Friday, May 24, 2019

Martinsburg HDJ Review - Dogs 11

For years we have been hoping to find a real WVHDJ in the Eastern Panhandle, and recently an Associate Weenie Wonk stumbled upon a place that gave us hope that we'd finally found it. Dogs 11, a self-described Artisan Hot Dog Joint has on its menu a "WV Classic Dog" with the following description: "This WV staple is an All-Natural Dog smothered in our homemade chili sauce, topped with our creamy homemade slaw, diced onions, and yellow mustard." Sounds good in theory, but there is often a big difference between theory and practice. 
The hot dog bun is big. Too big. Dogs 11 bakes their own buns and they are oversized to fit some of the other, more full-bodied hot dogs they sell like the Salsalito Dog (full of cheese and salsa) or the Fritatta Dog (cheese, mushroom, onions and bacon), but they are too big for a WVHD. The chili was dry (like most EP dogs we've found) but the slaw was moist enough to make up for it. The slaw is waaaay to coarse, though, as are the onions.  Fans of natural-casing weenies will be glad to know this one has that snap, but as real WVHD fans know, it's an unnecessary added frill if the other toppings aren't up to snuff.  Overall, this is just an effort to make a WVHD with inappropriate ingredients. 

But it is an effort, and for that, we will award Dogs 11 a 3.5 Weenie ranking, mainly because it's so rare to find anything like a real WVHD east of Keyser. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Charleston HDJ Review- Super Weenie

Super Weenie began life as a hot dog cart that sold pretty good hot dogs on the corner of Lee & Capitol Streets in downtown Charleston. You can read our review from 2016 here. About a year ago, it graduated to a bricks and mortar location a block and a half away on Quarrier Street. We didn't mean to wait a whole year to do a review, but time happens and here it is.

With a slogan like "I'm serious about these hot dogs," we expected a great hot dog. HDJs that truly are serious about hot dogs are hard to find (even though many claim to be) but when you find one you know it because it shows in the care given to the various elements that make up a true WV Hot Dog. A HDJ that uses food service slaw, for example, can say they are serious, but any true WVHD fan can see right through their ruse.

We heard through the grapevine that since moving indoors, Super Weenie was making their own slaw, which was a good thing since the last time we reviewed them (while they were still a cart) their slaw was found wanting. So we went in, expecting and hoping that we would find that Super Weenie had found the missing ingredient to make their hot dogs truly super. 

They have.

Slaw purists, note the absence of carrots.
Every part of this hot dog is super indeed. The weenie was perfectly cooked, the chili deliciously complex (if not terribly spicy) and the slaw paired with it perfectly. The new slaw is perfect in texture and in taste: finely chopped cabbage sans core and just a touch of sweet. Onions & mustard did nothing to detract. The only possible thing over which we could quibble is that to get a steamed steamed bun you have to request it, but my bun was warm, soft, fresh and delicious so maybe it doesn't really need it because even without a steamed bun this is a Five Weenie superstar West Virginia Hot Dog . 

Congrats to the Super Weenie team on having a hot dog worthy of your name and your slogan. Arguably, the best hot dog in downtown Charleston. 

Friday, May 03, 2019

North Charleston HDJ Review - Huskey's Dairy Bar

After a bit of a dustup over on the  West Virginia Hot Dogs Facebook page a few weeks ago. we decided to go re-review Huskey's Dairy Bar in North Charleston. The reason for this re-review -- in addition to the fact that it’s been many years since we’ve reviewed Huskey's --was that several people took exception with our statement that another nearby HDJ was not as good as Huskey's. Several people chimed in on that discussion and said that Huskey's was not good anymore since the owners had changed.

This is a claim we hear often about HDJs that change ownership, and sometimes it is accurate. So just in case it was true, we decided to pay another visit to Huskey's to find out for ourselves.

Bottom line up front, those people who said Huskey's was not as good as it used to be are dead wrong. In fact, it might even be better.

The first thing that Huskey's gets points for is the proper toppings listed on their menu for what everything on a hot dog means: Chili, slaw, mustard & onions, just like God intended. The next thing for which we'll give them giant kudos is the perfectly steamed bun on which they laid the rest of their toppings.

Next let’s talk weenie; Huskey's is unafraid to use a smaller diameter weenie to allow more room for their other toppings. We have found over the years this is often the mark of a HDJ that is serious about its hot dogs. Some lesser HDJs put too much emphasis on the weenie and leave no room for toppings, which is usually a sign that those toppings don’t deserve the room anyway. Not so with Huskey's; these toppings are nearly perfect. The chili, while not terribly spicy, is perfect in texture and deliciously complex in taste. The slaw was great and a perfect complement to the chili, and it was lovingly applied in a perfect quantity. Lastly the onions were chopped well: Not too fine to be runny, not too large to be obnoxious. They stayed put when taking a bite out of the dog and were aromatic and delicious.

The only negative thing that I can say about Huskey's hot dog is their use of the dreaded Styrofoam coffin. We would prefer our dogs wrapped tightly in wax paper or plastic so it continues to steam the bun and keep it soft, but given that the bun was so perfectly steamed, the coffin did no harm this time.

We're going to give Huskey's a 4.5 Weenie rank and reaffirm our statement that it is definitely the best hot dog in North Charleston.