavor. More important is the fact that you tend to prefer what you grew up or were brought up with. In my opinion, Usinger's all beef dog is hands down better than the Vienna dog. In fact, it was picked as the dog to be served at the Olympic Games. The Olympic Comitee engaged in an all day taste test to find the best all beef dog, and Usinger's won. But this would mean little to those who grew up on Vienna franks.

You certainly are correct about taste being subjective.

I grew up in Wisconsin on Usingers everything but worked in Chicago and Illinois later in life where I was exposed to Vienna dogs quite a bit. Learning of the chosing of Usinger Beef dog for the Olympic Games, I tried a box instead of my usual veal weiners. I was very surprised when in a blind tasting by three of us, that the Vienna dog was chosen. Need to acquire some NY/NJ dogs next.

But I still like going to the Usinger Factory Store. Tip: Monday, Tues and Wed are most crowded because Seniors get a discount.-Dick

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I don't understand why people drive all the way to the supermarket for hot dogs when all they need do is call Usinger's in Milwaukee and have the country's best dog FedExed to their doorsteps.  Good excuse to order a box of Usinger's fresh brats, too.

If you're gonna do brats, may as well do Miesfeld's of Sheboygan. As good as Usinger's is (and they are, they are!), Miesfeld's is even better.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Im really glad they didnt include Oscar Mayer cause they are horrible.

Just nasty consistently. I happen to like the Dietz and Watson and Sabrettes the best.

The worst hot dog Ive had was at the summer fair recently. I thought Id buy a corn dog for my son to try, but the fair I go to is going downhill consistently every year, with very shifty people, so the hotdog in the corndog I bought was just screaming to me "Soylent Green is PEOPLE!"

It was awful...

Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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I thought that the cooking method in the reports was very interesting. I never really thought about it. For example in the test Sabrett was much better boiled, others better fried.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Purchased a box of Usinger's Veal Weiners and compared them to Vienna dog and Nathan's Natural Casing dog. In a blind tasting, two of the taters preferred the Usinger Veal Wiener, one of the tasters, the Vienna dog and one taster liked them all. They are really all different types of dogs. The Usinger dog has an unmistakable German sausage heritage, The Vienna dog holds up very well to the Chicago Style of smothered condiments dog and the Nathan's has a very rich and juicy feel and taste. Any one would make a great hot dog in a bun.

The taster that liked them all, kept wagging her tail for more but alas only one dog per dog.

Price wise the Nathan's was by far the most expensive at $6.12/# with the Vienna dog at 3.99/# and the Usinger Veal Weiner @ $3.33/# which includes my Senior discount!

-Dick

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Dick,

Have you ever had the Usinger's natural casing beef dog? The smaller one with the sheep casing. This one would be closer in style to Nathan's and Vienna than the veal dog. Shortly after the tasting, I compared a Boars Head, Best's, and Nathan's. I liked Best's the Best. Boars Head was just as good. Although I scored Nathan's half a point higher than Boars Head, I clearly preferred Boars Head when I had it this time in a roll and with a full dog. Nathan's didn't have the firm texture that the other 2 did and was a tad greasy.

I would rate Best's (Newark, not Chicago) Usinger's, and Boars Head as the three best beef dogs with Sabrett and Nathans right behind.

John the hot dog guy

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Dick,

Have you ever had the Usinger's natural casing beef dog? The smaller one with the sheep casing. This one would be closer in style to Nathan's and Vienna than the veal dog. Shortly after the tasting, I compared a Boars Head, Best's, and Nathan's. I liked Best's the Best. Boars Head was just as good. Although I scored Nathan's half a point higher than Boars Head, I clearly preferred Boars Head when I had it this time in a roll and with a full dog. Nathan's didn't have the firm texture that the other 2 did and was a tad greasy.

I would rate Best's (Newark, not Chicago) Usinger's, and Boars Head as the three best beef dogs with Sabrett and Nathans right behind.

Yes, my last box was beef natural casing. They had them on the 'seconds' table which outside of some imperfections are just the same.

Don't get me wrong, I like Usinger's dogs and ALL thier products, its just that for some reason the Vienna does it for me. Many years ago, Chicago used to have roving hot dog vendors. For a buck, one could get two Vienna dogs with the works. Had many a lunch at one of those stands. Mayor Daley(not Richie) put them out of business by requireing running water for any type of establishment that serves food to satisfy the Restaraunt Lobby.

I agree that the Nathan's is tad greasy but people like fat!

One of things I like about Usinger's besides being made in one place by an old company is that they use no fillers or MSG in thier products. We mostly have Usinger's dogs on hand but once in a while a Vienna dog is nice.-Dick

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  • 1 month later...

We're lucky in Portland OR to have a wonderful local producer of Hot Dogs that have snap - Gartner's Meats in NE Portland. Two or three times a year I go and buy a couple of pounds and cave in to my hot dog Jones. Seems like the weak link, pardon the pun, in the equation is buns - good dogs, crap buns.

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We're lucky in Portland OR to have a wonderful local producer of Hot Dogs that have snap - Gartner's Meats in NE Portland. Two or three times a year I go and buy a couple of pounds and cave in to my hot dog Jones. Seems like the weak link, pardon the pun, in the equation is buns - good dogs, crap buns.

Does anyone know of a similar comparison done in Canada? Our brands are largely limited to large conglomerates - of which Shopsy's is probably the best though nothing like a Nathan's. Maple Leaf is everywhere but the Juicy Jumbo family doesn't "cut the mustard" with me - too salty and again not enough chew for my palate....just soft meat taste.

Natural casing dogs are pretty tough to find in my area.

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