Roller Dogs

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The Dog House
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2009/03/19 12:54:58 (permalink)

Roller Dogs

OK.  I've screwed up my courage enough to ask this question.  They say "there are no dumb questions", but maybe I can bust that myth. 

Dumb(?) Question: Roller dogs (found frequently in convenience stores) are poo-poo'd by the cart owners.   Why?  Please note: I'm not here to defend anyone.  I don't think I've ever eaten a roller dog. 

Better(?), and Related Question:  What is it that the rollers do to the dog that result in an inferior product/taste?

I'm in TX, and we don't have many HDC's around here.

To the HDC vets:  yes, this is a serious question.

Please be gentle. 

Thanks.
#1

17 Replies Related Threads

    edwmax
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 13:35:37 (permalink)
    Hotdog rollers slowly cook and hold & display the hdog until servered, such as at convenience stores.   ... I for one, do not see any advantag- of using these on  a HD cart, unless it is self-serve.

    The inferior product is due to poor quality meat or being held past its prime.
    #2
    kennyb
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 14:15:40 (permalink)
    slow cooking and can only cook so many at a time. we do festivals and load the steamer up with 80 dogs to start, then have to keep adding more dogs as they sell. a roller grill may only hold 12 or so and takes awhile to cook. and electricity is a problem on most carts. 
    #3
    edwmax
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 15:42:45 (permalink)
    If you want grilled Hdogs add a small gas flat-top just above the steam pans. Pull the cooked Hdogs from the steampan and put on the grill as needed. Also, you can cook onions and peppers on these.

    I can't find the link to the Cart manufacture that builds their cart with this small flat-top.     The grill is about 12" by 18 or 24" inches and set above and to the rear of the steampans.   Much faster than a roller-grill.
    post edited by edwmax - 2009/03/19 15:44:21
    #4
    Curbside Grill
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 17:08:29 (permalink)
    I love roller dogs, Have two places here in town and it drives the customers to me. No seriously they are usally over cooked dried out half burnt pieces of dog treats. People put them on to early and leave them there for some poor sucker.
    Cart of Delaware has friers, griddles, that add to cart. Would not attempt fryer on cart. Almost at bottom of page
    http://www.hotdogcarts.org/
    You are in texas, could spend a day or talk to him
    Houston area.
    http://www.texgrill.com/
    Also 7- elevens in your area big roller dog places
    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGIC_enUS306US306&q=7-eleven+stores+dallas
    If going to 7-eleven could take your camara and do a roadfood trip report.
     
    post edited by Curbside Grill - 2009/03/19 17:34:42
    #5
    Curbside Grill
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 17:50:27 (permalink)
    Are you looking to be different in tex. roller grill is not it. almost every small market / fuel stop has these usally right next to the crock pot with tamales and a small holding  oven with smoked turkey legs. Don't know how living in TX could miss these items
    #6
    The Dog House
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 18:34:42 (permalink)
    Curbside Grill

    Are you looking to be different in tex. roller grill is not it. almost every small market / fuel stop has these usally right next to the crock pot with tamales and a small holding  oven with smoked turkey legs. Don't know how living in TX could miss these items




    Oh, I haven't missed them, Curbside.  You're right.  They're EVERYWHERE.  And, I'm not interested in offering rollergrilled dogs.  I was really asking for understanding re/the difference in the final product (seems to be freshness and temperature).

    Thank you all for your responses.

     
    #7
    John Fox
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 19:37:17 (permalink)
    In my opinion, roller grills are (or should be) for convenience stores like 7-11 and movie theatres. I'm not a cart owner, nor do I own a hot dog business. I love sampling hot dogs from places that serve them as well as sampling different brands at home.
     
    There are a few reasons that I don't like roller grills. For one, they are made for skinless hot dogs. Most hot dogs sold and consumed are skinless. Most are mediocre as well. I say the same thing for beer. Most food and drink I'm not too particular about. I take hot dogs and beer seriously. Since I do, I seek out those that are high quality and well made. And in the case of hot dogs, well prepared.
     
    I like the snap of a natural casing frank. As I mentioned, the roller grill is made for skinless dogs. That's one reason I'm against them. Another is that whenever I've had a dog from one, it's either not hot enough, or on the roller grill too long, or both. Even if someone prepares a dog for the right amount of time and at the right temperature on one of those things, it still doesn't taste as good as a dog that has been simmerred in water for the right amount of time, deep fried, or grilled. Which goes to the most important reason, TASTE! In my opinion, hot dogs taste better prepared other ways. The better hot dog places in New Jersey would never even consider using a roller grill. Here it is associated with cheap, generic, hot dogs that you get at convenience stores and movie theatre snack bars. Even if the brand used is a good one.
     
    Let me give you an example. There are many Nathan's franchises around. Unfortunately, not all are good. That's too bad, because the Nathan's natural casing dog is a quality frank. When someone has one that isn't good at one of the lesser franchises, it sours them on Nathan's.
     
    I went to a Nathan's some years ago a few blocks from my job. They served a  skinless dog and prepared it on a roller grill. While even the skinless Nathan's is a good dog, this one lost it's flavor from being on the grill too long, and wasn't hot besides. The place went out of business in a matter of months.

    Another time I went to a Nathan's at a rest area. Roller grill, skinless dog. But hot and fresh. It was pretty good.

    I've been to the original Nathan's in Coney Island, one at a nearby mall, and another at a Turnpike rest area. All three served the natural casing Nathan's frank that was prepared on a hot griddle. The dogs were hot, fresh, tasty, and had that snap that you just can't get from a skinless dog. And they had the nice grill marks that make it aesthetically pleasing as well. Head and shoulders above any dog prepared on a roller grill. 

    For these reasons I don't eat hot dogs from any place using one of these grills. An exception was 3 years ago when I went with a team to taste hot dogs all summer for a newspaper. We visited 87 places and some (very few) used a roller grill. Hebrew National is a skinless dog. They do make a small quantity of franks with a collagen casing that you can get at some delis in the summer months. But on our summer of hot dog tasting, whenever we encountered a Hebrew National frank, it was skinless. We had them grilled, boiled, and once on a roller grill. These franks were exceptional grilled or boiled, but only average on the roller grill.

    I realize that as a business owner, your perspective may be different than mine. While you may be looking for convenience and to cut costs, I, the consumer, am looking for quality.
    #8
    The Dog House
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 21:08:53 (permalink)
     
    Thanks John.   Kudos for a good post.  

    The wealth of experience, knowledge, and sharing here continues to impress me.


    Hmmm. A hot dog tasting team... Where does one try out?
    #9
    dtortor1
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/19 23:16:28 (permalink)
    I'm sorry but my consumer side... for some reason prefers the oldest, most dried up, left on too long, dog that a roller has to offer. I just like the way it concentrates the flavor or something. Maybe why I like my dogs on a grill nice and charred...

    This subject is very interesting to me at this time because there is an event coming up that I will be in New Orleans for. Its a comic convention, two 8 hour days in an old Steve and Barrys. Lots of RPG playing, gaming, comics, etc. I would think hungry and thirsty people. Besides Mountan Dew and energy drinks, was trying to think of something to make it easy on my helper since this will be his baby. I'll pay extra and hope he does great. I need to put the plan together. I was thinking Nachos, Chili, Cheese and Dogs on a rented roller... that is where you folks make me worry. The roller may not keep up.... I've yhet to talk to the HD, maybe I can use a steam table inside. Steam the dogs and some brats and use it to keep the chili and cheese hot.

    It came up just days ago and I hate I will be out of town, but it was my christmas present. And my partner could use the encouragement!

    Can I vend with a roller grill as a last resort... i know where to rent it... maybe a whole nother menu? thought about getting some pork butts smoked, but don't know if thats the way. Also thought about ordering pizza bulk and selling it by the slice.

    Just don't think my trailer can handle it since its so big and I won't be there. Better for a table and tent I think. Who knows, may just sell candy bars and soft drinks. Stilll ahve to see what the mall will alllow.

    End Rumbling/ Sorry.

    Dom
    #10
    marzsit
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/20 06:19:12 (permalink)
    like others have said, natural casing dogs and sausages don't work on roller grills, but i still like them :)
     
     there are some decent skinless dogs that do very well on roller grills, as well as the many non-dog items available at 7-elevens... the jimmy dean breakfast sausage is great, so are the burger dogs, especially late at night :)
     
     
     but, i don't see how a roller grill would work on a typical hot dog cart. not enough space for one thing, and most are used to getting steamed dogs at carts, not grilled ones, at least around here....
    #11
    dtortor1
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/20 06:28:21 (permalink)
    oh man, i love the burger dogs... i started a thread about them a few months ago, i think its in miscellanious... reaction was mixed...!


    Dom
    #12
    konnie
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/20 21:30:38 (permalink)
    Dom:     They make a hot dog steamer that you can put about 60 dogs in one side and the buns on the other.  Works  lot better than roller grill and takes less electricity.  We bought a new roller grill when we started.  Used it once and switched.  It is still collecting dust in my shop.  Steamer is the way to go.

    Mike S.
    #13
    travis
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/20 21:57:46 (permalink)
    Hi, John,

    First, I've had good and bad roller dogs and I agree with you that is is a function of the quality of the frank and it's on-the-grill-age. Even good dogs can be spoiled by inattention.

    Second, is a question relating to Nathan's which I've had in various forms from original Coney Island to mall to free standing franchises to rest stops to home-cooked ... even at a small concession in Home Depot. Is it just some kind of psychological effect that the original at Surf and Stillwell is the best?

    As a FDNY paramedic I've had my share of street dogs and I believe that Nathan's uses a different dog at all its other outlets. I have no proof, but it just ain't the same.


    #14
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/20 23:00:55 (permalink)
    Your customers know what they want. You know where to find it.
    Whatever taste or type of frank you want, we’ve got the perfect hot dog to meet your needs and exceed your customers’ expectations. All are made to the highest quality standards and all are customizable to your specific requirements. Kent franks make it easy to give your customers the quality they deserve, the taste they’re asking for, and the consistency they expect. We can recommend the best product formulation and design for your specific requirements – whether you need a frank that will perform on a roller grill or a product that will maintain its color when boiled or steamed.
     
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    This is our premium frank. Made exclusively from Black Angus Beef, this delicious frank is formulated and processed to perform in a wide variety of applications and is available in a wide range of sizes to fit your specific needs.
     
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    Our All Beef Franks come in a variety of sizes, formulations, and spice profiles.Yet, they all have one thing in common – the great taste of Kent quality. That’s because every one is made from our choicest cuts of premium meat and then cooked to perfection.
     
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    unbeatable quality of Kent at a very affordable price.
     
    Turkey Franks
    A tasty alternative to red meat, our Turkey Franks are both reasonably priced and full of flavor. They make a popular addition to any menu.
     
    Roller Grill Franks
    Specially designed and formulated for use on the roller grill, our delicious
    Roller Grill Franks maintain their appearance and consistency on the grill
    for hours. Roller Grill Franks are available in Beef as well as Beef and Pork.
     
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    http://www.kentqualityfoods.com/media/pdf/KENT_Catalog.pdf

    #15
    John Fox
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/21 06:07:20 (permalink)
    travis

    Hi, John,

    First, I've had good and bad roller dogs and I agree with you that is is a function of the quality of the frank and it's on-the-grill-age. Even good dogs can be spoiled by inattention.

    Second, is a question relating to Nathan's which I've had in various forms from original Coney Island to mall to free standing franchises to rest stops to home-cooked ... even at a small concession in Home Depot. Is it just some kind of psychological effect that the original at Surf and Stillwell is the best?

    As a FDNY paramedic I've had my share of street dogs and I believe that Nathan's uses a different dog at all its other outlets. I have no proof, but it just ain't the same.


    I've spoken to people at Nathan's, most recently to a woman from their headquarters a couple of months ago. Nathan's has one recipe. The franks are now produced in Chicago. The ones labeled "Kosher" are different and made elsewhere. As I mentioned, there are skinless and natural casing "regular" Nathan's. I was told emphatically that the Nathan's natural casing frankfurters that you buy in stores is the same as those served at the Coney Island Nathan's. And I believe it.
     
    I've gone to 2 Nathan's in particular in N.J. that I thought were great. When I finally got around to going to Coney Island, I discovered what I had suspected. And that is that the dogs tasted the same at the Nathan's restaurants that use the natural casing franks and prepare them well on the griddle. There were 2 Nathan's in my hometown that did use the natural casing dogs and prepared them on a griddle. But didn't leave them on for a long enough period of time. These weren't as good. One was in Home Depot and the other was combined with a yogurt place. Both are now closed.
     
    I think it's a combination of atmosphere, mystique, psychological effect, or whatever you want to call it combined with the salt air that makes people think that a dog from the original Nathan's is superior. In most cases it is true because of the preparation, use of a griddle, and the natural casing frank, but there are 2 locations I've been to that are just as good.
    #16
    sodawater43
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/21 07:19:12 (permalink)
    When I get a Nathan's HD at a mall where they are grilled I always ask the server to make them "well done" I believe this brings out the flavor of the dog.
    #17
    Curbside Grill
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    Re:Roller Dogs 2009/03/21 09:32:46 (permalink)
    konnie

    Dom:     They make a hot dog steamer that you can put about 60 dogs in one side and the buns on the other.  Works  lot better than roller grill and takes less electricity.  We bought a new roller grill when we started.  Used it once and switched.  It is still collecting dust in my shop.  Steamer is the way to go.

    Mike S.


    Mike
    With big new grill are you going to do dogs on them also ,  lose a half foot of space. more buns in the steamer. I like my dog grilled. some like'em steamed.
    Mike
    #18
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