Tuesday, July 31, 2007

WVHotDogBlog.com 2007 Weenie Awards Honorable Mentions

As part of the 2007 Weenie Awards, a few special honorable mentions need to be brought up. Chris discusses the Huntingon HDJs, while Stanton has the Charleston and At-Large beat covered: Huntington Area

  • Hillbilly Hot Dog was a close runner-up for both the best sauce and best HDJ and was also in the running for best hot dog. Look for them to rack up some silverware in 2008.
  • That lil' pharmacy in Kenova, Griffith & Feil, really impressed WVHotDogBlog.com. and quite possibly would have been the best HDJ for "WV At Large" if it weren't solidly in the Greater Huntington region.
  • Frostop's root beer also deserves special commendation for being the best beverage served at a HDJ or any other sort of restaurant in the known universe.

Charleston Area

  • Clendenin Dairy Queen is the best DQ I have found anywhere. If it were 5 miles further from Charleston it would have been judged as an "At Large", but it probably wouldn't have made a difference since it still would have been beaten by Morrison's.
  • Hillbilly Gourmet would win hands-down if there was a category for best hot dog cart, and not only becuase they are the only cart currently operating in Charleston. Their hot dogs are great, but a mobile cart has too many limitations to seriously contend with real restaurants with coolers and bun steamers. Maybe next year.

W. Va. At Large

  • Hanks Deli - Here's a lone outpost in Marion County that should be rewarded for having the courage to boldly go where no Fairmont HDJ has gone before: Slaw as a standard item on their great hot dogs.

We received so many great recommendations this year but we couldn't get to all of them because of time and distance. I'd bet that a few of them will be contenders next year.

Well, there you have it: The Second Annual WVHotDogBlog.com Weenie Awards is in the book. Our congratulations to all the winners. Here is the list one more time:

Best Chili/Sauce

Greater Charleston - Skeenie's Hot Dogs

Greater Huntington - Sam's Hot Dog Stand, Piedmont Road

At Large - Morrison's Drive Inn, Logan

Best Slaw

Greater Charleston- The Swiftwater Cafe, Washington Street

Greater Huntington - Austin's Homemade Ice Cream - Ceredo

At Large - T&L Hot Dogs, Buckhannon

Best Hot Dog Joint

Greater Charleston - Chris' Hot Dogs, West Washington St.

Greater Huntington - Dairy Belle, Chesapeake, OH

At Large - D.J.'s 50's and 60's Diner, Fairmont Best Hot Dog

Greater Charleston - Romeo's Grill, South Charleston

Greater Huntington - Sam's Hot Dog Stand, 8th Street

At Large - Morrison's Drive Inn, Logan

Monday, July 30, 2007

2007 West Virginia Hot Dog Festival

For the third year running, Huntington's Pullman Square has hosted the West Virginia Hot Dog Festival. Here were some of the highlights:

M & M Dairy Bell was spotted with their 2007 Weenie Award for Best HDJ.

They also had a much better piece of real estate this year.

Throughout the day, 5 Weenie-rated Hillbilly Hot Dogs kept 30-50 people in line at any given time. I had planned on getting on of their dawgs, but I figured I'd be nice and not hog up line space for out-of-towners. I will instead head up to Lesage next weekend.

Sweet Jumpin' Josephine! Sam's Hot Dog Stand brought slaw this year! Unfortunately, limited outlet space had them bringing only their mild sauce. Next year I hope they opt for spicy, instead.

I finally got to eat a Johnny Dog from his hot dog cart.

Slaw in his small push cart would be a recipe for a minor salmonella outbreak, so Johnny instead gets a lot of mileage out of the Midwestern/Michigan-esque sauce that is sweet, rich, and loaded with green peppery goodness and jumbo-sized Cavalier franks. Not a true "WV Hot Dog," per se, but pretty close and darn tasty. Check back next month for a review.

There was also entertainment for those who had already e't too much. Here is a local stage troupe performing musical numbers. They also had a weenie dog race, but that was waaaay too crowded and one of the few times where the lines were short and, frankly, I was more concerned with the edible dogs than the one that were pooping everywhere.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Best Hot Dog - WV At Large

This one is easy.

There is only one HDJ that I have visited in the past year that I frequently find myself wishing I could go back for a hot dog. There is only one place for which we get email from all over the state with pleas to recognize it as the best hot dog in the state. And not just the state, we get emails from all over the country; from Florida to Minnesota to Hawaii.

And there is only one place about which I have received threats of bodily harm if I did not pick it for this award.

Morrison's Drive Inn - Logan

Although I had already picked Morrison's hot dogs as the winner before I received the threats, I understand how people can be so passionate about these things. The chili is unbelievable, the slaw is heavenly and the amount of sheer goodness that is wrapped up in that cellophane wrapper is beyond my ability to describe.

Congratulations, Morrison's, and thank you for having such an amazing culinary delight on your menu. Please, on behalf of your fans everywhere I beg you, don't ever change it!

Friday, July 27, 2007

WV Hot Dog Festival on Saturday.

If you are looking for some family fun for tomorrow, come to Huntington's Pullman Square for the 2007 West Virginia Hot Dog Festival. A whole bunch of vendors from the Huntington area will be their selling their signature pups.

For those from out-of-town, here are some pointers:

  • Park in the garage. It is a couple of bucks to park there, but you can't beat the garage for easy accessibility in and out of the Square.
  • Get a Stewart's hot dog....and discover why Huntington doesn't deserve equal representation with Charleston in the legislature.
  • For soft drinks, you need only purchase Frostop root beer. It is truly the beverage of the gods.
  • Be sure to try Huntington's two 5 weenie HDJs, Hillbilly Hot Dogs and M & M Dairy Bell.
  • If Sam's Hot Dog Stand has once again neglected to bring slaw, boycott them in protest.
  • Try a Johnny Dog, even though they don't have slaw. He works out of a downtown pushcart, so slaw would be a very bad idea in the summer.
  • Check out the weenie dog races at noon. Running Dachshunds are the third funniest things in the animal kingdom.
  • Eat light meals today and for breakfast tomorrow. Fresh vegetables and whole grains will help prepare the body for the massive intake of nitrites, nitrates, salt, and fat.
  • Don't get a dog for every member of the family at every stand. By all means, try each stand if you wish, but sharing will maximize variety and minimize intestinal discomfort later.
  • Keep in mind that Starbucks and Coldstone Creamery are there, too.

I would recommend taking about $25-$40 for a family of three or four (I have a roll of John Adams dollar coins ready and waiting). That should more than cover everything and buy a couple bottles of Tums at CVS on the way home.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Charleston's Best Hot Dog

Charleston and the surrounding area has its share of Five Weenie Hot Dogs to pick from, but there is one that continues to stand out from the rest. This HDJ takes its hot dogs very seriously and is rightfully very proud of its offerings. It was also last year's winner, and while there have been other HDJs that have improved, none have come close to unseating the champ...

Romeo's Grill

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Romeo's hot dogs are just about perfect. They steam the buns to order, have great weenies, have mouth-watering chili and slaw that offsets it perfectly. The only negative for me about Romeo's is the ever-present smoke which hangs in the air and on one's clothing after a trip there. If the Kanawha County smoking ban is enacted by the Health Department then perhaps this demerit will be removed (and although I am in favor of the smoking ban, if I knew it would cause Romeo's to close it's doors as some businesses have threatened I would immediately change my vote!).

Congratulations Romeo's on successfully defending your title as Charleston's best hot dog!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Free Concert! - Harry and The Potters

Harry and the Potters, the original "Wizard Rock" band from Boston will give a free show at the Scottish Rite Temple on Capitol Street on Thursday, July 26 at 6:00. If you are, or if you have kids or grandkids who are Harry Potter fans you should check out this concert.

What does this have to do with hot dogs? I'm glad you asked: Paul DeGeorge, the founder of the band, is a hot dog aficionado and has his own hot dog blog called "I am an American and I eat hot dogs" where he "chronicles the inseparable adventures of everyday life and hot dogs." In an interview published in this weeks Daily Mail Paul describes himself as a freelance "hot dog consultant."

This is the band's first trip to West Virginia. Let's hope they run across a good WVHD while they are here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards: Best Hot Dog (Huntington)

One ain't too hard pressed to find a good hot dog in Huntington. Depending on their tastes, folks can most likely find a Huntington-style WV hot dog to their likin'.

A few hot dogs, however, stand out for their commitment to weenie excellence. Any Sam's Hot Dog Stand will serve up a pretty good dog, with the 8th Street location standing out in particular for its uniformity and consistency of product (much like M & M in Chesapeake). Hillbilly gets a heap of mileage out of its sauce, just as Austin's does with its slaw. Nothing I type will change the fact that Stewart's and Frostop probably serve more happy customers than any other HDJs in the area, so they must also receive consideration.

One of my primary considerations, however, has to be my mantra that, for truly great hot dogs, consistency is God. The one place that always and without fail sends out expertly-crafted WV hot dogs is Sam's Hot Dog Stand of 8th St.

As I mentioned in my review, it is usually the same guy there everyday making hot dogs with skill that only practice, patience, and a drive for perfection could forge. Congrats, Sam's of 8th Street. You have set the bar for the Tri State.

Sam's Hale Street Still Open!

Rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated! Apparently Sam's on Hale Street in Charleston is open for business as usual today. Sorry for putting out news to the contrary.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Best Hot Dog Joint - WV At Large

After yesterday's indecisiveness I have come to a conclusion: Any decision I make is going to be questioned by lots of people, including me.

Commenter "Big Daddy" had a good point about making more regional categories so the choices would be more specialized, but with our limited resources it's difficult to get good coverage in every section of the state. Last year we only concerned ourselves with Charleston since I was the only one doing reviews and was pretty much confined to the Capital City except on rare hot dog junkets to Huntington and a few stopovers along I79 on my way to parts north. But then Chris came on the scene and provided good coverage of Huntington and the I64 corridor to Charleston. So it's natural to have separate awards for Huntington and Charleston. Call it growing pains, but we're just not able to handle a statewide rating this year, so take our 'WV At Large" Weenie Award winners with a grain of salt....this year.

Having preemptively apologized for all I am about to offend I will now reveal the winner of the 2007 Weenie Award for Best Hot Dog Joint - WV At Large:

But first, let me provide my rationale for this selection. I thought about, and went back and read all of the statewide reviews of the past year and it all came down to one question: "Where is the place I would most like to visit again, and share with my wife and kids?" The answer:

D.J.'s 50's and 60's Diner in Fairmont

While it's true that the hot dog only earned a four and a half Weenie ranking after I plopped the side dish of slaw on top of the chili-dog I was served, that doesn't diminish the fact that this is one of the nicest, neatest, cleanest and most interesting HDJs in the state. The fact that the menu has so much more than hot dogs doesn't dissuade me from awarding the prize either, because I found the place while looking for hot dogs, and I found a mighty good specimen there.

Congratulations D.J.'S!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Best Hot Dog Joint - WV at Large

As easy as Charleston's best HDJ was to pick this year, choosing only one from the entire state is that difficult. There are so many varieties of HDJs across the state, how do you pick only one? There are several distinct categories of HDJs and within each group there are one or two excellent candidates.

There are the roadside dairy bar types, and even within this group you can easily identify sub-groups like "contemporary", "classic" and "retro."

There the regular sit-down restaurants who have good hot dogs on the menu.

There is the "theme restaurant", "the bar and grill", and the mobile hot dog carts and trailers.

How can I be expected to choose only one?

I can't. At least not today.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Charleston's Best Hot Dog Joint

The most uncompetitive category in this year's Weenie Awards is Charleston's Best Hot Dog Joint. While Charleston and the surrounding area has a lot of good hot dogs to choose from, there is really only place that you can;

a) Take the whole family,
b) Sit in neat old wooden booths,
c) Have a really great hot dog
d) Take in all the atmosphere that is...

Chris' Hot Dogs

Chris' is a repeat winner, winning last year for both Best Chili and Best Hot Dog Joint. They are a consistent Five-Weenie rated HDJ and deserve a place of honor among HDJs across the state.

Congratulations, Chris'!

See Rick Lee's great photos of Chris' here and here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

We Interrupt These Weenie Awards....

... to bring you important breaking hot dog news from Charleston:

A few weeks ago I told you about a great new Five Weenie mobile HDJ that was set up at the Kanawha Mall in Charleston. Today I saw that the Hillbilly Gourmet guys had set up in a great new location, on Brawley Walkway right next to Ellen's Ice Cream. Great business move! It also gets them about 5 miles closer to my office! If you work downtown, check them out.

They also have a copy of our review proudly posted on their weenie wagon.

We now return you to the 2007 Weenie Awards, already in progress.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards: Best Hot Dog Joint (Huntington)

The Huntington area is home to a bunch of great, nearly-great, and not-so-good-but-popular hot dog joints. It is, quite frankly, as big of a part of our culture as Marshall football, vast public park lands, the railroad, and the mighty Ohio River.

Some folks believe the Stewart's produces the One True Hot Dog, while others go for the Grade A root beer and crinkle-cut fries at Frostop. Others mark out for the zany vibe of Hillbilly Hot Dogs, while others swear by Sam's zingy spicy sauce. Austin's super slaw and ice cream are big favorites, as are M & M's dawgs 'n sides.

For judging the best HDJ in Greater Huntington, one must look beyond sauce, slaw, and overall hot dog quality (they all have their own awards). For Best Dog Joint, I'm looking not only for the quality of the hot dogs and the sides, but also all of the intangibles that go into making a great place to eat. Service, atmosphere, decor, and authenticity all come into play.

After taking all of these factors into account, I was able to narrow the number down to two joints: M & & Dairy Bell and Hillbilly Hot Dogs of Lesage (yup, Huntington's two 5 weenie-rated stands). Both of these places have great dawgs, great service, and an awesome selection of scrumptious sides. The contest then boiled down to the Appalachian authenticity of M & M versus the fun kitschiness of HBHD's good-natured hixploitation setup.

While I love to take my visiting relatives to Lesage to check out the place, this year I gotta give the nod to the most realistic, unpretentious WV HDJ in the Tri State

For the perfect combination of killer dogs, great sides, and intangible authenticity, one needs to look on the other side of the river. Yup, that's right, the 2007 Weenie Award winner for best hot dog joint is M & M Dairy Bell in Chesapeake, Ohio.


Yup, the best West Virginia-style hot dog joint in greater Huntington is technically in Ohio. But, hey, informal culture regions are never really bound by arbitrary political boundaries. At WVhotdogs.com, we value consistency and excellence, not map lines drawn in 1787.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Best Chili/Sauce WV at Large

This is not easy, I'm tellin' ya. Because of the diversity of chili/sauce across the state, picking the best is difficult. Much easier to pick the best in Charleston or Huntington where the differences are subtle, but looking at all parts of the state together we have to deal with spicy vs. mild, meaty vs. runny, red vs. dark brown, well it becomes very hard to pick objective criteria by which to judge.

But looking back over reviews of the past years and remembering the taste of each HDJ, there is one that stands out from the others. The chili they serve on their excellent hot dogs has it all - sweet, spicy, meaty and runny. And based on the emails I get from disparate parts of the state, it is the chili that suits more diverse palates than any other. So the winner of the 2007 Weenie Award for the best chili from West Virginia at large is...

Morrison's Drive Inn in Logan

The only bad thing I can say about Morrison's is that it's to far from where I live. It's not on the way to anywhere I go on a regular basis. So when I want to satisfy my cravings for their one-of-a-kind chili I have to drive an hour down Corridor G.

Congratulations, Morrison's, and thinks for having such great chili!

Friday, July 13, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Charleston's Best Chili

When separating the wheat from the chaff in the race for Charleston's best hot dog chili (that's "sauce" for you Huntingtonians and North Central folks) one has to decide between thick, meaty chili or thinner, spicier stuff. This is not easy because there are certain days when I just feel like a big ol' dog with big ol' chunks of meat, and there are some days when only a nice messy dog that tickles the sinuses will satisfy. Now I realize that this subjectivity is not proper for such a prestigious award, and I have tried to come up with a set of objective criteria with which to measure chili greatness.

First, the chili has to have a great aroma. When you unwrap the hot dog your olfactory facilities should be presented with a smell that makes your tummy growl in anticipation. A great hot dog aroma will stick to the interior of your car for hours.

Second, chili needs to have been cooked at sufficiently high heat and long enough to turn it dark brown. This is not just aesthetics though; the darkening is caused by the caramelization of the sugars in the onions and tomatoes and it is the caramelization that gives chili a rich and complex flavor.

Third, the chili needs to stick with you a while after the hot dog has gone. This is usually accomplished by spice, but can also be had with a good tart flavor.

Fourth, award winning chili can't be on a bad hot dog. It has to have a good supporting cast - kind like a Heisman Trophy winner has to be from a top 25 team.

So with this criteria in mind, I present to you the 2007 Weenie Award winning chili for Charleston area hot dog joints:

Skeenies Hot Dogs!

I feel like Skeenies' was overlooked last year because they were reviewed too early in the year. I've been to Skeenie's numerous times over the past few months and every time I've been convinced that Skeenie's has the tastiest chili found on any hot dog in town. And it sits on top of one of the finest Five Weenie hot dogs in the state. It's not as spicy as some, not as meaty as some, but it is consistently amazing.

Congratulations, Skeenie's Hot Dogs! Your chili really is "Indescribably Delicious."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards: Best Sauce (Huntington)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: in Huntington, it's all about the sauce. Sometimes its spicy, sometimes its beany, sometimes its under the dog. Whatever it is, the sauce is always the first and last thing I analyze during any given review.

Lots of places in Huntington have great sauce, by the way, but many have their hidden flaws. Farley's and Frostop have sauces that are beefy and chili powder-rific, but a tad bit too runny. Stewart's sauce is beloved by thousands, but tastes cheap and bland to me. M & M makes a great sauce that goes well with the hot dog's other components but, as a stand-alone sauce, isn't quite hall of fame caliber. A lot of thought and experiemntation has gone into Austin's chili sauce, but the presence of beans is a deal-breaker (in a bad way) for WVhotdogs.com

Really, we are left with only two truly deserving nominees: Sam's Hot Dog Stand's spicy variety and Hillbilly Hot Dogs. While both HBHD locations are owned and managed by the same folk, Sam's is a franchise, so those can be broken down even further and, of the Sam's, the Piedmont Road location gets the nod for adding a little more pepper flake to their spicy sauce than their cohorts on 8th St. and in Highlawn.

That leaves us with Hillbilly vs. Sam's of Piedmont Road.

Hillbilly's sauce contains larger chunks of beef with strong notes of chili powder and black pepper with a fair amount of liquid. The sauce really carries the dog, as the slaw is subpar at best and dreadful at worst. One could even add a few beans to it and serve it in a bowl.

Sam's, on the other hand, draws its inspiration from the spicy sauces of the north-central part of the state. Instead of relying on cheap heat, like Yann's and whatnot, there is a complexity in the spicy version of the sauce that is not found up yonder on I-79. The texture of the beef is finer (much like Skyline Chili) and there is less liquid, thereby allowing the sauce fill to every nook and cranny with spicy goodness.

While HBHD might produce a more soup-ready chili, the sauce sold by Sam's of Piedmont is about as perfect as a hot dog sauce can get. Ad some slaw (they need to add more to their dogs, by the way), and you've got a gourmet taste treat for under $2.

Congratulations, Sam's Hot Dog Stand of Piedmont Road, you are the 2007 Weenie Award winner for Huntington's best hot dog sauce.

Monday, July 09, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Best Slaw, WV At Large

Since most of our reviewing is done close to home for Chris and I, we recognize that we give perhaps unfair attention to Charleston and Huntington. So we decided to expand our focus this year to include awards for HDJs outside of Charleston and Huntington. We're calling this territory "West Virginia At Large".

When it comes to WV At Large slaw, you might think it unlikely that a HDJ that sits north of the slaw line could win, but in fact one of the three candidates for the award sit north of I77 Milepost 111 and another is tantalizingly close. One of them is actually in Fairmont, so that goes to show how fair-minded we are.

The three finalists are:

D.J.'s Diner's coleslaw is amazing, but it is served as a side dish on the "Hound Dog" platter. Morrison's slaw is awesome, but primarily because it sits atop of equally awesome chili. But the award has to go to:

T&L Hot Dogs - Buckhannon

The reason is simple: T&L's slaw would make any hot dog taste better and therefore has to take home the prize.

My review of T&L in Buckhannon cautioned that it was only valid for that location. I have been to other T&L locations and have not been so impressed with the slaw or chili. I don't know if the Buckhannon location does things differently or whether I just visited on a good day, but the slaw was much better than what I was used to at T&L. So, to justly reward the effort we will be shipping them a suitable for framing certificate that puts the world on notice that great slaw can be found there.

Congratulations, T&L folks in Buckhannon!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards - Charleston's Best Slaw

It wasn't as easy this year as last to pick the best slaw served at Charleston HDJs. The main reason was because one particular HDJ took very seriously our criticism of their slaw and changed their recipe in a very good way. This new improved slaw unseated last year's champion, not because last year's champion had slipped at all, but because of the extra effort of this year's winner. We honor effort here at WVHotDogs.com, so this year's award for the best slaw in Charleston goes to:

The Swiftwater Cafe

It might not be the most classic WVHD slaw around: It is a little greener than most, a little less fatty than most but the flavor of Swiftwater's new recipe slaw is without equal in the Capitol City. This slaw could be equally at home as a side dish with some Calabash style shrimp as it is nestled on top of Swiftwater's 2006 award winning weenie (which they would no doubt win again except we decided to nix the Weenie Awards for weenies this year). Nicely sweet and finely chopped, it blends nicely with Swiftwater's excellent chili.

Congrats Teddy and crew on your second consecutive Weenie Award!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

2007 Weenie Awards: Best Slaw (Huntington)

While most hot dob joints in the Tri-State are admittedly more focused on producing signature variations of sauce than perfecting the delicate art of slawmongering, there are still many great options for getting some decent slaw on a weenie in the Moneyton area.

Sam's and Stewart's both produce consistently adequate, if not stellar, cole slaws day in and day out. M & M Dairy Bell also does a purty good job of topping dogs with a heafty portion of the white stuff.

There is only one place, however, that compares to the slaw-obsessed HDJs to our east: Austin's Home-Made Ice-Cream of Ceredo. In my review of the HDJ a few months back, I predicted that it would be a strong contender for a Weenie Award and, so it turns out, I was correct. Austin's is by far the best slaw in the Huntington area.

Austin's slaw is all about balance. It is creamy, but not runny. There is a fair amount of sweet to the dressing, but that is balanced by a tangy zing. The cabbage is neither too chunky nor too tiny. The weenie-jerks were neither stingy nor gratuitous in pilin' it on. As a I said in my review, it is "perfect."

Congratulations, Austin's Home-Made Ice-Cream of Ceredo, you are the winner of the 2007 Weenie Award for the best slaw in Huntington. It wasn't even close.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The 2007 Weenie Awards Begin July 5

After a brief respite to honor the birth of our nation and to watch The Tsunami make a the competition look silly at Coney Island, the official WVHotDogs.com 2007 Weenie Awards will begin in earnest on Thursday, July 5. There will be twelve categories in this year's awards, including:

Best Chili/Sauce

Greater Charleston

Greater Huntington

Elsewhere Statewide

Best Slaw

Greater Charleston

Greater Huntingon

Elsewhere Statewide

Best Hot Dog Joint

Greater Charleston
Greater Huntingon
Elsewhere Statewide

Best Hot Dog

Greater Charleston
Greater Huntingon
Elsewhere Statewide

For a HDJ to be considered for a Weenie Award one of our Weenie Wonks must have visited it in the past year. If you would like to write with your support for a particular HDJ you may do so, but this is not a popularity contest but you can certainly try to influence our decison with your writing. Particulary eloquent letters might be picked for publication, so give it your best shot. Write us at info @ wvhotdogs.com.

Monday, July 02, 2007

This is why I blog about WV hot dogs.

As I do every Sunday morning, I was watching The Today Show yesterday and I immediately perked up when the announced a segment on the top-rated components for building the ultimate summer dawg. While the list was a pretty good tool for picking the lowest common denominator for folks in Trenton, Cedar Rapids, and Puyallup, for weenie lovers in place with rich hot dog traditions like Michigan, Greater Cincinnati, Georgia, and, of course, West By-God Virginia, the list was utter bollocks.

Unfortunately, the red flags started popping up right off the bat. The first item that they introduced was Hunt's ketchup. All of our readers know how we at WVhotdogs.com feel about ketchup on hot dogs. Even at that, the only people who I know that prefer Hunt's over Heinz are a couple of bitter Republicans who don't know the meaning of the phrase "gracious winner."

Next up, they picked spicy brown mustard over the yellow stuff. SBM: great for sausages, lousy for WV hot dogs.

Then they gave the choice for best relish. Since there has never been a documented case of relish being placed on a hot dog in West Virginia, I'm not even going to pretend to have a valid opinion on this topic. Moving along...

As for buns, they picked Pepperidge Farms, a national brand. My recommendation to all (not just folks in and around WV): buy the freshest buns, regardless of the brand. Getting them from the closest baker (like Heiner's in Advantage Valley) not only helps the environment by decreasing transportation time and gas consumption, it also ensures the softest buns possible.

Finally, they showed Nathan's New York-style weenies as the top choice due to the skin-on "bite." Well, here is a news flash to the folks on the coasts: people between the Hudson and I 5 like their weenies skinless. I sorta gag and choke eveytime I have to eat a skin-on weenie. However, nathan's skinless franks are indeed quite good, if not a bit pricey.

This sort of segment is exactly why I signed up to join Stanton at WVhotdogs.com. When I was Googling around for info on hot dogs the way we in the Mountain State like 'em, his was the only site that really spoke to me. We are, in a sense, documenting an icon of regional culture that seems to get ignored in the face of the bi-coastal national media.

I'm not saying that the TV report ain't valid for some. Just don't expect WVians to listen or care.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Simpsonized Stanton

July DogCast Now Available for Download

Good news and bad news:

  • Absent a public outcry for more, this might be the last edition of the DogCast; and

  • This month's version is extra long.

I'll let you decide which is good and which is bad. You can download it here.