I've always been curious about Kobe beef dogs; how they would taste and whether or not I would like them any better than a regular beef dog. But not so curious that I would travel to New York to sample one. Or pay the inflated price. Once I paid $15.00 for a pound of Lobel's franks. This was about 8 years ago. They cost so much because the beef used is prime. A very good dog, but not a standout. In fact, I compared it next to a Niman Ranch ($8.99 per lb) and a Nathan's natural casing frank. My preference was 1) Nathan's 2) Lobel's 3) Niman Ranch. The 2 priccier dogs were good, but not worth the price.
I figured the same would be true of a Kobe beef dog. I've read opinions ranging from "the best dog I've ever had" to "overated" and "nothing special". Some have said that the dog was mushy, perhaps due to the use of high quality beef that has a higher marbling/fat content. Still, I wanted to sample one for myself. I found a restaurant about 4 or 5 miles from home that offers one for about $20.00. I had been holding off but finally decided that it would be worth the high price just to satisfy my curiosity. I planned to go soon.
Yesterday I happenned to be in a King's supermarket when I came across a package in the deli section containing 2 Kobe Beef hot dogs. The cost was $7.99 per pound. The total weight for 2 dogs was .65 lbs and the cost was $5.19. That translates to about $2.60 for a fat dog slightly bigger than a 4 to a lb. I scoffed them up.
I prepared one last night. I happenned to have an 8 to a lb natural casing Best frank left in the freezer that I defrosted for the sake of comparison. Both dogs were simmerred in hot (not boiling) water and heated on low heat in a skillet.
The Kobe beef frank had a tough casing that was definitely from a hog or pig intestine. Usually thicker dogs like this need a tougher casing while smaller dogs (like the Best) use a sheep or lamb casing. I've had hog casings before, but the one on the Kobe frank was much too tough. I actually would have preferred a skinless dog to one with a casing this tough. And I am a big fan of dogs with a casing.
The dog had a decent consistency. It wasn't mushy as some have described a Kobe dog. Then again there is more than one company that makes these type of dogs. There was no info on the label except the price, weight, that it was a Kobe beef frank and that it came from King's. As for flavor, it was ok, but very average. Although not kosher, it was quite salty like a kosher dog. Because of the size, it looked like a knockwurst or "special". Tasted like a straightforward salty beef dog with little complexity. Medium to slightly higher than average spice level for an Eastern U.S. Beef dog.
The Best's dog was much better. Better casing, better size, better flavor,and a better, more complex spicing. It tasted even better than it usually does because it was compared to a dog that wasn't nearly as good.
In my opinion Kobe dogs are overated and not worth the high price. At least the Kobe dog I had. The spicing and recipe is more important than the meat mixture, although good beef dogs do use quality cuts of beef. Best uses a mix of choice and lean beef. Sabrett, Hebrew National, Usinger's, Boars Head, and others also use quality beef.
I had the second dog just before posting here. I simmerred it in water again, but this time I put it on the grill in the yard. It tasted the same as last night. These dogs are fairly juicy, and while I think they are nothing special, they're ok and some may like them.
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