Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Place: Wienerschnitzel
Lunch: 100% Angus chili dog, Sea dog, Pepsi

Yes, Wienerschnitzel has a fish dog now. The picture you're drawing in your head is truly frightening.'s just a long strip of battered deep fried cod served in a hot dog bun with lettuce and tartar sauce. It's quite "der"licious, just as the advertising says.

Wienerschnitzel has jumped on the "Angus" beef bandwagon. Why not...almost all of the hamburger chains have.
The new dogs replaced the "100% beef" dogs option that used to be there. They're a buck premium over the regular dogs, and they're much larger than the all-beef dogs they replaced. They're easily the best dogs Wienerschnitzel has ever offered. Well worth the upgrade.

Then there's Eisenberg hot dogs, which I saw at a theatre concession stand are advertising that they're "Angus" AND "Sirloin".

It's gotten completely ridiculous.

So what's the deal here?

"Angus" refers to a breed of hornless cattle that the American Angus Association promotes as having beef of a higher quality. To be certifed as "certified Angus beef", the beef itself has to meet certain criteria. As far as I can tell, there's nothing special about raising or processing practices of said cattle, unlike organic beef. It's just supposedly better beef.

Some regional chains have been using it for years. Back Yard Burgers and Arctic Circle...who use it in everything, even the cheap small hamburgers...are such examples.

A few years ago when Burger King and McDonald's were beating each other up in a dollar menu war, Hardee's abandoned their entire after-breakfast menu in favor of an Angus beef line of burgers called "Thickburgers".
It may well have saved the Hardee's brand from extinction. Sister chain Carl's Jr went to Angus beef in their "Six Dollar" line.

Success breeds contempt. Burger King rolled out their own Angus offerings (which they've apparently discontinued in favor of their "steakhouse" line), and now McDonald's even has a line. "Angus" has become the darling catch phrase of modern fast food.

It's not just Hardee's/Carl's Jr though. A whole bunch of former regional chains are making national strides by expanding into strip mall space. If you don't have a Fatburger, Five Guys, or Smashburger near you, look for one soon. The traditional players are trying to keep up with the Jonses, as it were.

I can't decipher any difference in taste of the pure patties, and I find nothing out there suggesting Angus or Sirloin patties are any more healthy than anything else out there. Flavor tends to come down to seasoning and cooking practices (ie. 'fried' vs 'charbroiled'). It's ground beef, for crying out loud. Sure it's dressed up...often in better buns with red onions and maybe premium pickles over the regular offerings, but it's really just flashy marketing to identify an alleged 'premium' product.

Then there's Jack in the Box, who are marketing "Sirloin" burgers. Jack in the Box made fun of "Angus" burgers in a couple of commercials that sort of implied "Angus" had something in common with "Anus". Carl's Jr even tried to sue them over it, which just made it funnier.

It all still comes down to taste for me. The Hardee's/Carl's Jr products are pretty good. The McDonald's "Angus" burgers are absolutely dreadful...WAY too heavily seasoned.

I'll take an "Original Freddy" at Freddy's Frozen Custard over all of them any day of the week. And I don't recall seeing anything "Angus" anywhere on the menu board.

As for the hot dogs, Eisenberg claims their product is made with "100% Black Angus sirloin steak and beef cuts" with a "unique recipe of Worcestershire steak seasoning and the Black Angus Franks are then cooked in smokehouses; the old fashioned way." They claim their dogs "do not contain extenders and meat substitutes such as phosphates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), potato starch, and milk solids."

I suppose I should have tried one.

Oh well. How many hot dogs can one eat in a couple of days, anyway?

Don't answer that.