It's hard enough to go to Cattleack BBQ and not over-order. Part of this is a mental thing. "They're only open two days a week," your inner monologue says. "We should get a little of everything." Once you're in line, the aroma of smoked meats fills your nostrils while you're waiting, and any modicum of self control disappears like chaff in the wind by the time you step to the counter.
So we've already ordered too much meat this particular day, when Cattleack's owner and pitmaster Todd David stares across the counter, knife in hand, and asks why we aren't trying his new chili cheese dog. The sights and smells have us spellbound, and whatever the knife-wielding man on the other side of the counter suggests, we generally oblige.
There's a rotating special each week at Cattleack, as David toys with different ideas in his kitchen. This week's Texas chili dog is just the latest of David's tasty and sometimes madcap barbecue creations, like pastrami burnt ends.
"We've done Frito pies for a while," David explains. "But I wanted to go a little further. Except for the bun and the mustard, we're making all of this right here."
All of this starts with a wagyu beef bologna hot dog that's bigger than any other dog you've ever laid eyes on, the same size as Cattleack's other house-made sausages. David carefully splits the dog in half lengthwise with his trusty carving knife, then nestles the dog into a bun that has no hope of containing the dog, much less everything that's about to go on top. Next is a helping of David's own chili, made with with his renowned brisket. David then piles in house-roasted Hatch chiles and jalapeños, diced onions, sweet relish and a ribbon of French's yellow mustard, then finally tops the dog off with more house-made pimento cheese than any one person deserves.
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A preprinted option list sat on the counter, and customers were encouraged to fill out their order ahead of time to keep the line moving. The chili dog list lets you customize your creation to fit almost any whim. Want a bed of Frito's or a smoked baked potato instead of the bun? No problem. Want brisket instead of the hot dog? Sure thing. The only rule seems to be that dogs are made to dine in only, and can't be included in a to-go order.
Even if chili dogs aren't your thing, David's creation will make you a convert. And if you were already a fan, this chili dog will ruin you for anything else. Its powers are life-wrecking and will have you questioning all which you once held dear. We only stopped in yesterday to fill a beef rib urge, but Cattleack's wagyu rib, a 23-ounce meaty ode to all that is sacred in Texas barbecue, sat nearly untouched with two slices of lean brisket while we plowed through the hot dog.
The chili dog's draw is so powerful that the woman in front of us, already with a copious amount of meat wrapped and ready to go, saw the dog on our tray and asked for one just like it without hesitation. One look and you'll likely be a believer yourself.
Cattleack Barbecue, 13628 Gamma Road