It’s impossible to think about the 4th of July without hot dogs. But, beyond throwing a couple on the grill for summer celebrations, New Yorkers steer clear of the “dirty water dogs” peddled around city streets daily. Those dust-stained yellow umbrellas are as much part of our skyline as the empire state building and are an ominous reminder for what they’re selling. However, one NYC hot dog company is making-over franks one all-beef hot dog at a time.
Snap Dog was born in 2011. Keith Dorman was eating a wiener at a German restaurant with his mom on her birthday when he noticed the “snap” of the casing. At the time, other classic American comfort foods like the hamburger, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese were being reimagined and elevated, so Dorman set out to do the same for what he calls the “neglected child” of New York’s cheap eats. He founded Snap Dog a year later, and now it’s expanding in The Bronx.
The Bronx just got its third Snap Dog cart, in time for Independence Day, so here’s what you need to know about the wiener that’s winning over New Yorkers who haven’t had a hot dog in 20 years.
1. They Have the Beef
The company that makes Snap Dog weiners is one of the largest roast beef, corned beef, and pastrami manufacturers in the country. They use top-round and brisket to make the products. These quality cuts come weighing different amounts and they have to trim them to make them all weigh the same so they cook evenly. It’s those trimmings that are used to make Snap Dogs.
2. That Beef Is Seasoned and Smoked
In addition to being 100 percent premium beef, Snap Dogs are made with a propriety spice blend that uses whole spices, rather than extracts. And they are cooked the old-fashioned way in a real smokehouse. The smoking process is costly, as it takes hours upon hours for the dogs to cook, but the alternative is using liquid smoke flavoring like other manufacturers, Dorman says. We didn’t even know that existed!
. 3. That Beef Has Them Written All Over It
To set his all-beef wieners apart from the competition, which advertises beef but sells franks made from mechanically separated and pulverized chicken, bones, blood vessels and other scraps (aka “pink slime”), Dorman decided early on to brand his dogs. “Snap Dog” appears on every official frank using a heating and smoking method with technology that gives each dog a sort of tan spelling out “Snap Dog.”
4. Or Else Don’t Buy It
Imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to retail, it’s the richest form of scammery. At one point a hot dog vendor on Wall Street was using a Snap Dog umbrella to sell tourists non-Snap Dog wieners for $20-$30 causing fights to break out! The company doesn’t know how the vendor got a hold of one of their umbrellas but stresses the importance of looking out for Snap Dog’s brand tan before you buy. The crowds of people clustered around the cart is also a sure tell.
5. Now The Bronx Is Calling
Owner and operator of the first Bronx cart, Mohammed Elkhateb started carrying Snap Dog products on one of his carts at 3006 Third Ave in May. When he saw how much customers liked it he decided to add it to a second cart at 149 Jerome Ave a few weeks later, as well as a brand new one in front of Fordham University. And Dorman informs us more are on the way uptown! Just look out for the bright orange umbrella. For a complete list of all New York locations click here.
6. Ask for the Red Onion Sauce
When you order your Snap Dog, be sure to try the red onion sauce. It’s the most popular topping with New Yorkers. Dorman’s original recipe for the Snap Dog red onion sauce, made from fresh not dried onions, stars smoked paprika to round out the flavor and give it its cool red color.
7. But Don’t Ask for a Standing Store
Snap Dog doesn’t have any plans for a brick and mortar anywhere, anytime soon. There are over 3,000 mobile food vendors on the streets of New York. Their goal is to gain more market shares of the carts and use it as a catalyst to having Snap Dog products in retail stores.
4th of July Promotion
Celebrate Independence Day early with FREE Snap Dogs! Visit the Snap cart on the corner of 14th Street and Fourth Ave at Union Square from 4pm to 6pm today, Thursday, June 30th. Because, again, what’s July 4th without hot dogs?!