John, now you got my curiosity up...please find the time to tell that story!!!!
Late 2006/early 2007 a new restaurant opened in Newburgh, N.Y. called World's Best Hot Dogs and Hamburgers. A few Roadfooders who lived nearby went and gave the place rave reviews for hot dogs, hamburgers and fries. When asked where they got their dogs from, they would only say a provisions company from Connecticut. They did not claim a special recipe. I made a call and tried to get some information. Beforehand some of the Roadfooders told the owners that I might be able to discover the source of the dogs. The 2 partners read the posts and had some fun challenging some of the guys to guess the dogs.
I'm familiar with some of the Connecticut brands, so I thought I had a shot at guessing the brand. When speaking with one of the partners on the phone, I was only able to confirm that they used 2 sizes; one a smaller dog with casing that they prepared dirty water style, the other a longer skinless dog that they charbroiled. You could also get the longer dog with a marinated sauce. I was told that both dogs were from the same company and were all beef. I asked if they were from a small butcher shop (where in all probability I wouldn't be able to guess the brand), or from a known commercial producer in which case I might be able to determine the source. I was told that they came from a known hot dog company.
In January of 2007 a fellow Roadfooder and I made the trip up to Newburgh to visit 3 places including World's Best. My friend used the bathroom while I looked at a menu. We did not identify ourselves as Roadfooders. When it was my turn to use the restroom I went through the door and instead of turning immediately to my left (where the bathroom was located), I mistakenly walked to the end of the small hallway thinking the bathroom was through the door at the end. Instead I wound up in the kitchen where I saw boxes CLEARLY LABELLED SABRETT! No one was back there, so I took a quick peek in the refrigerator where I saw packages of the long Sabrett dogs.
Of course I didn't tell the partner that was there on this particular day. And since they didn't volunteer the info, I didn't post it here, only that I did know the brand. We eventually identified ourselves as Roadfooders and spoke with the owner. His partner was not there. When asked what I thought I was eating, I replied "Sabrett". The smaller snap dog prepared in water tasted exactly like the many dirty water Sabretts I sampled the previous summer as a member of the S.W.A.T. Team. I would have guessed this even if I hadn't seen the packages. The longer dog also had the familiar Sabrett flavor, though it would have been just a little harder to identify being charbroiled. The marinated dog (which was good, but I preferred the unmarinated ones) would have been hard to identify.
When I replied "Sabrett" the owner had a shocked look on his face. He then told me that he would never use Sabrett, that his dogs were much better. I told him that I had many Sabretts and that these were Sabrett. Then we left the subject alone. The dogs were very good and the fries were some of the best I've had. I didn't get to sample the burgers.
A few months later I was back with more Roadfooders on a New York Hot Dog Tour. This time the other partner was there. He didn't know me but mentioned to our group that someone was in there and mentioned that they used Sabrett. I identified myself and told him that I stood by what I said. He laughed condescendingly and said that although he used Sabrett mustard, the dogs weren't Sabrett. I didn't tell him of my discovery but since he came off as a wiseguy, I told him that I would bet him money that the dogs in his refrigerator were Sabrett. He wouldn't take the bet. He made up some excuse that it wouldn't be worth the money for someone to know the brand that he used.
Afterwards I did post on another site. I gave the place a good review and briefly mentioned that the dogs were Sabrett. Shortly after, the partner that I offered to bet posted that while he appreciated my review, I was wrong about the brand. I replied that I was sure of what I posted although I didn't mention that I saw the packages and labels. I got no further response.
Later that year World's First went out of business. A few months ago I happened to be looking over this old thread when I saw that this guy had responded! He claimed that he was now willing to bet me $5,000.00 and would show me the proof. Two years later!! Like he didn't have time to go and take the packages out of his refrigerator and put something else in there. He even told me that I could e-mail him personally rather than post on the forum to save me the embarrasment. I asked him if he opened again and I revealed how I knew for sure that I was eating Sabretts. I got no response. I contacted a Roadfooder who lives nearby and was told that this place did not open back up. Yet this guy wanted to take me up on my bet 2 years later. Strange indeed.
I don't mean to disparage people who own hot dog establishments or make broad generalizations about them. Some of them I consider friends. Some freely share information regarding where they get their dogs. Others respectfully decline to give information. Others are misleading while some outright lie. Many can't believe it makes a difference to me and consider me strange. I was told by one woman "It's none of your damn business!".
The important thing is if it's a hot dog that you like. But I like knowing just to satisfy my curiosity. And also so I can obtain the same dog if I want to make it at home.