Bowery's Hot Dogs Lack Snap And Personality
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.
Can you find the hot dog in this picture?
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.