Chew On It
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By Andrew Kochirka GoErie.com staff blogger
Food has been an integral part of Andrew's life from a young age; from cooking with his mother and grandmother to creating recipes in his own kitchen. Now he scours the area's non-chain restaurant scene to find the best of the best of local food from chicken wings to French cuisine.   Read more about this blog.
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Hot Dog Taste Test

For my final week of summer foods, I decided that hot dogs would once again be my focus.  I invited five people to have a blind hot dog taste test with five brands found at Wegmans.  The hot dogs were served without toppings or buns so the tasters would be able to focus only on the dog itself.  Sueanne Toomey, Carolyn Kuhl, Jeff McCullor, Rob Hennessey and Amanda Flick joined me after work.  Inside, the five hungry guests sat with plates and grading sheets; outside, it was just me, my grill, and five packs of hot dogs (labeled A through E).  The grading sheets had categories of taste, texture, snap and overall score as well as a section for comments on each.  I will refer to each hot dog as a letter until the end of the post so you can try to figure out the brands on your own.

As package “A” was finishing up and being served, “B” was getting its start.  I continued to get the next batches on the grill to keep the taste test moving.  Hot dog “A” was bun length and was described as having a good beefy flavor by one taster and on the saltier side by most.  These had decent ratings for taste, but lacked in the texture and snap categories.  Hot dog “B” received some high marks and praise.  These were also bun length but had a firmer texture.  Everyone said they enjoyed the seasoning in the beef, though the general consensus was that it was a little on the greasy side.  Hot dog “C” was clearly the least favorite of the selections.  It was the largest of all of the hot dogs and the fastest to cook/burn on the grill.  It was disliked by all the tasters and was described as having a soft, mushy center and being bland, flavorless, gross and having a “fake” aftertaste.  Anything would have been better than this, so it was on to “D.”  These dogs were the shortest in length, but were described as having great texture, great flavoring and being very juicy.  The last hot dog, “E,” was slightly longer than bun length and kept a firm texture with great color.  Like choice “B,” it was described as having fantastic seasoning, though it was a little greasy and had a pepperoni-like taste.

After all the votes were in, I revealed to the tasters the brands.  The only hot dog to strike the same chord with everyone was “C,” the Classic Ballpark.  No one enjoyed it and rated it accordingly with an average overall score of 3/10.  In fourth place came package “A,” original Oscar Mayer, receiving an average score of 5.5/10.  In a tie for second place were choices “D” and “E,” which were Smith’s Skinless and Nathan’s All Beef, respectively, with an average score of 7.6/10.  I personally prefer Smith’s with natural casing, but because not all the hot dog brands were available with casing, it was only fair to buy them all without it.  Coming in first place was hot dog “B,” Hebrew National, with an average of 8/10.

It was a close race and the response was fantastic.  I will gladly do more taste tests if the opportunity arises.  Thank you to Sueanne, Carolyn, Jeff, Rob and Amanda for taking the time to participate.  I had a great time and I hope you all did too.  Next week will be my overall review of my summer stops.  Remember to come back and vote for my next food choice as well.

Until next time,

Andrew – Beard vs. Food

Read more of Andrew's thoughts about Summer Foods
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5 Responses to Hot Dog Taste Test

  1. Kevin says:

    Beard,

    Another interesting and informative update! Glad a number of readers were able to participate. I have never tried a Nathan’s but will have to do so soon. On a side note, I can’t wait to get back to Lucky Louie’s for my second go around – yummy!

    Keep up the good work.

    Kevin

  2. Rob says:

    This was awesome – thanks to the Beard for setting this up. He didn’t mention that he did a wonderful job with the dogs; they were perfect.

    I still dot think the Nathans tasted like pepperoni!

  3. Shannon says:

    Nothing beats Smith’s!!!!

  4. andrew says:

    you should have come to the taste test and proven that right

  5. Whitney says:

    I would have come to the taste test and proven that right except for:
    A. I wasn’t invited and
    B. Everyone knows the main reason Smith’s are so great it the natural casing.

    :0)

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