Just in time for the Fourth (and in case the Nathan's contest gave you a hankering), Jason Perlow at Off the Broiler brings us The Great Off the Broiler Hot Dog Tasting of 2007. Updating his oeuvre of 2004 for which he tasted fourteen hot dog varieties, Perlow expands his sampling pool to thirty-two different dogs. All we can add is, better you than us, buddy. His scoring system is quite thorough:
Spicyness scores were rated on a 1-5 scale, although this scale was not a qualitative rating but only a general feeling about the intensity of the seasoning. In some cases, a lower or average score could work better for that particular dog. Texture was rated as Soft (1-2), Medium (3) or Firm (4-5). In general, Firm was usually better although again this could be a bias of this particular group. Fattiness/Greasiness was rated Low (1-2), Medium (3) or High (4-5) and although less greasy dogs were frequently assumed better there are a few notable exceptions–the maxim of “fat is flavor” was discussed at several points, as well as the fact that the qualities of being “juicy” and “greasy” are only shades of interpretation apart. Saltiness again is not a qualitative rating but a general sense of the strength of that quality.
The overall subjective score, which was recorded on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfection and 1 being inedible or disgusting, is the one qualitative number we imposed. This is how we actually feel about the dog – how much we actually enjoyed eating it. Some of us were tougher than others, but as a relative number to the other samples consumed we feel it is fairly reliable.
And the winners? Hebrew National was a strong performer in the Kosher dog category, while Nathan's rocked the all-beef crew. The big surprise of the day was Pathmark’s skinless “Bigger than the Bun” brand. For full results, take a look at the tasting results data sheet.
Also for your enjoyment, a slideshow, a podcast, and video of the event.