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But move over, baby backs. There are some new players in town, and they come from our good friends at Oscar Mayer. About to hit the market are … oh, my stars in heaven – bacon hot dogs!

“Well, there is just WAY too much consumption of bacon,” said No Body Ever. And yes, just about everybody (except our cardiologists) agrees that bacon is God’s gift to gastronome.

“No one knows bacon like Oscar Mayer," Jared Baker, director of Oscar Mayer hot dogs, said in a recent statement. “We know Americans love bacon, and we know they love hot dogs, so it seemed like the perfect time for us to introduce our first hot dog made with bacon."

Well. I have a few questions for Mr. Baker, such as: How do you become “Director of Hot Dogs?” Is that what it says on your business card? And what, exactly, does one major in at college when your goal is to be the DOHD of a major food company?

Now nobody’s claiming that the entire hot dog is made out of bacon. Oh, no. Present on the ingredients list are turkey, chicken and pork along with the bacon pieces. Awesome.

But lest you think Oscar Mayer is just trying to fatten us up and make those weight-loss places even more big business than they already are, think again. Also aboard the Oscar Mayer bandwagon are “lite hot dogs” and “fat-free hot dogs.”

Now is it just me, or is a “fat-free hot dog” like a “gift-free birthday party” or a senior prom without its king and queen? It’s that bit of fat that renders a juicy dog, and if you’re going to go all health nut on us, you might just as well grill up veggie dogs in place of your favorite tube steak.

With an estimated 7 billion hotdogs about to be consumed in the United States between Memorial Day and Labor Day, will this latest offering from Oscar Mayer bring the company to the forefront of the Weiner Wars? Well, you would think. But the new bacon dogs have to break through the front lines of their greatest competitor, Ball Park, which still enjoys a slight edge. Could this be why?

“Grilled on the flames of liberty and named after our national pastime,” intones the patriotic spokesman on Ball Park brand’s new commercial, aimed undoubtedly at the Memorial Day grilling crowd. “Made with 100 percent Angus beef and just a dash of democracy,” says the bearded actor, a flag-draped backdrop behind him that skips to the iconic Lincoln Memorial. “So American you can TASTE it!” he concludes as a bald eagle flaps over to land atop his outstretched arm. Ah, it’s enough to cause one to shed a tear in the name of hot dog freedom.

But whatever your preference in a hot dog, I say, “Go big or go home.” Get out there and find the biggest grill you can haul home. One so large it carries its own zip code. And when Memorial Day dawns, get outside and fire that baby up. Put on your favorite “Boss of the Sauce” grilling apron. And get ready to land some big bacon dogs on that backyard monster.

Except remember to lay those doggies down sideways on the grill. So, you know, you don’t lose them inside the grate. Like I did one shameful year. But that’s another story for another day. For now, I’ll just hang with my non-stick skillet in the comfort of my indoor kitchen.


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