It might seem like sacrilege to sell hot dogs that are any shape but oblong. However, one enterprising New Jersey butcher shop claims to be reinventing the frankfurter with its new line of flat, round hot dogs, which it says can better retain condiments and reduces the likelihood of choking.
“We set out to improve the hot dog,” Rastelli’s told Fox News of the flat frankfurter, which they created in response to soaring customer demand for pre-cut dogs.
“Our customers were accustomed to slicing their hot dog down the middle before grilling to increase surface area for caramelization and flavor,” the meat merchant said of the squat dogs, which cost $18 for eight 3-oz patties online. “So when the really busy moms and dads asked if we had any pre-sliced hot dogs, we started thinking.”
In accordance, Rastelli’s, which also delivers meat nationwide, churned out a flat patty that looks like a hamburger and wouldn’t fit in hot dog buns. However, just as square watermelons make for easier storage, they felt the disc-like design allowed for more space to hold different sauces like a condiment canvas, rather than the traditional sausage link shape, from which toppings can easily tumble.
The company also dispensed with the traditional casings, which they thought presented a choking hazard for children.
In addition, the round hot dog purportedly saves time at the grocery store as “now we only have to buy one type of bun when we BBQ,” insisted Rastelli’s.
However, the meat plugs divided foodies, with some thinking they had changed the ballpark frank as we know it.
“The meat is clearly high quality, and the increased surface area invites more a) sweet char flavor and b) space for toppings,” fawned Food and Wine Magazine’s senior editor Maria Yagoda in a recent review of the circular sausages. And while they don’t have the “crisp, snappy bite” of a standard frank, “the softness of the round dog offers a different kind of satisfaction,” she added.
However, traditionalist sausage supporters thought these wide wieners were literal “baloney.”
Eric Mittenthal, the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council president, seconded their sentiment in a statement to Fox. “It’s great that someone has developed a marketing tool for another way to enjoy hot dogs,” he said. “But the flat hot dogs are also known as bologna.”
However, Rastelli’s maintains that its creation does have some notable differences to bologna, including the fact that they chop — rather than emulsify or liquefy — its mixed Angus beef and pork fillings as is the case with its sandwich stuffing counterpart, Food and Wine reported. The pork purveyor also swaddles the product in collagen casing and netting so it retains its shape.
And it appears they’re doing something right: the round hot dogs are out of stock.