Thursday, October 11, 2007
Snap Happy: Nueske's Hot Dogs
For hot dog lovers, it's all about the snap. The snap is the feeling you get when you bite into a natural-casing wrapped hot dog and the casing pops open to a cascade of juices and spice, not unlike the sensation of biting into Xiao Long Bao at a Shanghainese dumpling house.
The best hot dog stands in LA, Pink's Skooby's, Carney's, all have the snap, but finding it in the supermarket dog you cook at home can be a problem. Most mass market dogs have artificial or, worse yet, no casing at all. They are just a mush of who knows what kind of entrails, beaks and hooves, molded into a hot dog-like shape.
The hands down best packaged hotdogs I've ever had are Nueske's Applewood Smoked Wieners from Wisconsin. These pork/beef dogs have the feel of hand made sausages (lacking the standardization you get from the weiner mold) and, of course, they use natural casing.
These babies cook up beautifully on the grill and make hot dogs that rival any of my favorite stands. In fact, I daresay they are better than some of my favorite dog stand dogs...and they have great snap, which yields to an exciting rush of porky, garlicy juice that floods the mouth a most satisfying way.
As with many great things, however, they are not easy to find. I have occasionally seen a 1 lb. package at Surfas in Culver City, or you can order them on-line from the Nueske's website, but only in the 2 lb. size, which is pretty pricey, and a lot of dog, but oh, so good.