Friday, April 01, 2016

Townsville HDJ Review - The Hot Dog Factory

The WV Hot Dog Blog has gone on record numerous times about the way weenies are prepared. While we prefer grilled weenies, we are not too awfully concerned when hot dog joints use other methods to heat their meat. We've had excellent hot dogs whose weenies just came out of a hot bath, and even the dreaded roller dogs can't hold an otherwise good hot dog down. Generally speaking, we take a "when in Rome" attitude about how weenies are cooked.

But hold the phone, we recently were told about a new hot dog joint in Townsville that did something completely out of the ordinary to their hot dogs: Chicken Fried Hot Dogs. We could not envision what a chicken-fried hot dog would look like, much less taste like, so we scheduled a road trip up Route 12 as soon as we could. Although we didn't have an address for The Hot Dog Factory, we went anyway, figuring that we'd ask around once we got there. It turned out we didn't have to ask, because as you probably know, Townsville has only one street that runs through the center of town and every business (I think there are three) is on this street, so we soon found ourselves in front of a very cool looking little hot dog joint. We hoped that they had normal hot dogs in case the chicken-fried version wasn't to our liking.

Chicken-Fried Hot Dog
Walking in to the Hot Dog Factory, we immediately spied the Chicken Fried Hot Dog on the menu, threw caution to the wind and ordered up. When asked what "everything" meant, I was please to hear that Chili, slaw, mustard and onion were the standard toppings. I didn't however, expect to be asked whether I wanted Original or Extra Crispy, but without thinking I went for original. 

Now I have certainly had chicken-fried steak, and even chicken-fried chicken and I thought I knew what to expect. I envisioned that my hot dog would have its weenie encrusted with a golden-brown crust, nestled inside a bun with the normal toppings applied. I was even a little concerned about my ability to take a good photo of the weenie, and I found myself kind of hoping that the toppings would be more sparsely applied that I usually like so I could get a better look. 

I completely misunderstood. 

When The Hot Dog Factory says "Chicken Fried Hot Dog" they aren't talking about the weenie. No, they take the entire hot dog, bun, toppings and all, and dip it into the chicken batter and then crispy fry the whole thing. So the finished product was a regular old West Virginia hot dog completely encased in a crust. Are you understanding this, dear reader? The Bun, weenie, chili, slaw, mustard and onions were on the inside! Astounding!

After getting over my initial shock, I finally bit into the hot dog and was amazed to find that it was absolutely delicious. The ingredients that we so love in their normal state, were somehow enhanced by the deep frying, and the salty chicken-crust made the whole thing an absolute symphony of flavor! I immediately ordered another one and forgot all about trying the other hot dogs on the menu (of which there are many, including a veggie dog that uses a steamed carrot in place of the weenie). It wouldn't be fair to rate this hot dog on the same Weenie Scale as more traditional hot dogs, but if we did it would surely be worthy of a 5 Weenie score.

We were so impressed by the Chicken-fried Hot Dog at the Hot Dog factory that we made plans for a return trip. We're thinking of going back again next year on the same day, because April 1 seems like the perfect day to have a foolish-sounding hot dog like this.