Commentary

Early Reviews of BK's Franks: They're Not Exactly Digging It

The reaction to the national rollout of Burger King’s new menu item yesterday was not a universal “hot diggity dog!” On one front, 7-Eleven tweeted “in the great hot dog war, there can only be one weiner” after issuing a Hot Dog Bill of Rights to the “ladies and gentlemen of the press and social mediasphere” on Monday. 

On another flank, self-appointed food agitators tried to rouse the social-media rabble with grouses such as “How much is Burger King paying people to eat those hot dogs?” Hadley Malcolm reports for USA Today.

“Burger King launched two grilled hot dogs on its menu Tuesday, which the company has been touting as a reallybigdeal over the last few weeks,” Malcolm writes. “Some customers don't understand why a fast food giant that already rules one kingdom needs to take over another, though.”

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A graphic accompanying Malcolm’s piece shows a 7-Eleven tweet from yesterday afternoon that asks: “Kings selling hot dogs? What's next, dictators selling Slurpees? LOLOLOL”

“Notably, it doesn’t appear that Burger King has responded to 7-Eleven’s repeated barbs at the addition of hot dogs to its menu,” reportsFortune’s Benjamin Snyder, who also notes that it did not respond to his request for comment either.

Meanwhile, over at Wired, Jennifer Chausee offers us the SEO-friendly “The Most Detailed Analysis of Burger King Selling Hot Dogs You’ll Ever Read.” 

Here’s the gist of it: “It’s for the same reason your grandma once fed you boiled hot dogs in your macaroni: economics. If your grandma was anything like mine, she probably had half a freezer full of cheap, filling, protein-rich frankfurters ‘just in case.’ Turns out, Burger King has access to its own secret stash of sausages. If it can strike up just enough nostalgia to get you to buy them, hot dogs could make Burger King, well, the king of something else, too.”

(Speaking of nostalgia, this is not your grandfather’s Wired.) 

Meanwhile, from South Florida to Kalamazoo, Mich., and environs, intrepid ladies and gentlemen of the press bit at all the hoopla and were out there taste-tasting the “two different varieties: Classic, which consists of ketchup, mustard, relish, and chopped onions,” as MLive’s Edward Pevos reports. “The second choice is Chili Cheese, which has chili and cheddar cheese.”

In the Sunshine State, Phillip Valys opines that the quality of Classic “hovers somewhere above a gas-station dog but below a ballpark frank.” As for the Chili Cheese: “Freed from its Burger King paper prison, the hot dog appeared to be covered in a slurry of ground beef and cheddar. A hunk of cheese had congealed in one corner of the dog, forming an orange blanket.” Not to mention, the “long, thin discoloration, like buffed leather, running down the edge of the hot dog. Freezer burn?”

Suffice to say that he prefers the gourmet-like dogs at Hot Dog Heaven in Fort Lauderdale.

Mike Fahey’s considered judgment for Kotaku.com? “They're Fine I Guess, Whatever,” the headline tells us. And that Chili Cheese version fared a bit better in his hands than it did in Valys’. Slightly.

“Food should not talk, but if the Burger King Chili Cheese hot dog could talk, it would preface the screaming bit with a warm, slightly tangy chuckle. It’s a nice chili, the sort of harmless affair I might grab a bowl of on a cold day. Poured relatively neatly atop a passable hot dog and secured with semi-melted cheddar cheese shards, it’s better than sitting at home not eating a chili dog.”

Meanwhile, the president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council tells Fox Business’ Jade Scipioni that he’s not surprised by Burger King getting into the game since Americans scarf down more than 20 billion hot dogs every year, give or take.

“We’ve seen several different brands experiment with hot dogs in recent years from Pizza Hut’s hot dog stuffed crust pizza to hot dog flavored Pringles, so it’s not too surprising to see that they added it to the menu,” says Eric Mittenthal.

In other words, when it comes combining foods that we probably shouldn’t be eating but have a hard time resisting, somebody’s got us covered. To the point that the said National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has a YouTube video on its home page featuring Bernard Demczuk of George Washington University instructing us on “How to Properly Eat a Chili Dog.”

As far as that phrase “hot diggity dog” goes, which a certain editor put in my mind way too early this morning, now it’s in your head.

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