The Hollow Shame of Hot Pockets Limited Edition Chili Sauce Cheese Dog

So, I'm late to the game and for that, I apologize. I'll try harder. Promise. Last week, looking for something new to add to the weekday lunch line-up, a Hot Pockets "Limited Edition" box caught my eye -- even though it appears to have hit the market months ago. I gave it a quick look, but pushed the cart farther along to the taquitos neighborhood. But, wait! Stop. Did that say, "Chili Sauce Cheese Dog Hot Pockets"?

I ain't afraid, so I threw them in the cart. Then, once home, in a moment I honestly couldn't have scripted if I tried, my sweet son saw the box and in complete big-eyed innocence asked, "Did you buy these for the dog?" He thought I got something "upscale" for the pooch.

No, honey. Those are for you.

The idea here could have been cool. I love chili cheese dogs and pockets have a long-proven track record in amazing. So, on paper, I see how someone in a conference room thought they nailed it. And, please know, there's no judgment here on shady food because we're in a "safe place" when it comes to embracing really bad-for-you food.

First, I sat down at the table ready to assemble whatever "crisper" pouch, toasting tray or heating vessel that was surely generously part of the package contraption. To my surprise, it's been brilliantly dumbed down and all you need is a plate. They've either perfected crisping or have simply given up on us all.

After nuking it for two minutes, instead of beeping, my microwave belched and told me not to ever put such crap in it again.

In its first possible moment of pocket glory, I cut it open expecting it to ooze with round slices of hotdogs, gooey cheese and chili so thick, it would make me proud to be a 'Merican! But first, I had to let the damn thing cool off for seven minutes to avoid the boiling hot lava inside. (If I'd burned the roof of my mouth on that, I may have committed a crime. They should make roof-of-mouth protectors with the boxes.)

After a proper cooling-off period, I investigated the innards of the pocket. It was like a lonely look into the Grand Canyon at night. I was actually able to count four thin slices (just FOUR!) of wiener. There were maybe two tablespoons of chili. On the box the pocket is completely packed with chili, cheese and meat. Well, sit down: They're lying.

I snagged a piece of dough from the center and it was like chalky tar.

No effort. At all. The kids at Hot Pockets, probably in a shiny tall building somewhere, have surely updated their employee dress code to nothing but sweatpants. Towels litter the lawn out front because they threw them all in, which are probably hidden in tall weeds that they no longer cut. They've given up. What happened Mr. Hot Pocket?

So, evidently this "Limited Edition" thing is on-going. Wonder what's next...

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.