For the last two years, I’ve had the luxury to sample a bountiful variety of hot dogs and bratwursts during my time covering all kinds of high school, college and professional sporting events. I would often purchase one of these because my schedule for the day left me with little time to step away and grab a bite to eat. Through these many encounters, I developed a hierarchy of the best of the wursts. I was even able to break it down into a small school and large school division because the University of Minnesota Duluth has more resources to devote to their flavorful franks than say Carlton High School.
With this constantly evolving hot dog hierarchy, I was determined to write a newspaper article about my close encounters of the wurst kind. That all ended when I was laid off, but now I am free to run amok on this blog talking about the various hot dogs that have captured my attention. Rick Weegman, a sports writer at the Duluth News Tribune and former coworker of mine, would often ask me how the “Dog Blog” was coming along so the title of this post is a shout out to Mr. Weegman and his contributions to my world of wursts.
My first review is the Wild Dog, which can be had at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. Named for the arena’s chief tenant–the Minnesota Wild–the hot dog has one thing going for it that 99% of other dogs out there do not and that is size…
This may not sound good, but when I was handed the Wild Dog the first thing that I thought was of Butterfest in Sparta, WI and the carnival because that is where I was introduced to the concept of the footlong hot dog. Well this thing came in just shy of a foot and yes I measured. The hot dog itself had a healthy thickness, was not undercooked in the middle and the accompanying bun did not drown the hot dog. The condiments available were mustard, ketchup and relish, which meets the requirements of standard. It took me 3:59 to eat the Wild Dog and it was very consistent throughout. The bun itself was an appropriate size–not too long and the cutaway for the hot dog was not too deep. The price was also solid. At $4.50, it was actually a deal when its full size was taken into account. At the University of Minnesota Duluth, you can pay up to $4 for a hot dog half the size.
What it did lack was spice. What do I mean by this? While the Wild Dog was solid on many fronts, it did little to set itself apart from the best of convenience store roller dogs. I could actually argue that in my time I have tasted hot dogs that have come straight off the roller rack that have tasted better and had more spice. Another setback was that the sheer size of the hot dog was almost too much for the bun to handle. When the concession stand operator handed me the Wild Dog, the bun cracked in half under its enormous weight. Could this have been a faulty bun? Maybe, but a faulty bun is a reflection upon the hot dog.
All in all, this was a solid hot dog. It did not crack the top three for hot dogs in either the small school or large school (the rankings post will come later) division, but it was a solid newcomer to my palette. This would receive a 6.5/10 on my rating scale.