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September 12, 2008

A really great hot dog

HotDogs.jpgYou may have missed the following comment from a new Robert under The Next Top 10 entry.I think it's a good topic, but I know my judgment is too off to be able to make a best list.

(Embarrassing disclosure alert!) I like hot dogs the way my mom made them for me. She would start with just some ordinary supermarket hot dog, split it and brown it in butter. Then she would put it on a soft white roll that had been lightly toasted and finish it off with yellow mustard, ketchup and sweet relish. Also I like serious gourmet hot dogs with serious gourmet mustard.

I rarely have hot dogs anymore, though. There's too much other good food out there that I can feel better about eating.

Mmmmm...trashy hot dogs.

Anyway, here's Bob's suggestion: ...

How about a really great hot dog. I've yet to find one. Had some decent and far too many not so good. I'm still hunting for a great dog.

Have tried C&A (from Diners show) - so so. Zacks is passable, (though I do like Vienna Beef products) The place in Glen Burnie was a serious disappointment.

The best so far is Burke's, but not convenient access.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 10:38 AM | | Comments (51)


Stop the presses. When did Burke's close? I saw that the owner recently died but ...

Did you tell us this? I'd hate to think I'm not spending enough time in the Sandbox.

Cripes. You are absolutely right. I don't know what I was thinking of, but you have saved me from great embarrassment. I hate to change an entry once it's posted, but I think I better take out that TOTALLY UNTRUE statement. EL

Zack's "Chicago Classic" comes the closest to the "real thing" as served in Chicago - a steamed natural-casing Vienna Beef hot dog, served on a steamed poppy seed bun, with yellow mustard, bright-green Vienna relish, chopped raw onion, small tomato slices, a dill pickle spear, 2 or 3 small "sport" peppers, and a shake of celery salt. If you've grown up with that, nothing else comes close. Don't knock it unless you've tried it. I used to have to try to replicate it at home, but some of the key ingredients (poppy seed buns, Vienna Beef hot dogs, sport peppers, and bright-green relish) just aren't available around here. I'm happy that Zack's is around to provide my fix.

Asking for ketchup on a hot dog in a true Chicago hot dog place is not likely to produce good results and may result in immediate ejection (allthough I used to really enjoy a Polock Johnny's polish sausage with their "works" sauce back in their hey day, and there was probably some ketchup involved in the creation of that sauce.)

For an everyday dog, I just like a hebrew national on the george foreman.

But my favorite dog comes from JW Treuth's butchers in Oella. They have a dog with natural casing, and it just gets sooo crispy when grilled. NOM NOM NOM NOM.

Chicago Hot dog Kits, large and small, are available from the Vienna Beef Store

It is not a pretty place but Weenie World in Dundulk makes at least 30 different options and every one that I have had has been great. And cheap too.

Attmans has a decent dog the last time I was there.

EL - I like mine the way you described your mom making them. YUM!!!!

I've never had a hot dog from Ann's Dari-Creme, next to Marley Station Mall in Glen Burnie, but in a 2001 Sun story, we interviewed someone who was taking a to-go order back home with him to Arizona (in a cooler). Apparently that good ...

There's a picture with the link, that shows the dogs are served on a sub/hoagie/hero roll.

Ketchup on a hot dog: 8 Gack (on a scale of 10.)

Also, what is with the deep-fried dog, apparently the method of choice at Ann's Dari-Creme? I saw this on a menu for the first time last weekend. What part of the country deep fries their dogs? On WYPR's Radio Kitchen, I remember them saying it's traditional in Baltimore to put a slice of bologna on a dog, but didn't mention deep-frying.

My mom (a native New Yorker) was convinced that the best dogs in the world were Nathan's barring none. Years ago when we all went to NYC together and had Nathan's dogs, we didn't really get it. They were good but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. I like a Hebrew National cooked on a charcoal grill personally. It should go on a soft fresh bun with onions, relish and brown mustard. My son loves Attman's dogs and often sets off my smoke alarm by pan frying his kosher all beef dogs and frying bologna to wrap around it. He likes the almost kaiser roll hot dog bun. As a teenager, my favorite was the Esskay guy at the ballparks dogs with "the works". I actually think good hotdogs might be harder than anything to pick because they can be served so many different ways.

Mmmm...I LOVE me some Pollock Johnny's, with the works, of course. But a friend who is addicted to them, got me into the pretzel dogs in Cross Street market. Rather tasty, and a great quick base before tackling those 32oz beers

Welcome, Liz!

Ann's by Marley Station is wonderful. My Grandmother lived in Severna Park and I'd stop at Ann's on the way down to visit her to get us both a foot-long. They were the best!

I would like to again nominate the best hot dog as an Esskay at Oriole Park.

The hot dogs are great - but the atmosphere makes it taste that much better.

Nathan's dogs are delicious, even when purchased in a mall or food court. Love those hot dog nuggets --- little corn dog bites. And isn't the term 'dirty-water' dog, referring to those purchased from mobile carts, disrespectful?

In Rochester, N.Y., they sell "red hots" --- a traditional dog --- and uncured "white hots", with a white skin. Perhaps natives of that area would be able to distinguish between the two colors in a blind test, but not me. Wegman's has allegedly sells this western New York taste sensation in all its markets but I've never investigated at the Hunt Valley location to confirm.

In my humble opinion the two best hot dogs around are the Ann's foot-long double with the works and the Attman's with fried bologna and mustard. Two different types of dogs and but both are the best.

I can confirm the red hots and white hots for sale at the Wegmans in HV. I never knew what they were before!

My best hot dog ever goes to Wild Dog in Cockeysville. They closed something in the 80's I guess. Their hot dogs were spiral cut and oh so delicious.

Ohh man. The Wegmans hot dogs are sooo good. They are Hoffman and are from upstate NY (my hometown). The white snappys are a little spicier than regular hot dogs and I believe are made out of veal. So good and you buy them by the link so you never have the 6 hot dog/8 buns issue.

You can beat a good dog with sauerkraut!

Jessica L. - will that make him stop peeing on the carpet?

I am SO glad that Burke's has not closed. Yes, heard the owner had died, but thought the son had been operating it for some time. Burke's has a number of excellent dishes and I do wish there was more convenient and affordable parking nearby. I'd go there more often. Wife loves their Monty Cristo. And of course Onion Rings!

One person mentioned Attman's and I had forgotten them. Yes, they are good dogs.

So far there has been only one restaurant suggested that I have not tried - Wegman's. Can't believe that there aren't more places serving great dogs hiding out there.

I've had some really great one's elsewhere around the country, so I have to believe Baltimore has some. (BTW, one that really stood out in my experience was Top Dog in Albuquerque, NM - They called it a coney sauce, but they used a coney sauce based on NM red chile. Super! They also were a Vienna Beef product.

Here's hoping for more suggestions.

Wegman's definitely sells Hoffman's, both the White Snappy grillers and the red hot dogs. When my father visits from Florida I trek up to Hunt Valley to get him. He grew up in Syracuse and still loves Hoffman's the best.

As a general rule I go with Hebrew National. For a truly excellent Deli style dog though Edmarts has very good dogs, and Wasserman's (butcher shop so you have to cook em yourself) makes their own. Edmarts is more traditional, Wasserman's is slightly spicy.

Binkerts makes great weiners!! I hope they reopen soon.

For supemarket digs OM. Oscar Mayer all the way. Hebrew Nationals are too garlicky.

Hebrew Nationals are too garlicky

Too garlicky? I'm not sure that's possible!

And why do you dislike the garlic, OMG? Could it be that are you are somewhat more than just an avian creature of the night?

I grew up with Esskay hot dogs - boiled. My mother made them that way for us. For herself, she would make them fried in butter.

I am not a vampire - yet. Hebrew Nationals are too garlickly for hotdogs. I love garlic, probably as much as any human at times. I routinely chop up several raw cloves and toss them in a bowl of soup. I made my own lacto-fermented garlic. I love roasted garlic. When I feel like I'm getting a cold or a few times a year for no reason I eat tons of raw garlic in everything for a few days, because I think it's healthy and cleansing. Ever eat so much garlic that the next day when you shave it comes out of your pores? I have. During these garlic holidays I probably smell like a salami factory. Of course livig in Little Italy, nobody is going to notice. I smell garlic when I wake up in the morning sometimes.

No garlic today though. Just Old Spice and lots of coconut hair mousse.

Too garlicky? I'm not sure that anything besides ice cream and chocolate cake can be too garlicky.

I fear I must defend the honour of Michigan, though. Michigan has the strictest laws in the country on what can go into a dog, although I'm not sure that is actually a good thing.

Anyway, the canonical dog of summer for me is and will always be Ballpark Franks (they plump when you cook 'em). Even if I'd actually really rather have Hebrew National, or, if there is a good, real butcher around, whatever they've got in natural casings.

Christine the Lioness at Wild Dog did you ever try Dad's Dirty Beans? Those were great, they started as regular canned baked beans then they added onions, bacon etc. They had just the right "kick" to them last time I had them.

The problem with supermarket hotdogs nowadays (at least at the $%^**& Canton Safeway) is that they're all skinless. Skinless hotdogs are just wrong!

Teenagers (and adults with cast iron stomachs) love those Esskay dogs swimming in hot dog water on the hot dog carts in Baltimore. There is always at least one person double parked in front of the cart on my way home from work (cause considerable worry about a head on collision on my end!)

RE: Too garlicky? I'm not sure that anything besides ice cream and chocolate cake can be too garlicky.

Have to agree about the chooclate, but the garlic ice cream at the Gilroy Garlic Festival is really quite tasty.

I have no idea what lacto-fermented garlic is, but it sounds delicious. I must have some.

A word from a native upstate Yorker ... Sahlen's hot dogs, also found at Wegmans. The official hot dog of the Buffalo Bills (not that that's helped any, and not that I am a fan). They are a couple of shades lighter than the dogs we see this far south, and I find the seasoning to be delicate and interesting enough to eat them without a lot of dressing up. If you bake your own beans (especially with maple syrup instead of molasses) these are the puppies you want with them.

The Nathan's hot dogs you get in Coney Island are unlike those sold anywhere else. Tangier. Zestier. According to neighborhood savants, it has something to do with the sparks flying off the Cyclone roller coaster that towers over the original Nathan's stand.

I have no idea what lacto-fermented garlic is, but it sounds delicious. I must have some.

It's awesome. It's like making garlic immortal -- ironically undead forever in your refrigerator. I can give you the secret formula and you can join the Army of Garlic.I also have two jars of homemade lacto-fermented ginger, which is super-mojo-enhancing and tasty.

I would like that recipe, OMG. Undead garlic...perfect!

I've got to try making those incredible sweet Korean pancakes I had at the festival yesterday, too.

I stood in the line to try the Ann's hotdogs...twice. For me, they are too soft. There is no bite to them. A good hot dog needs some bit; that only comes with casings. Now, if I want to eat the best regular hot dogs, I visit the hot dog stand in the front of Lexington Market. I call them the dirty hot dogs. I grew up eating them as a treat when I went downtown with my mother. I think that the chili pot remains unwashed from the fifties with more ingreditents added every My mother also was a boiled hot dog person. I told her she boiled all the sense out of them (right along with the taste).

Edmart's Delicatessen in Pikesville has great hotdogs.They are expensive per pound, but if I'm going to eat a hotdog....its from Edmart's They are from somewhere in New York and they also have decent rolls that are long enough for the hotdog.

You can also buy their "Hamishe" mustard. You won't be disappointed!

The problem is that Maryland just doesn't seem to be a Hot Dog Town. In the 25+ years since I moved from Jersey, I have yet to satisfy my hot dog addiction. At home I prefer a Hebrew National or Best's, topped with my homemade NY-style red onion sauce.

However, I assume this top 10 is about places to get a good dog.

The best I have found is Pollock Johnny's with the works. It just has that authentic hot-dog joint kind of taste and ambiance.

Zacks is OK, if not a bit pricey.

I still don't get the bologna-wrapped thing.

Anyone else who has spent too much time ensconced in and around Rochester, N.Y. care to explain the classic way to consume a white hot when not at Red Wings stadium? That is, as part of a white hot garbage plate?

Buffalo, you may keep your discarded ends of chicken appendages. Rochester will season its "plates" with Nick Tahou's special sauce, which I suspect is the seasoned scrapings off the grill.

Lissa, I will see if lovely Amanda C. will post the recipe for undead garlic. I tend to forget a step.

Merci bien, M Hibou.

Hi Folks! I just don't like grilled hot dogs. Give me a steamed dog or none. Does ANYONE know any place on the east coast of the USA to get a great steamed hot dog?! Thanks.

My wife and I are in the process of opening Tina's Dog's in the mid-Maryland area (Anne Arundel Co.!) Look for the arrival in the next year. Lot's to do. We have a love of Hot Dogs and decided to open a great hot dog joint. We will have dogs from North, South, East and West. IMO NEVER EVER put "That RED stuff" on a dog! Only Mustard!! Stand by for great dogs!

Regina, I finally tried a dog at Ann's Dari-Creme and don't understand the appeal.

But I just read about these stands in NYC that sell bulgogi dogs ... hot dogs with Korean bbq on top. Does anyone know if these are available locally, perhaps in some Ellicott City strip mall I have yet to explore?

Most of you guys are sounds so unbaltomorean! Baltimore is all about hot dogs and i have tasted hot dogs in NYC and nothing compares to Polock Johnnys "with the works." Their chili is undeniably the best. It is a Baltimore icon.

I think Edmart's hot dog is by far the best!! My mom used to get them when we were growing up, and that was how I learned what "kosher" means.
Now there are kosher hotdogs everywhere, but none of them compare to the ones from Edmart. I live in Montgomery County but I still make the drive to Baltimore to pick them up when we're having a big bbq. It's worth the trip.

I love Nathan's fried in butter until crispy, put on a toasted bun with mustard and relish. I used to get a good dirty dog in DC when I worked there from a cart at 17th and Pennsylvania Ave NW (Federal Home Loan Bank Board).

Binkerts makes great weiners!! I hope they reopen soon.

Posted by: Hon | September 13, 2008 11:47 AM


Was there another fire?
Binkert's reopened October, 2008.

No one has mentioned Saval brand hot dogs, they're what Lennys uses, and you can buy them packaged at Lennys.

Also, a friend of mine who spend a year in Italy said Italians put mayonnaise on their hot dogs! Weird!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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