Friday, October 12, 2012

Smoky Wieners

I've participated in a lot of interesting food and wine events. I've been asked to judge everything from Chili to Mango recipes and lots in between. Yesterday, I added hot dogs to that distinguished list. The Fort Myers Miracle held it's first hot dog taste test and I was there, under the picnic pavilion with a lovely breeze and a few bees. The Miracle is a minor league baseball team in Southwest Florida, affiliated with the Minnesota Twins.

Joining me were other media representatives, Fort Myers Miracle Fans and even some long time employees. We were looking for the best dogs to sell at the park when the season kicks into full gear once again.

I was hoping we would get to sample beer with the franks but only water, lemonade and iced tea were provided; we had to keep our tasting wits about us after all.

This was a bun free affair; except for the ones we were sitting on. Limited condiments were provided. We were instructed to taste the meat on it's own merits; onions and relish can cover almost anything up.

Over the course of an hour, ten trays of freshly cooked hot dogs were brought out. They were cut into small bites and since I was taking the task seriously I took two; one to eat hot, the other to keep for a second try in case I needed to revisit.

Some of the dogs were salty and smoky, others moist and mushy. Some had a nice bronze color, others were pale and sickly looking. The wiener that was a winner to me had a good balance of seasoning, moisture, a mild after taste and a good "snap" to the casing. Unfortunately the votes were not tallied before we left so we don't know what brand took home the blue ribbon, but as soon as I find out, I will pass it on.

After yesterday's event, I don't think I'll ever look at a frank in the same fashion again. And I'm quite sure I wont eat another one until well into 2013. Here's to a successful year for The Miracle, not only on the field but in concessions.

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