Looking to stay competitive with gas stations, baseball stadiums and guys with dirty food carts, Burger King today became the biggest restaurant-based seller of hot dogs in the nation. But who goes to a restaurant for a regular hot dog? Aside from me, I mean.
I am a huge fan of the sorry sausages that have come to be known as hot dogs, but paying someone else to make one for me feels like some sort of scam. They’re the most affordable meat product in the grocery store this side of bologna and olive loaf. For $1.99, the asking price of Burger King’s basic hot dog, I can buy 16 really horrible sausages of questionably quality from the fine folks at Gwaltney (slogan: Gwaltney, when you’re too broke to give a damn).
And should you not feel up to the task of cooking a hot dog, they grow naturally at gas stations across the country. Gas station hot dogs, characterized by their thick leathery skin and two for two bucks price tag, are some of the greatest dirty things a person can eat.
What I am trying to say here is I don’t need to go to a restaurant for a hot dog. A special hot dog, like one wrapped in a pretzel or a foot long on a stick? Sure, why not? But I am not going out of my way to buy something that generally sits in the back of my fridge until they turn despair green.
Unless of course there’s a big to-do about them, like Burger King has stirred up for its new line of grilled hot dogs.
They’re really stressing the grilled bit.
These are not boiled hot dogs. They are not deep fried. They are not braised. Burger King decided that America deserves nothing less than a grilled hot dog. Plus all of the restaurants have grills, so there’s that.
Check out the video atop this post to witness a journey of self discovery for the ages, or possibly a guy hunched down in a van eating hot dogs. Not sure which URL I pasted. Fingers crossed.
For those of you who cannot for whatever reason watch, I give you my thoughts in convenient text and picture form.
For around $1.99 depending on your location, Burger King will sell you a hot dog crafted lovingly by someone that’s not had to put a sausage on a bun for a complete stranger in ages.
It’s a 100 percent beef frank smothered in sweet relish, onions, mustard and ketchup on what is popularly known as a hot dog bun, as it is a bun made for hot dogs.
It’s fine. It’s a hot dog. Somewhere beneath the condiments is a piece of spiced sausage that tastes salty, a bit smoky and ever-so-slightly charred. It’s the sort of hot dog you’d get at a cookout when no one thinks to save you a burger.
Again, it’s fine. Would I make a special trip to Burger King for it? Not after the first one. There’s a gas station down the street with hot rollers that have been seasoned to perfection.
Then there’s the chili cheese dog, which rings up at something like $2.30 or so.
It’s not pretty. It’s so not pretty that I included a roughly 4K close-up of it for you to use as your desktop wallpaper. You are welcome.
If I were to go to a restaurant for a hot dog, this is more along the lines of what I’d been looking for. Something a bit more distinct. Something that says “You’re not just eating a hot dog, you’re eating a OH GOD YOUR TEETH. THEY’RE TEARING ME APART!”
Food should not talk, but if the Burger King chili cheese hot dog could talk, it would preface the screaming bit with a warm, slightly tangy chuckle. It’s a nice chili, the sort of harmless affair I might grab a bowl of on a cold day. Poured relatively neatly atop a passable hot dog and secured with semi-melted cheddar cheese shards, it’s better than sitting at home not eating a chili dog.
I think that’s the main takeaway from Burger King’s new hot dogs, and potentially a bold new slogan. They’re better than not eating hot dogs. Sure, we’ll go with that.
Snacktaku is Kotaku’s take on the wild and wonderful world of eating things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands.