Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Charleston HDJ Review - Hillbilly Gourmet

Good news travels fast.

Yesterday a new hot dog stand opened for business in Kanawha City. This evening two people emailed with the news, but they were too late since a co-worker had already told me about it this morning!

Hillbilly Gourmet is a HDJ on wheels that sits on the sidewalk outside the Division of Motor Vehicles entrance of the Kanawha Mall. They serve hot dogs, chips, soft drinks and I'm not sure what else. They plan on being at this location all summer and they plan to be open 9:30-6 every weekday. Weekend hours might be in the offing as well.

The two young college students running the stand said it was for them a summer job. They told me that the cart was home made and that there was another one at the Kanawha City pool. The cart has everything you need to serve up some scrumptious hot dogs and comply with the health department rules. It looks nice and seems functional.

When I heard that the man who owns the stand makes chili and slaw fresh every day, I was really eager to sink my teeth into this review.

Of course, hot dog carts have natural limitations: You really can't steam buns and unless you have a really, really deluxe cart, you can't grill the weenies. But there's no reason you can't have a pot of great chili and a nice cool bucket of slaw, so I had hope for this little HDJ even though an "everything" dog included ketchup.

But in spite of the ketchup (which I deleted from my order) right away I could tell that Hillbilly Gourmet was serious about hot dogs when I saw the slaw that the weenieista dished out. It was finely chopped and looked like grandma made it. Tasted like it too. Fantastic! Sweet, flavorful and absolutely perfect texture. The only quibble I had was that the portion was a bit small and didn't cover the chili completely.

The chili, while not being spicy or very complex tasting, was as deliciously meaty as any I've tasted. You folks who like all chili and no slaw; this HDJ is definitely for you. Great flavor and texture. The chili is runny enough to soak into the bun nicely, too.

Weenie-wise, this dog was larger than normal and tastier than normal. Good all-beef weenie that seemed to have been kept hot with dry heat rather than sitting in a pot of water. The bun was a bun and the onions were tasty.

The natural limitations of a portable stand notwithstanding, this is a great HDJ. I am tempted to award a Five out of Five Weenie score, but without steamed buns it just doesn't seem right. But then again, the Hillbilly Gourmet deserves at least a half point for being the ONLY hot dog stand in all of Charleston, so a Fiver it is! Congratulations Hillbilly Gourmet, you truly do have "food worth feudin' for!"


Chris James said...

Wow, Stanton, you've been going all the way a lot lately.

You remind me of this girl I knew in college. I believe she was from Nantucket.

Seriously, though, I glad there is finally a reason to hit up the Kanawha Mall. I'll hafta check out the stand next time Mrs. James drags me to Gabes to look for slightly different values than can be found at the Gabes in H-ton.

Stanton said...

Yeah, I know I've seemed pretty easy lately, but I calls 'em like I see 'em.