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.
I ask because in my experience, only the hardest of hardcore fans knows that Weber makes built-in gas grills for outdoor kitchens and grilling islands.
Two models are offered in the Summit line: the S-460 4-burner and S-660 6-burner. Both grills come with infrared rotisserie, Sear Station burner, and a smoke box with dedicated burner as standard equipment. Both come in propane and natural gas versions.
So if you’re about to embark on an outdoor kitchen project this summer, consider including a Weber built-in gas grill in your plans. Your investment in Weber quality will pay dividends for years to come!
Weber publishes an annual GrillWatch survey in which they hire a market research firm to uncover the latest trends in grilling. This year they polled people on gender differences about grilling.
The following is an excerpt from the survey. Do you find any of these results surprising?
Confidence: Thirty-one percent of women have more confidence in cooking indoors, compared to 14 percent of men, while 30 percent of male grill owners are more confident in grilling outside, compared to 15 percent of women.
Confidence Part 2: One-third of male grill owners (34 percent) state that they are a better griller than most people, whereas only 17 percent of women agree with that statement.
Boys Like Their Toys: Like collecting cars, men tend to acquire multiple grills more so than women. Thirty-five percent of men are more apt to have two or more grills than women (25 percent).
Dress for Success: Male grillers are more likely than women to own a number of accessories, including grill covers (53 percent vs. 47 percent), smoker chips (18 percent vs. 13 percent), and rotisseries (17 percent vs. 12 percent). Women rule with tongs (79 percent vs. 69 percent), spatulas (62 percent vs. 46 percent) and vegetable baskets (21 percent vs. 16 percent).
Gather ‘Round the Grill: Men (33 percent) more so than women (26 percent) agree that it is “extremely important” to have the grill when entertaining family and friends
Thanks Dad!: When it comes to learning how to grill, 59 percent of U.S. grillers teach themselves, but one-third also learn from their fathers (34 percent) and 15 percent from a spouse. Inside cooking is typically taught by mothers (56 percent) or self-taught (45 percent).
I’ll be posting all about Weber gas grills here. Recipes, operating tips, maintenance and repair info, examples of restorations…if it has to do with Weber gassers, you’ll find it here!
Please remember to join the discussion about gas grills at The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board. We have several forums dedicated to grilling and Weber gas grills, and don’t forget our Photo Gallery where you’ll find lots of great grilling ideas from Weber fans like you!