MEAT MATTERS haute dog
The basic frank works
for the ballpark, but
turn hot dogs gourmet.
By Jody Shee
With a name
like frankfurters, you’d think the
pedigree of hot dogs would be undisputed. Hello,
Frankfurt, Germany. But that would be too simple. Actually, a Coburg,
Germany, baker invented the little sausages in the late 1600s and peddled them in Frankfurt.
But don’t forget that the hot dog’s other affectionate name, wiener, gives it a Vienna
(Wien) connection. The dog’s U.S. introduction came in the mid-1800s when a few
German immigrants brought the wiener to New York. Now it’s the ubiquitous fare of
the ball field, often with a mystery-meat reputation.
But culinary professionals can’t leave well enough alone. An evolution of hot dogs
is underway, with the current sensibilities of quality, known ingredients, no additives,
local sourcing and ethnic flavors. Some menus label them “sausage sandwiches.”
“A hot dog at the core started as a sausage,” says Bret Hessler, corporate chef/
director of culinary development for Miami-based Grove Bay Hospitality Group.
“Is a hot dog a version of sausage that has evolved? I think (the ‘sausage’ name) is
recognition, revitalization and remembrance of where this all started.” The group’s
Big Easy Winebar & Grill menus Big Easy Boerie Bites—a small plate of three 3-inch
sandwiches with farmers sausage and three separate toppings on soft rolls.