I have a lot of respect for Brian Luscher's hot dog project primarily because I know first hand how difficult it is to make hand-crafted links. Hot dogs are an emulsified sausage with a significant amount of fat. That means the ground meat and fat are whipped until they resemble a pink toothpaste before they're shaped. It also means they're notoriously fragile until they're cooked and set.
Most commercial hot dogs are molded into their familiar tubes shape, but quality hand-crafted dogs are stuffed into natural casings just like other sausages. Natural casings blister and split when they're cooked and result in a noticeable snap when bitten into. Mass-produced dogs lack that quality and are usually weak on flavor too.
When Bowery, the subject of this week's review, first opened, I never expected them to make hot dogs on site. The work is labor intensive and often cost prohibitive, even if Luscher has proven it's possible.
I was hoping they would procure some killer links, though. Something from Rudolph's or Kuby's or even the Hofmann Sausage dogs that are making their way south. For now they use a product from Patuxent Farms. The links are big and juicy, but they're hardly notable and have the same consistency as the hot dogs you'd get at a baseball stadium or other provider that buys links from a food service company.
When I'm at a game, I'll pay $5.50 for a hot dog because that's what you do at a stadium, and you have no other choice. In and around Dallas, however, there are lots of other options.
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