Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Charleston (and everywhere else) Hot Dog Joint Review - 7-Eleven

I put this off as long as I could.

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, 7-Eleven sells more hot dogs than any other store in America. Since there are numerous 7-Eleven stores in The Mountain State, and quite a few right here in the Charleston area, I have often thought about stopping off for a quick bite and review. Knowing that all 7-Elevens are self-serve was a discouragement because I hate to assemble my own food, but we're talking the king of all hot dog vendors here, so some flexibility was called for. Another discouragement was that I figured that it would not be a wonderful dining experience.

I picked the Spring Hill 7-Eleven location at the corner of Kanawha Turnpike and Chestnut Street in South Charleston because I was hungry and in a hurry and I figured I wasn't going to find a lot of difference between this one and any other.

This 7-Eleven, like every other one I've seen, keeps their weenies heating on one of those roller-thingies and they always seem to have a good supply of standard hot Oscar Mayer weenies and "Big Bite" sausages hot and ready. Buns are kept in a steaming drawer already in styro-coffins. I was surprised at how nicely steamed the buns were.

Many toppings are available at 7-Eleven. Chili is kept in an electric powered dispenser that is reminiscent of a soft-serve ice cream machine. I must say that it is a little unsettling watching a thick rope of brown goo being deposited on the bun - I'll leave it to your imagination without further comment. Mustard is available in a ginormous pump container of French's on the counter.

The rest of the toppings are kept in a cooler drawer adjacent to the hot dog serving area. This drawer was not marked and I had to search a little for the condiments that I felt certain were there somewhere. Once I opened the drawer I found not only slaw and onions but also relish and jalapeƱos.

So after locating all of the desired elements I set about assembling my hot dog, then came the taste test: The part I had been dreading most. The chili was kind of gross in texture (I was still queasy from the visuals mentioned above) but tasted decent. The slaw was lowest common denominator food service slop. The bun was soft from steaming, but still had a stale taste. The weenie tasty enough but was dry from being on the heat rollers for so long. 1.5 Weenies is the best I could possibly give this poor specimen.

Popularity is no sure sign of quality (e.g. Dallas Cowboys & Hillary Clinton) but it's difficult to explain how 7-Eleven can sell more hot dogs than any other HDJ on the planet. I guess there is no short supply of hungry people in a hurry, and there certainly is no short supply of 7-Eleven stores. It adds up to a lot of crappy hot dogs being consumed by a lot of non-discriminating people.

I'm glad that's over with.


Big Daddy said...

You are incredibly brave.

-->scratches 7-11s off of to-do list<--

Chris James said...

Nor are there a short supply of college students, beer, or marijuana, hence why so many of those pork swords are eaten every day.

The Film Geek said...

"Popularity is no sure sign of quality (e.g. Dallas Cowboys & Hillary Clinton)..." LOL

I'm with Chris. The same hot dog you gave the 1.5 rating to could go as high as a 3, or 3.5 for me if the conditions were right: (a) it was after midnight, (b)I was curently in some form of altered consciousness, (c) getting to Taco Bell involved driving.

Walking to the 7-11 for that dog under those conditions would be heavenly.

Jackie said...

Wow! Talk about "..takin' one for the team!" :D

I consider myself a hot-dog fanatic and I have never, ever, eaten one of those. Ever. Never.

Great review though!

Evil Twin's Wife said...

The Evil Twin and I used to live in South Charleston and would regularly frequent that 7-11. Once, there was just one shriveled brown weiner turning and turning on that hot roller thing. The ET gave it a pitiful look and the lady behind the counter says, "Yea, it don't look so good, does it?" It was real leathery looking. Yuck.

Chris James said...

When I lived in Twin Towers, we would stagger over to the 7-11 at 2:15 AM when they would throw them out and they would let us have them all for free. A belly fortified with 7 shots of Jagermeister would kill any accumulated bacteria.

We would drop them in a bag of Doritos and eat them with the chips. I'd say 3.5 weenies, for sure.