(“Roll Call” is a running series of posts written by different hot dog fanatics that will rate different types of store bought hot dogs. The dogs will be rated on a scale of 1-5 to better understand how we felt about the dog. The categories are; snap, taste, condimentability — how well they go with hot dog condiments, size, and bang for your bite. A new post will appear whenever a new variable is tested.)

Episode 1:  Aidell’s Pineapple Paradise, An Uncured Chicken Hot Dog


Hot dog purists believe it is a sign of disrespect in hot dog culture to dress a dog in certain accompaniments, to them putting ketchup on a frankfurter it is like putting bar-b-que sauce on an expensive slab of filet mignon.

I do not count myself a hot dog purist. I love hot dogs and believe they should be given more respect in culinary circles, but I also think that yelling at someone for putting some Heinz on their wiener is a waste of breath.

A hot dog it is a culinary blank canvass. Alleged hot dog higher brows may be nonplussed by this sentiment, but I won’t take that personally.

Today’s hot dog in question is not what you’d call a regular dog. Some fussbudgets would go as far as to say they wouldn’t consider it a hot dog at all. But it says hot dog on the package so I gave it a shot. It also did say, “Contains Real Fruit & Fruit Juice” as well, and even though that made me question its integrity, I overcame that prejudice and threw it in the bag.

Since this series is just an allegory calling for a just and honest society, I must admit I also bought some trusty Hebrew Nationals just in case the Paradises didn’t taste good. They were never called out of the bullpen as the unproven uncured chicken dogs did just fine.

I grilled three hoping to try one with just mustard, one with mustard, kraut, relish, and jalapenos (my go to dressing), and one with mustard, ketchup, relish, and slaw. All three dogs went on a Martin’s Potato Hot Dog Roll.

Snap: Five out of five. As a firm believer that lack of snap is an epidemic among store bought frankfurters, I must say that this chicken dog really surprised me from my first bite. The all-natural pork casing had just the right amount of attitude to give it a perfect five out of five in the snap department.

Taste: Four. The pineapple is more than a hint but never comes close to bordering on overbearing. Eating a hot dog made from chicken doesn’t seem all that blasphemous when it tastes as good as this one does.

Condimentablity: Two. The hot dog’s achilles heel is that it didn’t mesh that well with my condiments. It wasn’t awful, but there’s a lot of flavor in the dog already that finding the right balance with the condiments was tough. The best dog had only mustard on it.

Size: Four. This hot dog has a lot going on. Each bite is a little bit surprising to your palate because while your gullet is thinking hot dog it is thrown a pineapple curveball. However, since the hot dog isn’t unnecessarily jumbo, your taste buds never really grow tired of what you’re throwing their way.

Bite for Your Buck: Two-and-a-half. Aidell’s Pineapple Paradise hot dogs are sold at 7.99 for a package of five hot dogs. They aren’t made for serving at a big party, but if you and another want to expand your hot dog horizons, the adventure is worth the splurge.

Overall Score: Seventeen-and-a-half out of twenty-five. Aidell’s Pineapple Paradise Uncured Chicken Hot Dogs is a mouthful to say, it is not a bad mouthful though. There was never a moment throughout my time with the Pineapple Paradise that I begged for a more traditional dog. It is not tinkered with so much that it loses its integrity but you are aware that this is not your father’s ordinary pork and beef dog. Now that being fat has become just as American as the hot dog, we are starting to see a lot of hot dogs being made with the weight-conscious in mind. Aidell’s is definitely poking that crowd, but it also is aware that the people buying hot dogs are most likely not going to care much about their arteries being clogged. The only issues come when you try to do too much with it by layering on the afterthoughts like sauerkraut and cole slaw. These are foods I enjoy on top of other foods so I wish it worked out but sometimes it just doesn’t. They aren’t all that cheap either, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth shelling out two or three more bucks to see what’s what in hot dog innovation. Plus, look at the hot dog’s name sake, Chef Bruce Aidell. He doesn’t look like the type of person I would hate to give money to.

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The Bottom Line: Worried that it was going to be another one in a long line of pretentiously healthy faux dogs, I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the Pineapple Paradise.