It is widely accepted that burgers are the “in thing” and have been growing in popularity over the last 3 years. Burgers have become a major trend in the UK and like many trends to reach our shored much of the inspiration has come from our oversea friends in American. London’s Best Burger has seen the evolution of burgers in the heart of the Capital. When we asked London’s Best Burger why they think the popularity of burgers has grown in the last 5 years they replied “Burgers, bring people together“.
The England’s Best Burger 2014 creator Ollie Anstee states that “the growth in popularity of burgers and the whole “Low n Slow” BBQ thing in the UK is absolutely fantastic. Long may it continue!“
Although burgers are at the peek of their popularity with multiple new burger restaurants opening every year in every city in the UK, the latest trend to make its debut appearance on our shores is the new concept of hot dogs! Splendid Sausage Co. from Manchester are at the forefront of the hotdog movement and when we got in touch with them to discuss the increase in hot dogs popularity over the past 3-5 years and how the hot dog has changed or evolved within the UK they were happy to give their views.
1. “The Dog”
The hot dog has always been much more of an American than British food, a staple of backyard BBQs and county fairs. A 4th July tradition. While we have embraced the burger we’ve taken a little more time to warm to the hot dog. Looking back when people think hot dog, they think of a tough tube filled with the pieces of meat the butcher couldn’t use anywhere else. Arseholes and eyelids if you will. Thankfully perceptions are changing and people are beginning to see a hot dog as a viable alternative to a burger. They’re no longer the cheap wiener you’d get out of a can, they’re no longer so processed they can sit unrefrigerated on supermarket shelves for months on end. They’re made with love and care with prime cuts of meat in natural rather than artificial casings with great texture and subtle flavours. The meat content is high and if cooked correctly – slightly slowly over a low to medium heat with a bit of care and attention – then all the juices, all the goodness will stay right there within the casing, none of it is lost in the cooking process meaning the flavour you can get from even a plain sausage can be explosive. Once you add complimentary or contrasting toppings to this then, like with a burger, you can end up with a great tasting dish.
2. “The Toppings”
At a BBQ I’ve always chosen the sausage in a bun over the burger, yet have always loved what people do with burgers, the innovative toppings and sauces. Look at some of the burger creations we regularly see from Almost Famous and Solita, five years ago you’d be lucky to get an extra piece of cheese or bacon, maybe some pineapple or avocado if the place was feeling adventurous. Now they have everything on them, from flat iron steak and bacon three ways to soft shell crab and monster munch yet the hot dog until recently has been left by the wayside, a few onions, maybe a bit of chilli if you’re lucky, but things are changing, people are realising the dog is right up there with the burger, so much can be done with them.
3. “The Possibilities”
When we set up The Splendid Sausage Company we wanted to push the evolution of the hot dog even further. The Great British banger has been around for centuries and is a wonderful food. There is so much you can do with it, almost every type of meat works as a sausage, there are so many flavours you can use to further enhance them within the sausage, before you even come to the toppings. We love that we can use the flavours of different sausages with different toppings, it makes for something so much more exciting. For one of our dogs we take a beef and horseradish sausage, topped with a heap of slow braised beef pulled down into gravy, red cabbage, cauliflower cheese, mini roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings and even more gravy. It makes a perfect Sunday dinner.
4. “A Splendid Sausage”
We use slightly thinner than usual sausages, specially made in lamb rather than sheep casings, it means we can cook the sausage from scratch much quicker (as with a butcher’s sausage you can’t leave them rolling about on the grill top or sat in a bain marie as you can with the pre smoked dogs that you usually get on hotdogs) yet with the length of them we still get as much, if not more, meat than most burgers around. It also means we can play with the flavours within the sausage itself which is where I think the hot dog will go in the future. Yes there will always be fans of the traditional pre smoked wiener dogs but more and more people will see what can be done with the sausage, similar to but of a much higher quality than the one they’ve been eating since they were kids, a hot dog bun and some innovative toppings and it might not be too long before the hot dog is nipping on the coat tails of the all conquering burger.
Londons Best Burger – http://www.londonsbestburgers.com
Ollie Anstee – http://www.gogmagoghills.com
Splendid Sausage Co. – http://www.splendidsausages.com