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."

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