In Pictures: Hot Dogs of American Restaurants

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The Hot Dog Is Slowly Conquering Britain

Richard Vines wrote . . . . . . .

First came the burger. Now it’s hot dogs.

That wonderfully simple snack of a sausage and bun is finally emerging from the shadow of its more-popular culinary cousin in the U.K., where burgers are ubiquitous and hot dogs an occasional treat you might enjoy at a soccer game but rarely crave.

It’s been a long time coming in a country famed for pork sausages that never embraced the hot dog in the same way as America, even though Europeans likely created it. The term “wiener” originated in Vienna while “frankfurter” comes from Frankfurt. Immigrants then took their concoctions across the Atlantic, according to the U.S. National Hot Dog and Sausage Council in Washington.

Just as burgers are getting an upmarket makeover, some of the U.K.’s best chefs next week will compete for the title of Britain’s best hot dog, hosted by the Bubbledogs restaurant that serves only Champagne and hot dogs (I’ll be one of the judges.) But the recent embrace isn’t a top-down culinary trend. Demand is growing significantly nationwide, according to Kerry Foods, whose Rollover business is the biggest seller of hot-dogs-to-go in the U.K.

“Our hot-dog business has had double-digit growth this year, and we are predicting the same for next,” says Bruce Alexander, Kerry’s out-of-home commercial director. “It’s a very significant trend.” He declined to be specific, but Rollover sells more than 20 million hot dogs a year at more than 2,000 outlets in stadiums, concert venues and stores, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

That double-digit growth contrasts with a 1.4 percent annual increase in British consumption of sausages and 1 percent rise in sausage rolls, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

That frankfurters have struggled in the U.K. has puzzled Mark Rosati, culinary director of Shake Shack, which started as a food cart selling hot dogs in New York’s Madison Square Park in 2004. These days, the Shack’s burgers are bestsellers, but their ascendancy is more extreme in the U.K., where there is limited demand for the Chicago-style Shack-cago Dog.

“As a New Yorker, I see hot dogs as a big part of our culture, our culinary fabric,” he says. “There are guys on every corner selling them. I just don’t see hot-dog carts in London and demand for ours depends a lot on the time of year. But Bubbledogs are being really creative with hot dogs and even (British chef) Jamie Oliver has done one. I wouldn’t be surprised if their popularity grows.”

Much of the growth in London has been from street-food vendors such as Big Apple Hot Dogs, but the biggest single event was probably the opening in 2012 of Bubbledogs. It’s garnered a lot of attention, including from Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer. Rosati will be competing on Monday at the Hot Dog Challenge.

Sandia Chang, who co-owns Bubbledogs with her husband James Knappett, sounds a note of caution. She went to high school in Los Angeles and says hot dogs are just not part of British culture.

“Burgers are always the winner,” she says. “The hot dog is quite foreign, while Americans eat them all the time. A hot dog is a very hard sell to an English crowd.”

London-based butcher, restaurateur and meat maverick Richard Turner says the hot dog’s time may have come.

He has one on the bar menu at Hawksmoor Spitalfields in East London and says he is looking at introducing the hot dog next year at his Meatopia festival, which brings together chefs from around the world.

“I like hot dogs but a lot of them are rubbish,” Turner says. “I put them on the menu after trips to New York. They don’t sell as well as burgers, but people who like them really like them. We’ve never done them at Meatopia before but we like to keep it fresh and different, and hot dogs seem to be in the ascendant.”

Jonny Lake, the Canadian head chef at Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-Star restaurant the Fat Duck, is another fan. He’s put hot dogs on the menu at two other Blumenthal venues: The Crown pub, in Bray, and the Perfectionists’ Cafe, at Heathrow Airport. (He’s competing at the Bubbledogs event alongside the Crown’s chef Matt Larcombe. They won the title last year.)

“They are a bit behind burger sales but they are becoming more popular,” Lake says. “It used to be kids that ate the hot dogs but with growing attention to the ingredients and quality, they are becoming more of an adult option. The hot dog has gone from being the cheap cousin to the burger to something in its own right.”

Source: Bloomberg

What Are Hot Dogs Really Made Of?

After the steaks, chops, breasts, ribs, thighs, hams, tenderloins and briskets are removed, there’s a fair amount of gristle, fat and offal remaining on a butchered animal, and early on, people realized this could be put to good use. One of these products is the hot dog, a classic of pre-cooked, processed meat.

Trimmings

The National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (NHDSC) notes that hot dogs, whether regular, turkey, pork or beef, begin with “trimmings.” A purposely-vague word, trimmings come in lots of shapes and sizes.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO): “The raw meat materials used for precooked-cooked products are lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.”

Yum!

Pre-cooking

Because of the butchering process, the leftovers used in products like hot dogs often have a fair amount of bacteria, and so pre-cooking helps eliminate that. In addition, pre-cooking has the added benefit of helping to separate the remaining muscle meat, fat and connective tissues from the head and feet bones. Cooking also makes the trimmings more manageable.

Because of the different sizes and types of carcasses, there are different pre-cooking times for different animals (and different parts), although it typically occurs within the range of 150 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hot Dog Production

Like many other products, such as bologna and liver sausage, hot dogs and frankfurters are created by “meat emulsion,” although as the FAO notes, “meat batter” might be a more accurate term.

Higher quality products are made from top quality meats and no chemicals. Examples include kosher, all beef hot dogs that have no by-products, fillers or artificial colors or flavors.

Less expensive types of hot dogs will have chemicals, fats and water binding agents added, and for many of these, the production process is simple:

First pork and/or beef trimmings are ground up in a machine and then extruded through a metal sieve-like device so they resemble ground hamburger meat. At this point, ground chicken trimmings (if any) are added, and together, the mixture is blended (emulsified) until it looks like the aforementioned meat batter.

Now salt, ground spices and food starches (if you made this at home, you might use bread crumbs, flour or oatmeal) are added, along with some water and corn syrup or another sweetener. Toward the end of the process, more water is added, to get the batter to the proper consistency (no one wants a dry wiener).

The batter is “pureed again [and] the excess air is vacuumed out.” Next the emulsified meat is pumped into casings (usually cellulose but sometimes natural), and the strings of dogs are hung on racks and fully cooked in a smoke house. Sometimes hardwood smoke is added. Later, the dogs are showered in cold, salted water, and then, if cellulose casings were used, put through a peeler to remove the casings (natural casings are left on).

Remember, “natural casings” means the intestine of an animal that have been thoroughly cleaned and processed.

Finally, finished dogs are inspected by hand, and only “flawless” tubed meat is routed to yet another machine where the dogs are grouped for packing.

Source: Today I Found Out

The Hamdog — a Cross Between a Hamburger and a Hotdog

Rebecca Sullivan wrote . . . . . .

A Perth man has successfully patented and will soon begin selling a cross between a hamburger and a hotdog – dubbed the “Hamdog” – across the country.

Mark Murray first pitched his idea on Channel 10’s Shark Tank program last year, after successfully securing a US patent for the “combination hamburger hot dog bread bun” in 2009.

“Everyone told me it wasn’t possible, because you’d need a patent lawyer and it would cost millions of dollars,” Mr Murray told news.com.au.

“Even [Boost Juice founder and Shark Tank judge] Janine Allis told me that it was impossible to patent. She’ll be eating her words now,” Mr Murray said.

Conceived in 2004, the $8 Hamdog consists of a Bunbury beef patty cut in half, with a Hunsa frankfurt inserted in the middle. It’s topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles and three sauces – American mustard, tomato sauce and mayonnaise.

The bun is created in special made-to-order moulds by hand in a Perth bakery.

“We use all local ingredients. The only thing that’s not from WA are the pickles,” Mr Murray said.

“At the moment there is a fair bit of labour involved in making the buns because they’re made by people, not machines. We’re still developing a way to semi automate production.”

The Hamdog marquee will appear at events such as local markets, shows, races in Perth. Mr Murray says so far, the response has been “incredible”.

“We launched our marquee two months ago and we had people come from everywhere just to experience the Hamdog. At one stage the crew were knocking out about one every 15 seconds. It was amazing,” he said.

He’s currently inviting people to buy into his business so the Hamdog can be sold around the country. For $10,000 you can become a “reseller”, similar to a franchisee, with your own Hamdog marquee.

For now there’s only the one Hamdog for sale, but Mr Murray says his team is considering expanding the menu.

“We’ve had requests of all sorts for gluten free, vegan and vegetarian Hamdogs,” he said. “Once the product is out there and that process is sorted, we’ll start experimenting.”

Source: new.com.au

Burger King Adds Hot Dogs to the Menu

Burger King is preparing to add hot dogs to the menu at its U.S. restaurants, tapping into an alliance made possible by the merger of Kraft Foods Group Inc. and H.J. Heinz.

It’s the most significant menu expansion for the second-biggest U.S. burger chain since it added a chicken sandwich in the 1970s, said Alex Macedo, the company’s North American president. The wieners will come in two varieties: classic, served with mustard, ketchup, relish and onions; and chili-cheese.

“We didn’t crack the code or anything,” Macedo said in an interview. “This is the most obvious product launch ever.”

The rollout comes as industry leader McDonald’s Corp.’s is recovering from its worst slump in more than a decade, adding urgency to the battle for fast-food customers. Wendy’s Co. and Burger King, which have boosted sales with new menu items and value promotions, have seen their biggest rival rediscover its footing in the U.S. after it starting selling breakfast items all day in October.

Relish Research

Burger King spent more than a year preparing to release hot dogs at its roughly 7,150 U.S. locations on Feb. 23, testing the product in five markets. The recipe for the classic variety was developed after research showed that relish, onions, mustard and ketchup made up the most common combination of toppings across the U.S., according to Macedo. He said the national rollout will make Burger King the biggest seller of hot dogs in the world.

Burger King didn’t have to look far to find a supplier. The hot dogs are coming from Oscar Mayer, which, like Burger King, is managed by 3G Capital, the private equity firm founded by Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann.

The meat company, formerly a part of Kraft Foods, joined the broader 3G family last year, when Kraft and Heinz merged in a deal backed by Warren Buffett. The billionaire investor is also one of the biggest shareholders in Restaurant Brands International, Burger King’s parent company. Oscar Mayer developed the hot dogs specifically for Burger King, Macedo said.

“We think we have something that’s pretty good,” he said. “It tastes like a backyard barbecue.”

Source: Bloomberg