Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The North Country Michigan (With Glazier's Red Hots)


As you know -- the myriad forms in which us Upstate (as I have state before, for the purposes of this blog I favor an extremely loose version of the term "Upstate." It goes for everything north of Ulster county, south of Messina, and east of Buffalo) New York types take our hot dog sausages has always been a topic of great interest to me. 

On this blog we have discussed our local Capital region dinky dogs (a la Famous Lunch or Hot Dog Charlies), the ubiquitous and widespread Stewart's Deli Dog, Rochester white hots, and more that I am probably forgetting right now. 

Today a fortuitous find that I made at the Delmar Marketplace takes us up to the North Country for their particular style of hot dog -- the Michigan

I was perusing the cold case at the Delmar Market (as random treasures often appear there) when I spied some Glazier's Frankfurters. Glazier's is based in Malone, NY and these red hot dogs are arguably the regional favorite up in that neck of the woods.


                                      
Glazier's Frankfurters are a pork and beef mix encased in a natural sheep casing and dyed a vibrant shade of red.


You don't see too many large run hot dogs out there with sheep casings so this in and of itself is something to take note of. In texture these dogs are very firm textured and "snappy." You know how a Stewart's Deli dog has an almost delicate, meat-pudding kind of softness? These are pretty much the opposite of that. As far as flavor they have a mild, salty sort of spice very much in the vein of the standard "frankfurter"style that I am sure you are accustomed to.


A common thread in New York State regional (outside of the City of course) hot dog toppings is the holy trinity of meat sauce (no beans, often Greek inspired, often without tomato), mustard, and chopped raw onion. The North Country Michigan does not veer from this formula. For the bread vehicle the Michigan is generally served on a New England style bun or a regionally produced variation on the theme.

I recently got ahold of a copy of "Good Food, Served Right : Traditional Recipes and Food Customs from New York's North Country" and it is a fascinating cookbook that I plan on doing a post about in the future when I get a minute. Included in the "County Fair" chapter is a recipe for Michigans. It mentions Glazier's hot dogs and buns made by the now defunct Bouyea-Fasset bakers who (I have heard) made a somewhat larger than normal version of the New England style hot dog bun.

As for the Michigan sauce recipe this particular one strikes me as a bit odd. The oregano and chili powder are expected components but I would probably replace the curry powder with cumin and a bit of cinnamon. But who knows? Any North Country people please weigh in if curry powder actually is a standard ingredient as I would find that a pretty interesting variation on the theme.


In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed the pair of Michigans that I prepared and devoured. There is something about the combination of flavors/textures in a meat sauce/mustard/raw onion topped hot dog that can't be beat. The soft bun giving way to the natural casing... then your tongue gets coated with fatty spiced meat sauce cut with the astringent mustard and bitter onion. For my money you just can't beat it. It is a legend in its genre.


Also available at the Delmar Market were the Glazier's Jalapeno Dogs and Cheddarwursts. Based on the fact that I am dead set on trying every product offered by every indigenous Upstate New York hot dog producer, I suppose I will have to try those too at some point.


10 comments:

  1. My husband lived in Plattsburgh and he says there are no hard and fast rules re: Michigan sauce but it does need a hint of spice

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  2. Mr. Dave, my family owns the aforementioned North Country Cooking book and I will be mighty interested if you find any recipes of interest in it other than the Michigan Dogs.

    The book does remind me of my late father-in-law in Speculator who, whenever my wife attempted to introduce him to interesting citified cooking, would proclaim "this is not Mountain Food" and find an excuse to visit the kitchen where he would scrape his plate into the garbage can.

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  3. Messina should be spelt massena. There really isn't a specific way to make Michigan sauce because my fav has a tomato base but is almost like a chili flavor so there's a little cumin but no curry.

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    1. spelt should be spelled "spelled".

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  4. hahaha, I was thinking the same thing about Messina!

    As for the spice in the sauce, the answer is the one and only Franks hot sauce....when its gotta be hot...its gotta be Franks

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  5. Cumin is the secret to a good Michigan sauce.

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  6. Funny thing that the Michigan sauce seems to have its origins in Detroit -- did you know that a dog with that kind of sauce in the Detroit area is called a "Coney?" Being from New York City and having had Nathan's dogs at Coney Island, I find it amusing that a sort of "chili dog" in Michigan is called a Coney, and roughly the same thing in the North Country is called a "Michigan!"
    Go figure....

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    1. The chili dog was invented in Detroit, or the Detroit area (don't get the originating families started on who was first!). But Greek immigrants took the hot dogs they found from Coney Island in NY with them to Michigan, and only then began putting their family Greek chili on top, hence the term "Coney Dog." Detroit's coneys are very specific in terms of the chili (usually beef hearts, no beans), and their toppings (onions and mustard only).

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    2. The chili dog was invented in Detroit, or the Detroit area (don't get the originating families started on who was first!). But Greek immigrants took the hot dogs they found from Coney Island in NY with them to Michigan, and only then began putting their family Greek chili on top, hence the term "Coney Dog." Detroit's coneys are very specific in terms of the chili (usually beef hearts, no beans), and their toppings (onions and mustard only).

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    3. And by the way, the chili sauce recipe seems pretty dead on!

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