Best hot dog in the US PERIOD!

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mistertawny
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2004/09/17 13:26:32 (permalink)

Best hot dog in the US PERIOD!

Okay I know I'm gonna hear Vienna Beef, Miller's, Nathan's and a whole host of others, but there is no better dog in the world than in Berkeley (and Oakland)California at a small place called Top Dog. I now live in the midwest and I get Vienna all the time, and while they are good, for sheer taste I can't find anything to rival the Top Dog.

My son sends me a care package from the bay area every few months, and I can't tell you how releived I am when they arrive. These are dogs that need NO CONDIMENTS! Yep, no mustard, relish, onions or anything else. You can add them if you want, but beleive me it isn't necessary. These dogs are grilled and that brings out the spices perfectly. I have eaten at Nathan's on Coney, and it is the only thing to come close. But those dogs still need a finish. Pink's hot dogs are a joke, and while Vienna is very good, nothing comes really close.

I find it almost criminal or at least very negligent that there is no mention of Top Dog anywhere here.
#1

16 Replies Related Threads

    John Fox
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/17 14:36:13 (permalink)
    I've heard that these dogs are very good. I'm in New Jersey and haven't had a chance to try them. The person who told me about them said that they are a little less spicy than Nathan's, but wouldn't tell me the brand. I know that they are an all beef dog. Do you know the brand and how I might obtain them? Have you tried Usinger's, Best's (N.J. not Chicago), or Boars Head? These 3 brands are tops in my book for an all beef dog.
    #2
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/17 14:51:17 (permalink)
    Who really makes America's best hot dog? This is like asking, "Who's the best human being in the world?" The question should be, "What makes one product distinctive over another?" The "Best Hot Dog" discussion is very subjective and I enjoy other's opinions.
    #3
    chezkatie
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/17 14:58:36 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chicagostyledog

    Who really makes America's best hot dog? This is like asking, "Who's the best human being in the world?" The question should be, "What makes one product distinctive over another?" The "Best Hot Dog" discussion is very subjective and I enjoy other's opinions.



    I have to go along with Hoffman's (which has another forum going here) Our family members are not allowed into our home when they come to visit us from central New York unless they have 10 lbs of hot dogs and 10 lbs of coneys...............we are all out. I sure hope that someone visits us soon!
    #4
    howard8
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/17 15:18:48 (permalink)
    Chicagostyledog:
    Couldn't agree with you more.
    I enjoy all types of hotdogs; from kosher and spicy all beef to good german style beef and pork to simmered, deep fried, simmered and grilled,; dogs with chile, dogs with onions, dogs with relish or kraut or just mustard.
    Its a lot like my taste in women; depends on the day and how I'm feeling.
    They're all different, most are good and some really stand out as winners.
    #5
    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/17 15:56:46 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by chezkatie

    quote:
    Originally posted by chicagostyledog

    Who really makes America's best hot dog? This is like asking, "Who's the best human being in the world?" The question should be, "What makes one product distinctive over another?" The "Best Hot Dog" discussion is very subjective and I enjoy other's opinions.



    I have to go along with Hoffman's (which has another forum going here) Our family members are not allowed into our home when they come to visit us from central New York unless they have 10 lbs of hot dogs and 10 lbs of coneys...............we are all out. I sure hope that someone visits us soon!


    Chezkatie,

    If I brought a 10 pound box of Vienna Beef hot dogs from Chicago, could I bring my family to visit you too?

    CSD
    #6
    plb
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/17 16:04:41 (permalink)
    From their web site topdoghotdogs.com:

    "we continue to seek out the best sausage from the best sausage-makers who, born to a tradition of taste, we believe, tend to serve it better. Calabrese? How ya gonna top S.F.'s award-winning house of Molinari? Buon Gusto! Or that little Portuguese plant in San Leandro that makes but two products, one of which, the linguiça, we are proud to say, stands pork shoulder butt higher than any of its competitors in the Bay Area. Then there's the cooked bratwurst from Saag's — as authentic an old-world European taste as you're likely to find. And from another quality third generation producer, Schwarz of S.F., bockwurst unsurpassed!"
    #7
    mistertawny
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/19 11:10:17 (permalink)
    Hyperbole aside this time. I have had Nathan's at Coney Island, and while good, just wasn't as good without condiments. Vienna Beef is a little closer, but they don't hold up well grilled (my preferred method of eating a dog). In the SF bay area there is also another contender you don't hear too muh about about and it's Miller's. Probably the closest, next to Top Dog, as the best in America. Sabrett's is, at best, uneven in it's quality. Food service Ball Park hots are pretty good, but a tad small. In travelling over the last 25 years I have yet to find anything to top a Top Dog.

    My criteria for what makes the best hot dog is simple. Pure beef, no fillers, and kosher or close, with a natural casing that goes pop when you bite it. A dog that, in it's own bun, requires no condiments to provide full flavor and satisfaction. If you have to add condiments to make it stand up and bark, well it hasn't done it's job. Like having to put steak sauce on a dry aged porterhouse because the meat isn't good enough by itself.

    As far as the brand of red hots Top Dog uses. Well you are out of luck there. Adele's sausages makes the dogs for Top Dog, but the recipe is privately held. I have asked for quite a while to open a Top Dog out here in Kansas City, and I can get a local sausage maker to even make them up. But they just won't consider it. So I am stuck waiting for occasional care packages from my son.

    Oh wow, just found out that they sell direct now, from the web site. Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!
    #8
    chezkatie
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/19 11:24:12 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by mistertawny
    As far as the brand of red hots Top Dog uses. Well you are out of luck there. Adele's sausages makes the dogs for Top Dog, but the recipe is privately held. I have asked for quite a while to open a Top Dog out here in Kansas City, and I can get a local sausage maker to even make them up. But they just won't consider it. So I am stuck waiting for occasional care packages from my son.

    Oh wow, just found out that they sell direct now, from the web site. Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!



    What is the website?
    #9
    John Fox
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/19 11:37:32 (permalink)
    The website is http://www.topdoghotdogs.com. I'd like to try these. Mistertawny, are they spicy in your opinion? And have you tried Usinger's beef dogs or Boars Head? I would say Boars Head is a perfect example of a kosher style New York/N.J. hot dog. Very similar in flavor and spicing to Lobels from New York which uses prime beef and costs $15.00 per pound. Usinger's beef dog is a little different than a New York style dog in that it is shorter and thicker in size, has more smoke flavor than you find in a beef dog (more typical of a German style frank) and has a few different spices (nutmeg for one)that you don't find in the New York/Chicago style where garlic and paprika dominate. Nevertheless, everyone that I know of, without exception, that has tasted the Usinger Angus frank after I recomended it has said it is the best hot dog that they have tasted. I'm curious about how the Top Dog compares.
    #10
    mistertawny
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/19 20:02:05 (permalink)
    I wouldn't call them less spicy, just a better overall use. It is assumed they will be grilled slowly for at least 10 minutes, then to higher heat for about 5. So the garlic and paprika really come to the surface. They are pretty lean too. My only complaint is the size, which is adequate, but could be bigger. But when I eat 2 of them, my stomach is right there to remind me how spicy they are. They use a couple of more esoteric spices, including what I think is saffron and perhaps (*GASP*) cinnimon?????

    I've tried Loebel's which were okay, but more than a bit pricey for what you expect. Again you have to rely on condiments for the nuances. I have yet to try Usinger, but my son did and said it remionded him of a slightly spicer Dodger dog. Boar's Head I have read about and would be interested in trying.

    In my family the no condiment rule is what we apply to any food to judge it on it's merits. I think that's a pretty fair measure of any food. Kind of like In and Out fries (or what Mc Donalds use to be) or again a nice dry aged porterhouse. Sure steak butter is pretty good and can add to the pleasure of the steak, but try it first to se if you get all the nuance you need. Hot dogs always were spiced to be eaten unadorned, or at the most with mustard.


    Reminds me of an apocrophyal story about Thomas Edison.

    Before he would hire anyone to his staff they were invited to dinner with the Edison family. If someone salted thier food before tasting, they didn't stand a chance of getting a job there even as a janitor.
    #11
    John Fox
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/19 20:11:26 (permalink)
    Usinger's uses esoteric spices; nutmeg and others. But make sure that you try their beef dog. Their pork and beef dog is okay, but the beef dog is exceptional. I prefer my dogs with just a little mustard. Occasionally I'll have a chili dog or one with the special mustard from Rutt's Hut. But you're right; the test of a good dog is whether it can stand on it's own without condiments.
    #12
    elswinger
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/20 11:22:17 (permalink)
    Thanks for the heads up on Top Dog. I've avoided ordering (online) Nathan's, Vienna Beef, or Hebrew National because I've never been a fan of All Beef dogs (I like some pork on my tube steaks). I'm very impressed by Top Dogs selection and will have to order some. Now if I can find a foot long "all meat" dog and a bun to match.
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    chicagostyledog
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/20 13:54:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by elswinger

    Thanks for the heads up on Top Dog. I've avoided ordering (online) Nathan's, Vienna Beef, or Hebrew National because I've never been a fan of All Beef dogs (I like some pork on my tube steaks). I'm very impressed by Top Dogs selection and will have to order some. Now if I can find a foot long "all meat" dog and a bun to match.

    Vienna Beef makes an all beef foot long (aka Big Foot) and a natural skin all beef foot long Polish. Alpha Baking Company supplies the bun. The foot long hot dog is available for retail sales.

    CSD
    #14
    bxfinest
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/09/23 18:45:08 (permalink)
    Mistertawny:

    I can beleive the idea that Top Dog franks are tasty to the point you need no condiments, however I most disagree with you on the idea that Nathans needs toppings to give it taste. If you truly had a Nathans especially from Coney Island you should know that they never need condiments. That's why they don't offer all the toppings at the location other than ketchup, mustard and sauerkraut for those who feel they need it. The juices from a Nathans frank leaves a taste in your mouth that last for hours and yes the dog does it's job!!!In fact sometimes I can eat a Nathans without condiments nor a bun. And that's out of the Nathans from the supermarket. I guess that's why they sell them in supermartkets. I guess I need to taste a Top Dog to give a fair opinion but til then Nathans is the best with Sabrett all beefs as a very close 2nd, along with Hebrew Nationals in 3rd.
    #15
    tmiles
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/10/05 16:22:36 (permalink)
    I like the Jordan's natural casing dogs. I get them at my local supermarket, but I think that they are made in Maine. They cost less than $4 for a 1 lb pre pak.
    #16
    ohman
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    RE: Best hot dog in the US PERIOD! 2004/10/05 17:08:20 (permalink)
    You know, I have tried every hot dog place in town and I still say my wife and I sell the best dogs around hands down!
    #17
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