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 Kobe Beef Hot Dogs

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John Fox

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  • Joined: 12/3/2000
  • Location: Union, NJ
Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sat, 04/25/09 1:19 PM (permalink)
I've always been curious about Kobe beef dogs; how they would taste and whether or not I would like them any better than a regular beef dog. But not so curious that I would travel to New York to sample one. Or pay the inflated price. Once I paid $15.00 for a pound of Lobel's franks. This was about 8 years ago. They cost so much because the beef used is prime. A very good dog, but not a standout. In fact, I compared it next to a Niman Ranch ($8.99 per lb) and a Nathan's natural casing frank. My preference was 1) Nathan's 2) Lobel's 3) Niman Ranch. The 2 priccier dogs were good, but not worth the price.
I figured the same would be true of a Kobe beef dog. I've read opinions ranging from "the best dog I've ever had" to "overated" and "nothing special". Some have said that the dog was mushy, perhaps due to the use of high quality beef that has a higher marbling/fat content. Still, I wanted to sample one for myself. I found a restaurant about 4 or 5 miles from home that offers one for about $20.00. I had been holding off but finally decided that it would be worth the high price just to satisfy my curiosity. I planned to go soon.
Yesterday I happenned to be in a King's supermarket when I came across a package in the deli section containing 2 Kobe Beef hot dogs. The cost was $7.99 per pound. The total weight for 2 dogs was .65 lbs and the cost was $5.19. That translates to about $2.60 for a fat dog slightly bigger than a 4 to a lb. I scoffed them up.
I prepared one last night. I happenned to have an 8 to a lb natural casing Best frank left in the freezer that I defrosted for the sake of comparison. Both dogs were simmerred in hot (not boiling) water and heated on low heat in a skillet.
The Kobe beef frank had a tough casing that was definitely from a hog or pig intestine. Usually thicker dogs like this need a tougher casing while smaller dogs (like the Best) use a sheep or lamb casing. I've had hog casings before, but the one on the Kobe frank was much too tough. I actually would have preferred a skinless dog to one with a casing this tough. And I am a big fan of dogs with a casing.
The dog had a decent consistency. It wasn't mushy as some have described a Kobe dog. Then again there is more than one company that makes these type of dogs. There was no info on the label except the price, weight, that it was a Kobe beef frank and that it came from King's. As for flavor, it was ok, but very average. Although not kosher, it was quite salty like a kosher dog. Because of the size, it looked like a knockwurst or "special". Tasted like a straightforward salty beef dog with little complexity. Medium to slightly higher than average spice level for an Eastern U.S. Beef dog.
The Best's dog was much better. Better casing, better size, better flavor,and a better, more complex spicing. It tasted even better than it usually does because it was compared to a dog that wasn't nearly as good.
In my opinion Kobe dogs are overated and not worth the high price. At least the Kobe dog I had. The spicing and recipe is more important than the meat mixture, although good beef dogs do use quality cuts of beef. Best uses a mix of choice and lean beef. Sabrett, Hebrew National, Usinger's, Boars Head, and others also use quality beef.
I had the second dog just before posting here. I simmerred it in water again, but this time I put it on the grill in the yard. It tasted the same as last night. These dogs are fairly juicy, and while I think they are nothing special, they're ok and some may like them.

    Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sat, 04/25/09 1:55 PM (permalink)
    Drawing a conclusion about Kobe beef hot dogs from one purchase of one brand from an unknown manufacturer seems a bit iffy, at best.

    Imagine someone who was brought up on beef, pork and veal mix hot dogs trying one unknown 100% beef hot dog such as a Ball Park, and deciding that 100% beef hot dogs were over-rated.

    I think what you must do is try all of the brands and styles in the Northeast, and then report back to us.

    That said, I have always been puzzled about the promotion of Kobe beef hamburgers and hot dogs.  The point of Kobe beef, if I understand it correctly, is that it has a higher degree of marbling than that of traditional American steers.  This should make it more tender and flavorful.  The ground meat in hot dogs and hamburgers is tenderized by the grinding, so that point is moot.  One can add as much fat as desired to the hamburger or hot dog, so the contribution of more fat is also pointless. 
    If the promoters are correct that the Kobe beef hot dog or hamburger is more flavorful than the lower-cost equivalent, the only way that I can think of that it would be so is if the Kobe beef fat is more flavorful for some unknown reason.
    It also is my understanding that the use of the term "Kobe" is not well regulated.
    I had a $12.95 Kobe beef 1/2 pound hot dog twice at a local bistro, and I liked it a lot, but I think that it may have just been that it was a very high quality sausage, very well prepared and presented.  I still just don't know about the Kobe ground meat thing.
    <message edited by MiamiDon on Sat, 04/25/09 2:03 PM>

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      Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sat, 04/25/09 2:38 PM (permalink)
      As I reported recently in a different thread, I had these Wagyu dogs and, at $7.99/lb (5 fat hot dogs), thought they were delicious.  pb

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        • Location: Branchburg N.J.
        Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sat, 04/25/09 3:04 PM (permalink)
        john thanks for the review and the info!! BTW i was in shop rite yesterday and they have a nice selection of dogs in cluding the shickhaus special footlongs and the sabrett natural casing 5 to 1 or 6 to 1 i didnt checck but they were big!! Question for you john is i know youve talked about  it before but how do the shop rite house brands(black bear) naturals beef, and pork and beef compare???
        i usually go with the thumanns beef and pork 5 to 1 in the blue and white plastic 5lbs i love them on the grill and ive even baked them in the oven they are excellent!
        <message edited by dannybotz on Sat, 04/25/09 3:06 PM>
          John Fox

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          • Joined: 12/3/2000
          • Location: Union, NJ
          Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sat, 04/25/09 4:39 PM (permalink)
          I get your point. I said, "In my opinion Kobe dogs are overated and not worth the high price. At least the Kobe dog I had." Perhaps I shouldn't have made a generalization about ALL Kobe dogs. But I think King's supermarkets have a reputation for high end food and I would guess that the brand they are selling is a good representative of the style. At least I hope so. And my experience is similar to what people I know and respect have said about these dogs in general.
          As you mentioned, a major selling point of Kobe/Wagyu beef is it's tenderness which has been rendered moot by grinding and the ability to add more fat to the mix. I would love to try all the brands available, but I don't think I can afford it.
          I remember about 8 or 9 years back when the Olympic Comitee and the Certified Angus Beef people held an all day taste test to determine the best beef dog with the intention of having the winning company use their recipe but with Certified Angus Beef to produce a dog for the Olympics. Usinger's was chosen as best beef dog and produced the Olympic frank with Certified Angus Beef. This was made available to the public through the company's website. I ordered Usinger's regular beef dog and the one made with angus beef. Both were the same size (8 to a lb w/natural casing) and made to the same recipe. They tasted exactly the same! The angus frank may have been a little juicier but I was hard pressed to tell. So that led me to conclude that it's more the spicing than the meat. And if this is true, then maybe I can generalize about Kobe Beef franks, if only to say that it's not the beef but the spicing that would make one better than another. So at least in this respect a Kobe beef dog would be no different than sampling any other beef dog. Except it costs more.
          Those are a better size than what I had. And look to be skinless.
          Black Bear is made by Dietz and Watson and is the same recipe as their franks. I was told this by someone at Dietz and Watson. Shop Rite also. I haven't had their beef and pork frank, but their beef dog is good. A little greasy when prepared on the griddle, but tasty and milder than a Sabrett's or Nathan's.
          Thumann's are my favorite, but those in the white and blue package are 6 to a lb.

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            Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sat, 04/25/09 9:21 PM (permalink)
            thanx john will probably put them all on the grill at one point or another this summer as its the first year as a homeowner with a new grill and a yard!!
              John Fox

              • Total Posts: 2313
              • Joined: 12/3/2000
              • Location: Union, NJ
              Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sun, 04/26/09 7:29 AM (permalink)

              I just remembered that I did have a Dietz and Watson beef and pork dog once at a place called Casino Tony Goes in Trenton, which is no longer there. It's actually the same recipe as the Black Bear beef and pork dog at Shop Rite. It was a very good dog and I would have enjoyed it on a bun with mustard, but I had it as part of an Italian Hot Dog. A beef/pork dog is all wrong for an Italian Hot Dog in my opinion and Casino Tony Goes was one of the worst Italian Hot Dogs I've had.
                carolina bob

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                Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sun, 04/26/09 1:11 PM (permalink)
                What is it about a beef/pork dog that makes it wrong for an Italian hot dog?
                  John Fox

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                  • Location: Union, NJ
                  Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Sun, 04/26/09 3:05 PM (permalink)
                  An Italian Hot Dog also includes sauteed or fried peppers, potatoes, and onions. Salt, pepper and oregano are often added to the potatoes on top. A spicy, garlicky all beef dog is the perfect type of dog to go with these ingredients. It's bold enough to be noticed where a beef/pork dog just doesn't go well with everything else.

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                    Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Tue, 05/5/09 12:05 PM (permalink)
                    i have tried the "kobe" beef hot dogs, and i did'nt think much of them.  no WOW  factor.

                    high price and i don't think my customers would pay $6-7 for a dog.

                    they are made from domestic "kobe" cows......what is with that?
                    <message edited by djtomatoe on Tue, 05/5/09 8:26 PM>

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                      Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Tue, 05/5/09 12:35 PM (permalink)
                      The big selling point of Kobe beef is that it's tender and flavorful. If you grind it up and mix it with spices, does it really matter how flavorful or tender the beef used to be? In my opinion it's all about the spices, not the beef you start with. I understand the 'Kobe' term is often used for meat that's not Kobe, so I'm not sure I've ever had true Kobe beef. In fact, I'll admit I probably never have. However, theoretically I don't think the type of beef really matters in a hot dog.

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                        Re:Kobe Beef Hot Dogs Tue, 05/5/09 2:30 PM (permalink)
                        I had my first Sabrett's hotdog yesterday. and may never go back to Nathan's again.  Exceptional taste and size and body.
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