Thursday, May 17, 2007

Zack's Redux

A few weeks ago I reported on my hot dog sampling from Zack's Hot Dogs here in the Baltimore area. Last week, something came up that I needed to do an on-camera food review for, and I figured it was a good opportunity to try the other Zack's location, which sits near the Loews Theater over at The Avenue in White Marsh.

So on the way home from a client meeting I swung by the small lunch spot and ordered up the same three dogs I got from the other location: Classic with Kraut, Pork BBQ Dog, and the Baltimore Dog.

The Classic still rocks and is easily my favorite on the menu. Even after sitting in my fridge and getting zapped in the microwave so I wouldn't have to eat cold dogs and kraut the wiener had a nice crunchy snap and meaty, spicy flavor. Nestled on a nice, but not overly large, potato roll and topped with kraut it's a winner.

After the debacle that accompanied my original BBQ Dog experience (a too large amount of huge BBQ chunks and a dog that seemed like an afterthought) this time was an improvement. Sort of. The pork was shredded to a finer extent which made eating much easier and the amount had been reduced to the extent that it seemed like a topping and not the main feature.

Unfortunately, instead of the roll used at the other location, this Zack's spot put the BBQ dog on something more like a hoagie roll – oversized, chewy and with a bit of a crust. In other words, I'd traded in too much BBQ for a loaf of bread. Inspired, yes. Well executed, no.

Last, but not least, I feasted upon the Baltimore Dog. I'm still not sure what grilled bologna has to do with Baltimore but okay. Many reviews of Zack's mention that the dog is "wrapped" in grilled bologna but I have yet to see that. Both times I've had it the grilled slices have been nestled atop the dog, once again pushing the "meat as condiment" envelope.

For whatever reason I liked the Baltimore Dog a little better this time. Maybe it was the fact that the bologna had been grilled longer, giving the edges and peaks a slightly blackened, charred edge that gave it a little crunch. Perhaps it was because I was sampling the dogs and hadn't already wolfed down a complete Classic plus a BBQ Dog. (And I wonder why I looked so fat in our recent baby shower pix!)

Anyway, after a second round of Zack's I can safely say that the Classsic remains my number one recommendation, but the Baltimore Dog is growing on me. I'll save the BBQ for Andy Nelson's.

All this talk of Baltimore and dogs got me thinking what I would put on a Baltimore Dog. Here's what I came up with...

– Package of Esskay Oriole Beef Franks
– Six Pack of Natty Boh
– Old Bay Seasoning
– Rolls and condiments of your choice

Pour enough Natty Boh in a pan for the number of dogs you plan to cook. I used four cans to make two dogs, but probably could have fit another 4 dogs in. Add in about a teaspoon of Old Bay and bring to a boil. Once you reach a boil, put in your dogs, cover and turn off the heat. Wait five minutes, remove the dogs, put them in buns and top accordingly.

Now that is a Baltimore Dog.

Zack's in Parkville


Baltimore Snacker said...

Your post about the Baltimore Dog - the one with the bologna - brings back memories for me. It's actually something I have eaten ever since I was a child.

My mother would often fry up a split hot dog and a slice of bologna in a cast-iron skillet, then throw the roll in open-side down for a few seconds after she took out the meat, and then wrapped the dog in the bologna, stuffed it into the roll and voila! I always liked ketchup but mustard really is the best way to eat it.

This was also the preferred way we ate kosher dogs. As a special treat, we would occasionally go to Attman's on a Sunday morning and load up on dogs, kosher bologna, corned beef, mustard, fish, the works. Lots of hot dogs wrapped bologna in our kitchen for days!

BTW, your Baltimore Dog - the one with the Old Bay - sounds delicious.

Dan said...

Thanks for that info about your own Baltimore Dog! I'd never heard of this before encountering it at Zack's and wish the execution had been as good as the concept.

I'll have to try it the way you described one of these days... that sounds great!

The Hungover Gourmet Baltimore Dog turned out pretty good. I might try it with a kosher frank next time instead of the Esskay Oriole Dogs. A buddy and I were debating the other night if it would make it more Baltimore if you topped it with crab but we weren't sure how that would go over!