For The Love Of The Hot Dog

Nothing says America like a hot dog.  Nothing says hot dog like a yummy slab of beef sandwiched into a hot dog bun with ketchup, mustard, relish or mayo if you dare.  Get crazy and add some onions, melted cheese, jalapenos, or whatever.  Hot dogs are extra special because they can support a wide variety of added toppings.  In fact, our friend the hot dog is one of the most flexible foods we can enjoy!  Unfortunately, to get a real American hot dog you have to look outside of the United States.  To find a real hot dog that will actually make you sit up and take notice, you must start in Montreal, Quebec.  No, it’s not the home of Ball Park, it’s the home of Maple Leaf Foods.

My quest for the real hot dog started early on in my life.  Hot dogs were always there, whether for a meal at home, some grub at the ball park, or when visiting relatives.  These days hot dogs don’t seem to taste like I remember them.  When I eat an American hot dog now, all I can taste is salt.  I can’t distinguish any real meat flavor, just a sodium-like flavor that leaves my taste buds numb.  When I eat hot dogs as a meal I usually set up three of them.  Lately I haven’t been able to finish them all because of that salty taste.

This problem made me think back to a time in my past when a hot dog made me feel the way I was supposed to feel when enjoying them.  I remembered visiting my mother’s parents on Saturdays.  Each time we visited, my grandmother would make hot dogs for lunch.  It was kind of a tradition we had.  Each time she made them they were dogs that had their natural casings on them.  I can still remember that slight crunch when biting into them, followed immediately by real hot dog taste.  You know – the taste of BEEF.

About two months ago I had gotten to the point where I couldn’t stand that sodium taste anymore from my hot dogs.  It was time to make a change.  My first directive was to stop buying the packaged hot dogs from my grocer.  No more Ball Park Franks for me.  Even the local favorite, Fenway Franks, were too salty.  I’ve always been a beef guy – I never wasted my time with the turkey franks or “hot dogs” made with pork.  Nope, beef is my standard.  Hot dogs are beef.

Bypassing the section in the grocery store where all the packaged crap was, I went to the deli counter.  I decided to try Maple Leaf beef franks in their natural casings.  Got them home, heated them up, and did a simple, classic ketchup and yellow mustard attack, and I was instantly reminded of what a hot dog should be!  When I saw the brand name of Maple Leaf I had immediate confidence anyway, because I figured they must be from Canada and anything from Canada suites me fine.  I mean, hockey and beer have never failed me.

I’ve gotten so much pleasure from eating Maple Leaf beef franks that I decided to actually blog about them and do some research.  When you compare the ingredients alone, it’s easy to see why the typical American hot dog tastes so salty.  Here is the ingredient list comparison between Maple Leaf and Ball Park Franks:

Maple Leaf 
beef, water, modified corn starch, wheat gluten, salt, corn syrup solids, sodium phosphate, spice, garlic powder, smoke flavour, sodium erythorbate, flavour, sodium nitrite, smoke.

 

Ball Park Franks
beef, water, corn syrup, contains 2% or less: salt, potassium lactate, partially hydrolyzed beef stock, sodium phosphates, flavorings, sodium diacetate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), sodium nitrite, extractives of paprika

Now, I’m not a scientist or a nutritionist, but I think it’s pretty easy to see the differences here as evidenced by words that you either don’t know how to pronounce or things that you don’t know what they actually are.  And why you have to put vitamin C into a hot dog is well beyond me.  Plus, spelling the word “flavor” with that Frenchy “our” is much more appealing.

I can write a blog post about Maple Leaf franks and tell you that if you’re still eating regular American made hot dogs you may be doing yourself a huge injustice on the hot dog front.  The proof, though, is truly in the hot dog.  Go to your grocer and pick up some Maple Leaf beef franks and you’ll discover the difference for yourself…and fall in love with real hot dogs once again.

Note, this is not a paid endorsement.  KDawg doesn’t do paid endorsements unless Nike comes calling.  But when I experience a product that does what it says it will do or a food that exceeds my expectations, I’m going to let you know about it.  For more info, check out the Maple Leaf Foods web site.  If your grocer doesn’t carry Maple Leaf beef franks, do yourself a favor and demand that they do.

Sometimes I guess you just have to cross the border to find the real America.

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1 Comment

  1. johndoe

     /  May 9, 2010

    the ascorbic acid (vitamin c) is used to preserve freshness, so those salty dogs can stay in your pantry longer.

    Reply

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