Neal Fraser Is Here To Promise You 'An Elevated Wiener Experience'

There are not many (any?) food items that bring as many negative connotations as the hot dog. The hot dog! Its mere mention makes some of us shiver. That flimsy, tube-shaped sorry excuse for meat — often plucked out of some sort of mystery water before making its way into a nondescript bun and doused with cheap ketchup.

Neal Fraser is here to change these perceptions. The Los Angeles chef is the man behind BLD, the L.A. restaurant known for quick, simple fare without the pretense that was called the "most useful restaurant of our time" by Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold. Fraser's newest project is Fritzi Dog, an artisanal dog joint serving "delicious dogs without all the junk." This is the reason we caught up with him to discuss all things wiener.

What is one thing that all people need to know about cooking hot dogs?

Cook them slow and steady! But first bring the dogs up to room temperature before you cook them. Allow them to warm up on the counter before cooking, which ensures that they take less time to cook. By cooking them slowly, you retain the internal moisture — which makes for a juicer hot dog.

What does the future hold for the hot dog?

The quality of a hot dog is going to change. It is going to shed a past full of trim and nitrates and start to be made with prime cuts. We want a "real" meat hot dog, not just a lot of fillers, scrap and nitrates. This is the same transition that has happened with burgers over the past few years.

Will hot dogs ever be looked at as more than "ballpark food" by most people?

I think so. There is definitely room for an elevated wiener experience. Hopefully, after eating a Fritzi Dog, you will feel the difference between a ballpark dog and ours. The quality of the meat counts.

What is the most unusual topping you've seen on hot dogs?


What is an underrated or unheard of topping that is awesome?

Wasabi peas, crushed.

What is the best hot dog you have ever had?

A Fritzi dog, of course! Specifically, the Bird Dog — which has a pretzel bun and mustard. It is made with turkey and duck co-mingled with mesquite for a spicy, savory flavor.

What are your opinions on veggie dogs?

If you want a veggie dog, it should be a full vegetable, not something that looks like meat. We use an organic carrot whittled into the shape of a hot dog and cook it slow and low with spices and vinegar.

Any exciting new items coming to Fritzi Dog you can tell us about?

We just launched a new menu and our Memphis BBQ Dog is incredible. It is a Porker Dog (juicy pork and French spices with a hint of curry) with BBQ aioli, peppers and crushed BBQ chips. Another interesting one is the Tokyo Dog (also a Porker Dog) with wasabi aioli, wasabi peas, Sriracha ketchup and nori strips. Both are great combos.

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