The ‘Dogs Are In A Pickle
The Charleston RiverDogs already have a reputation as one of the foremost frankfurter purveyors in all of Minor League Baseball.
The Class A Yankees affiliate offers dozens of dogs at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark, from the “Asian Invasion” (soy sauce, wasabi, crunchy chow mein noodles) to the “Dixie Dog” (chili and pimento cheese) to the signature “RiverDog” (cole slaw and pickled okra). And let’s not forget the gargantuan “Homewrecker”, which gained national prominence after “Man vs. Food” host Adam Richman gave it a try.
But yesterday the club announced what is perhaps their most fantastical hot
dog creation yet, an unprecedented concoction that is sure to polarize the American populace.
Your eyes do not deceive you. This is a hot dog with a hollowed-out pickle for a bun, held together by a layer of cole slaw. It will be served at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark in 2010, now destined to go down in history as “the Year of the Pickle Dog”.
The man responsible for this creation is John Schumacher, who oversees the food and beverage departments of the five Minor League teams owned by the Goldklang Group (of which the RiverDogs are one).
Schumacher explained that the Pickle Dog was inspired by the iconic Chicago-style hot dog, which includes pickles among its wide array of toppings.
“We’re always willing to beg, borrow and steal from whatever’s out there; that’s how we generally get our inspiration,” he said.
So if the Chicago Dog could include pickles on a hot dog, why couldn’t the RiverDogs put a hot dog in one? The difference goes far beyond semantics, however.
“We experimented for about a month and a half, and we kept saying ‘We need a bigger pickle’” said Schumacher, noting that pickles of insufficient size led to the hot dog slipping out of its briny bun upon the first bite. “A bigger pickle, that’s the answer to everything.”
An appropriately proportioned dill variety was eventually obtained — jumbo-sized specimens that are cut in half, cored, and slathered in slaw. Schumacher says that this results in a “perfect boat”, with the slaw’s adhesive properties helping to keep the meat in place.
“A secondary benefit of the slaw is that, in an unexplainable twist, people in the south just love cole slaw on their hot dogs. In this town, it’s a perfect fit,” he noted.
The team is happy with the finished product, to the point where RiverDogs’ concession workers will be sporting shirts this season that read “Man Bites Pickle Dog” (an alternate name for the product, the “Dill Dog”, was briefly considered and wisely rejected).
And if Charlestonians pick the pickle at a prodigious pace, more could be in store.
“If the Pickle Dog gets into Phase Two, then we’ll deep fry the whole thing,” said Schumacher, describing a food product that will be heavenly for some, indescribably nightmarish for others.
Either way, the RiverDogs’ craving to create culinary curiosities will continue.
“We’re always looking to try something new, and we’re certainly not going to stop with the pickle,” said Schumacher.
You’ve been warned, America.