Originally posted by sbpressman
I was raised on both Hebrew National beefy kosher dogs and Sahlens, and have eaten local hot dogs in Chicago and NJ. Sahlens is still my favorite, especially grilled over a charcoal fire -- Ted's style. I don't consider it bland at all; just a very different taste than kosher style. Kosher dogs have a very powerful garlic presence, and are pretty greasy (not negatives, just style). Sahlens definitely has porky notes, and a "sharp" but low key spiciness (like black pepper). I also think kosher dogs are better with just mustard, while Sahlens are great fully loaded. At Ted's, that would be ketchup, mustard, onions, relish, hot sauce (a chunky "salsa" with no cumin flavor so it doesn't taste Mexican at all) and pickle. A relative of the Chicago style dog.
Very well said. A good description of some of the differences between kosher style and German style dogs. Also a good description of Sahlen's.
I finally got a chance to sample some of these dogs yesterday. They're not available in my area, so I haven't had them previously. Someone I have been corresponding with online happens to live close to me and was kind enough to invite me over to sample a few Sahlen's. He also gave me some to take home along with some of the famous Buffalo wings and the Longenberry juice popular in the area.
I always look forward to trying new dogs; especially those that I've heard so much about. And I never know if I will like them or not. But it's great fun for me to sample something that I've heard or read about. And finally to have an opinion of.
The dogs I sampled were Sahlen's Smoke House Hot Dogs. They are available in supermarkets near Buffalo. The same recipe as those served at Ted's. The only difference in these and the actual dogs used at Ted's is the casing. The smokehouse dogs have a collagen, rather than a sheep casing. And at Ted's, you can get the dogs in a bigger sizes. Footlong and Jumbo.
I had these dogs with Weber's Hot Texan Sauce, which is a blend of mustard, relish, and spices, and also Weber's Picalilly Relish, which is a spicy, tomato based relish. Both were very good, especially the Hot Texan sauce, which I've learned is a popular topping at Ted's. I would use this sauce if it was available near me. I might order some, as it is available online.
The dogs were prepared on a charcoal grill. They were very pale in color, which usually means that a very mild tasting, bordering on bland, taste experience is to follow. Not so here. The dogs were very good. A good balance of beef and pork with a distinctive spicing. Slightly peppery, and somewhat reminiscent of Hofmann's coneys or snappy grillers. That's what the Sahlens frank reminded me of, although it wasn't over the top with the pepper or other spices. I had a bite of the dog plain before putting on the condiments. Later I had another plain, but will have to sample again with just mustard.
These dogs are great on the grill. We also had a Thumanns that we grilled for the sake of comparison. Thumann's have a softer lambs casing and are packed looser since they don't employ a technique called vacuum chopping which sucks the air out of the meat mixture. This results in a product that cooks up faster. I actually prefer Thumann's on the griddle rather than on the backyard grill. I will compare these 2 again on the griddle. Both are great dogs. The Sahlen's actually cooked up better on the charcoal grill. It was drier, crunchier, and more peppery in flavor. An excellent example of a beef and pork dog. And I like the collagen casing. I think they use this for the supermarket dogs because there is more uniformity when it comes to size. The Thumann's dog had it's usual great taste (the pork comes right from their hams) but, as I said, didn't cook up as well as the Sahlen's. And it tasted very salty. I usually simmer in water before putting them on the griddle; perhaps this takes away some of the salt. Or maybe the dog is just salty compared to Sahlen's.
I'm looking forward to having the remaining Sahlen's dogs, both on the grill and the griddle to evaluate them further after having them for the first time yesterday. But I will say that they are a great dog; as good as there is, and even better than I anticipated, especially after seeing the pale color. Great on the grill, and they are complemented well by the Weber's Hot Texan Sauce and Picalilly Relish.
Later on I went to Wegmans to request that they carry this brand. They will attempt to. I found out that the Princeton location usually stocks Sahlen's. I didn't know this. Currently, they are out of stock, but they will call when they get more.