Sunday, September 30, 2012
The Rhode Island "New York System Hot Wiener"
So I was out at the Big E today and weren't I tickled pink to come across a Rhode Island specialty that is a kissing cousin to my beloved Capital Region style hot dog. Here we have the "New York System Wiener." The particular example that I enjoyed was from Sam's New York System out of North Providence, RI (located in the Rhode Island state building at the fair).
Much like our beloved mini-dogs from Hot Dog Charlies or Famous Lunch the RI hot wieners were developed by those lovely Greeks who came to America and opened their eateries during the first half of the 20th century. In Rhode Island (a century ago) hot dogs were so heavily associated with New York that the local variation acquired the tag line "New York System."
The sausage is small (not quite as small as our dinky dogs) i.e., a titch thinner/shorter than your workaday frank. It is a pork blend which tastes a bit different than our usual all-beef jobbers but I am always open to pork meat so this is a welcome variation. The toppings are the expected triumvirate of meat sauce/onion/mustard. The meat sauce is less assertively flavored than what you would find at Famous or Gus'. It kind of reminds me of Hot Dog Charlies a little but it is a shade darker and the crumb of the beef is larger. Also, they sprinkle quite a bit of celery salt on top of the finished dog. The bun is nice and steamed, I can't actually remember if it was New England style or not...
I thought the hot wiener was grand. Sam's was selling them for 2 bucks each which is about as cheap a food item as you are going to get at the Big E and they were a great walking around snack. I have always been of the mind that a good hot dog should be something less than a meal but something more than a snack. I think three local dinky dogs is about the right amount to take the edge off the hunger of a big ogre like myself. Maybe two RI hot wieners is about the right dose.
In any event -- if you are ever abroad in the strange land of New England and you find yourself jonesing for a back-home hot dog fix, then the New York system hot wiener will do you just fine. My only regret is that I didn't have a coffee milk to wash down my wieners as I heard afterwards that this is an integral part of the experience. Mayhaps next year...
Anyhow, I consumed a crap-ton more fair food during my Big E visit. I shall probably post more about the rest of my engorgement soon.