Welcome to the TVWGG Hot Dog Taste-Off!
Hey there hot dog fans! Summer is approaching and that means it’s hot dog grilling season!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be putting a bunch of hot dogs to the test and tell you which one is the best! Inspired by Slap Yo’ Daddy’s application of KCBS judging to fast food burgers, we’ve decided to do the same for that beloved summertime favorite, the hot dog.
We’ll organize the dogs into divisions and grill them together for the same amount of time on the same gas grill. Each dog will be judged using the 2014 KCBS scoring system for appearance, taste, and tenderness/texture. Hot dogs will be sampled plain, without buns or condiments. Judging will be conducted by me and my wife, Julie.
To simplify and standardize the taste-off, we’re limiting the competition to all-beef hot dogs of standard length (not bun length) weighing about 2 ounces each. All hot dogs are purchased at supermarkets in San Jose, CA.
First up: The Big Brand Basic Division
This division consists of basic beef franks from the heavy hitters of corporate hot dogdom:
- Oscar Mayer (Kraft): $2.98
- Ball Park (Hillshire): $2.98
- Farmer John (Clougherty/Hormel): $3.64
(Note that in these photos, the hot dogs are always shown in the order listed above.)
The hot dogs were grilled together and served to the judges. There were some obvious differences in the way each brand grilled up. It should also be said that the front edge of the grill may run a bit hotter than the back.
Once the hot dogs were grilled but not overly cooked, they were brought indoors and immediately judged on appearance, then sampled and judged on taste and tenderness/texture.
Oscar Mayer plowed-under Farmer John by a margin of 2.3 points and sent Ball Park to the showers with a commanding 8.6 point victory.
Here are the weighted scores:
- Oscar Mayer: 66.8572
- Ball Park: 58.2856
- Farmer John: 64.5828
Judges’ Comment Cards
- Oscar Mayer: Nice sheen and color; balanced salty/smoky flavor; snappy exterior, good interior texture
- Ball Park: Tastes like bologna; too soft; spongy texture
- Farmer John: Good browning; nice smoky flavor
So Oscar Mayer is the winner of the Big Brand Basic Division! Stay tuned for our next division contest: The Big Brand Premium Division.