The Greatest Quest
In the history of mankind, there have been many great quests. Quests that took their protagonists to places far and wide. In literature and history, we find great examples of amazing quests that were taken in the name of love, to save lives, to find artifacts, or to break curses. Quests like King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail, The Odyssey, The Seven Labors of Hercules, The Lord of the Rings quest to destroy the One Ring, and that’s just to name a few. In the spirit of these quests, I have chosen to embark on one of my own.
To that end, I have decided to choose my own Holy Grail, my Ring Quest, my Odyssey. I have decided to search for… The Perfect Hotdog. That might be my White Whale, much like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. Finding it might always be just beyond my reach. So, to accomplish this task, I have decided that I will try hotdogs/sausages on the menu at every restaurant that I stop at. Fast food, mom-and-pop places, fancy restaurants… it doesn’t matter. If they offer it on their menu, I’m going to try it and tell you what I think. When possible, I will order them with ketchup, mustard, and onions so that the toppings will remain constant.
I will judge them on the following three criteria, each criteria on a scale of one to ten:
- Casing snap/quality of the product – The snap of the skin of the hotdog/sausage is of paramount importance. A good casing will seal in the flavor and juiciness of the product. As will what the product is made from. So, I will judge it on the snap when you bite into it along with the flavor of the dog.
- The Bun – a good bun makes all the difference. A bun that tastes like it came from a bag that you bought at the grocery store might be iconic, but it’s also basic. A good soft bun is amazing and can make or break the hotdog. Sometimes toasted, or steamed, but bread is as much a part of the hotdog experience as the hotdog itself. So, places that get creative with the bun might score extra points. For example, fresh-baked rolls used as buns, pretzel buns, wheat buns… the possibilities are endless.
- Taste – many factors go into the flavor. How it’s cooked, what it’s made from, temperature when served, choice of condiments… they all affect the taste. How they cook it will also be a factor. For example, anything grilled automatically beats anything boiled. At least, that’s my opinion.
So, I’ve decided that this was my quest. I was going to go on a lifelong search for the perfect hotdog/sausage. Whether it be a traditional hotdog, bratwurst, smoked sausage, Polish sausage, Sweet Italian sausage or whatever. If it’s in that category, I want to try it and let you all know what I think. At least, that’s the plan.
Actually, I already started. For my first review, I tried the hotdog from Five Guys. Yeah, I know they’re a burger place, but I saw them on the menu and gave them a shot. So, based on a scale of one to ten in three categories, here is my assessment of Five Guys hotdogs.
- Casing snap/quality of product. Since that’s basically two categories in one, I’ll go five points for each. For the casing snap, they get a zero. They split the dog in half and cook it on the grill. That effectively eliminates any chance of a casing snap. That’s unfortunate, but what about the quality? Well, for that, I’d give them two points. It was an average quality dog. Nothing special. So, first category: 3 points
- The Bun. Also, another middle of the road choice. Simply basic bread like you’d buy at the store. Nothing special about it. I think it was steamed, because it was soft, but still nothing special. Sorry, Five Guys. Two points.
- Taste. It wasn’t bad. I think for this category, if the hotdog isn’t terrible, then they’ll get at least one point. This one was good. Not great, just good. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t particularly awesome on any count. It was cooked on a grill instead of just boiled, so it did have some added flavor there. Alright, I’ll give it a 3 for effort.
Alright, overall, I’ll give Five Guys a total of 8 points out of a possible 30. Admittedly, they’re a burger place and that’s their claim to fame. However, if you put a dog on the menu, I would expect it to be worth the space it’s taking up on said menu. This one wasn’t awesome, but it was filling. Actually, I ate two. Would I order it again? Probably not. That’s only because Five Guys is famous for their burgers for a good reason. The burgers far exceed the hotdogs. So, I can’t say I wouldn’t order one again just because I didn’t like it, more like because the other options are much better.
So, for next time, I’ll pick another place. Maybe it’ll be a chain or maybe it’ll be a mom & pop place. Who knows? Watch this blog for the next installment of the Greatest Quest known to mankind. The Quest for the Perfect Hotdog.
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