Taste Test Reveals Top Dog for Summer Grilling
(courtesy of Epicurious.com)
After a blind taste test of 13 hot dog brands, we discovered one good enough to eat without a bun—plus two other notable franks.
The ideal frank should be juicy, not mushy. It needs to be firm and have some snap when bitten into. It should have a robust flavor with a good balance of smoke and spice. Most importantly, it should be able to stand on its own, with or without condiments and buns.
To pin down this perfect dog we tasted 13 varieties available nationwide. All brands were all-beef (no pork blends) and fully cooked. Several were marketed as all-natural and/or organic.
Methodology: In a blind taste test, seven judges compared the flavor, consistency, and appearance of the hot dogs one at a time. All dogs were grilled at the same temperature until browned. (Some required more cooking time, since the thickness of the dogs varied.) We ranked them according to the Epicurious four-fork rating system (four being highest). One wiener was anointed our top pick, receiving 3 1/2 forks. Two runners-up would certainly find a spot on our grill.
Nathan's Beef Franks
($5.69 for 8-count pack)
Pros: "This dog has a smoky-sweet spiciness and is perfectly juicy," commented one taster. "I love how it's not mushy like Play-Doh; it has an unyielding consistency and a good wide girth," stated another.
One taster said it best: "I knew it was the winner when I tasted it cold and it was still appetizing."
Cons: A bit greasy.
Visit Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on the web
Thumann's Beef Frankfurters
($6.99 for 8-count pack; available in more than 38 states, check company Web site for details)
Pros: " There's a pickled sweet aroma, which I could taste in each bite," said one editor. "The neutral color and good, snappy skin made me feel like I was eating a classic New York City street 'furter."
Cons: A little on the skinny side.
Visit Thumman’s Deli Best on the web
Oscar Meyer Premium Beef Franks
($2.99 for 8-count pack)
Pros: "This pick has a very distinct taste," said one taster. "It's nicely seasoned with garlic and an intense smokiness that reminds me of beef jerky." Other judges found it not overly greasy and with just the right firm bite.
Cons: This dog was oddly red and the texture spongy.
Visit Oscar Meyer Beef Franks on the web
article courtesy of Epicurious