hotdogstock.jpg
While hot dogs are surely the best-known and most beloved of the thousands of sausage varieties classified by pork lovers, many artisan butchers are happy

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Rain Shadow Meats Debuts a Hot Dog for the Holidays

hotdogstock.jpg
While hot dogs are surely the best-known and most beloved of the thousands of sausage varieties classified by pork lovers, many artisan butchers are happy to cede the genre to industrial processors. Hot dogs are hard to make, and lots of people, Rain Shadow Meats' Russ Flint included, don't like them.

"From my perspective, you're either a hot-dog fan or you're not," Flint says. "I'm not."

Flint overcame his innate dislike of hot dogs to create his own version of the backyard-grill staple in time for July Fourth cookouts. He introduced his hot dogs last week. "Anytime you're emulsifying anything, it can be hard," Flint says. "I don't want to put something mediocre in my case."

Flint's hot dogs are made with pork, beef, and ham. "We added ham for smokiness," he explains. The dogs are seasoned with paprika, garlic, and onion and stuffed in a lamb casing, which creates a lumpier sausage than the smooth collagen casing used for ballpark franks.

"They're handmade, so they're all different," Flint says.

Flint isn't the first artisan butcher to venture into hot-dog territory: San Francisco's 4505 Meats serves a widely praised wiener. But hot dogs are considerably harder to craft than hamburgers, which many chefs think accounts for their not appearing on more restaurant menus. When Travel & Leisure last year compiled a list of the nation's greatest hot dogs, most were selected on the basis of their toppings.

The hot dogs at Rain Shadow Meats are "selling pretty well," but Flint says they haven't made him a hot-dog believer.

"It's not something I'd eat every day," he says.

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