How could you not want to go to an event with the name "Hot Dog Safari"? Eddie Andelman's 19th Annual Hot Dog Safari was held this past Sunday at Suffolk Downs, and it was something I felt I had to experience at least once. The event benefits the Joey Fund.
To say that the event was a madhouse is putting it kindly. Many of the attendees were acting like they hadn't been let out of their houses in years, pushing and shoving and standing in the way of everything (in other words, it was similar to a typical day at Market Basket). I even saw some people wrapping up hot dogs in napkins and stuffing them in bags to take home - I don't know about them, but I was ill with hot dog by the time we left, and there was no way I was going to eat another one for a while.
The booths were set up along one wall, with different restaurants and meat companies offering their wares. For some reason, there were other companies offering hot dogs as well (Long's Jewelers offering Pearl hot dogs?). The longest line was for the Sausage Guy, so we gave that one a pass. We did manage to try about half of the offerings, and like I said, that was more than enough hot dog for me.
The overall winner was the Pearl hot dog, with a really nice snap from the natural casing, a really juicy interior, and a very even blend of spices. Bad Dawg was a close second, but it was overall too salty, throwing the flavor off balance. Fudrucker's also had a good dog with a nice casing and balanced spicing. So after 3 great hot dogs, we were really surprised by Kelley's offering - it was completely tasteless and mushy, but they were offering it on buttered and grilled buns, which kept their line long. Just gross.
There were a few other options besides hot dogs as well. Firefly's barbeque was on hand with pulled pork sandwiches - delicious, but I found a large piece of bone in my first bite, which always turns me off. I picked at the rest, and there were some excellent charred bits in among the softer meat. Harrow's Chicken Pies was also there; I'm not usually a fan of pot pies, but theirs was much thicker and heartier than others I've had, and it was fantastic.
The biggest disappointment of the day? No one was wearing a pith helmet! I go to a safari, I expect someone to be in full safari gear, or at least in a pith helmet. I have to say, I was really let down by this.
So while this was a fun event to go to once, I doubt I'd go back. I mean, the next time I feel the need for a side-by-side hot dog comparison, I'll grab a few friends and fire up the grill.