Americana: What a Hot Dog Should Taste Like


Sean Kenniff
Aliza Eliazarov
Charcutier Fred Maurer's Loaded Hot Dog from Dickson's Farmstand Meats
Charcutier Fred Maurer's Loaded Hot Dog from Dickson's Farmstand Meats

It's easy for almost any New Yorker to rattle off dozens of joints to pick up a good hotdog. (Team StarChefs named 56 without using Google.) But when you come across a truly transcendent dog, all the others fade away, like a salty summer daydream. And proclaiming the best is every New Yorker’s birthright, but it can also be a point of contention, and obsession. The hotdog at Dickson's Farmstand Meats in Chelsea Market is worthy of obsessive, rocking-in-a-corner thoughts.

“On a busy summer Saturday we'll sell 300-plus dogs. A typical batch is 100 pounds and makes 700 to 800 dogs,” says Chef Fred Maurer, who runs the charcuterie program at Dickson's. “We tend to sell out before I can smoke the next week's batch.”

Making Dickson’s dog is a three- to four-day process. The basic ingredients are lean beef (75 percent), pork fat (25 percent), seasoning (garlic and mustard powders, paprika, ground coriander, white pepper), and lamb casing—“for better snap,” Maurer says. The basic method consists of progressively grinding the meat to a paste, whipping, chilling overnight, hanging to form a pellicle, and smoking for three hours. “We hot smoke over apple and hickory in our Southern Pride smoker for three hours total, at 170°F for the first two hours, and 150 for the last. It helps to add more smoke without over-cooking.”

The dogs sell for a $5 a pop, with the beef coming from Wrighteous Organics and the pork from Sir William Angus upstate. “It tastes like exactly what you want in a hot dog. It reminds me of my childhood. It’s Americana! With the Martin's potato roll, it's the perfect dog.” Contributing to a point of contention, Maurer adds, “but aside from ours, my favorite is a dirty water dog, classic with ketchup and mustard.”


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