Why the stigma? I can only speak for myself but when I see or think of a roller grill I'm reminded of the mediocre dogs you get at gas stations, movie theatres, and 7-11's. Most of the time dogs prepared this way are underdone or greasy or dry from being on the roller grill too long.
I agree that "when they're on the machine just the right amount of time and they're a quality pup -they ain't bad," but this is the exception.
As for being a time saving device, this doesn't concern me. I'm a consumer and would rather eat what I want. If the hot dog stand wants to save time, that's their business; I'll just go somewhere else. It's similar to the argument I have with people who serve frozen fries. I prefer fresh and will have them with a hot dog. I'd rather not waste the calories on frozen fries; I'll just order another hot dog. But the owner or proprietor will tell me how labor intensive making fresh fries is and give me a slew of other reasons. I don't care, I'm eating them, not making them. Same for those who tell me they charge more because their rent is higher. Well I'll go elsewhere to get the same dog cheaper. I'm supposed to be more inclined to pay $6 for a tiny hot dog and $10 for a lite beer because my team tells me they have to be able to afford overpaid players? Not with my money.
If you look at the New Jersey Hot Dog Thread I recommended a place that uses a roller grill. But this is an exception. The particular place prepares it well and has an excellent chili. If it was a plain dog, I wouldn't get it or recommend it despite the preparation and the quality brand. A skinless hot dog prepared on a roller grill cannot compare to a natural casing dog prepared on a grill or griddle. That's just my opinion.
While I wouldn't tell anyone how to enjoy their dogs or how to run their business, I'm free to have my opinions and patronize the places I prefer. Just like anyone else is free to serve whatever type of dog they want, prepare it how they want, and charge what they want for it.
The easiest way to illustrate the difference is to go to Nathan's in Coney Island. Or their location in the Menlo Park Mall. A dog there will have a natural casing, be prepared on a hot griddle, have a nice char, and excellent flavor. Then go to one of the inferior franchises that prepare a skinless Nathan's frank on a roller grill. Even if the second dog is fresh and prepared well, it cannot compare. Maybe many, if not most people do not notice a difference, those of us who are serious about hot dogs do.
I understand and agree that roller grills have their place. In movie theatres, gas stations, and convenience stores. But if you are going to open a place that specializes in hot dogs first and foremost, why not use a quality natural casing frank and prepare it using a better method than a roller grill?
In New Jersey where people take their hot dogs seriously, a roller grill is indeed rare for a place specializing in hot dogs.
<message edited by John Fox on Sat, 09/3/11 3:07 PM>