This Steak-Quality Beef Hot Dog Will Up Your Grilling Game This Summer

When you’re looking to wow your guests at a backyard cookout, hot dogs don’t necessarily spring to mind as the entree of choice. But a pack of Wagyu beef hot dogs will perk up some ears for sure.

Especially these dogs: KC Cattle Company’s high-end hot dogs took the crown in a 2019 Food and Wine taste test of gourmet franks.

“This hot dog blew us away!” the magazine proclaimed. “It was basically like eating steak in a bun.”

With grilling season just getting fired up, we thought we’d put these pups to the test. “Steak in a bun,” really?

Kathleen St. John/Simplemost

First off, a bit about Wagyu beef. Wagyu is a Japanese breed of cattle, renowned for their marbled meat. That means fat deposits are interwoven with muscle fiber, producing a rich texture and deep, beefy flavor.

As KC Cattle Company proudly notes, their Wagyu cattle are raised in the United States. The animals’ diet is mostly grass, but with access to corn feed that helps along that tasty marbling. This is the beef KCCC uses for a variety of steaks and sausages including, of course, the hot dogs.

The dogs arrived, still frozen, in an impressively insulated box. I invited some friends over and got to work, heating the dogs in an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a little olive oil. (We’re between grills right now.)

Browning achieved, the challenge began. The gathered adults sampled a few bites with and without a bun; the kids did the same. The verdict, however, was split.

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While the adults unanimously gave the hot dogs high marks, with lots of oohing and aahing, the kids adamantly disliked them. A shocking result!

It’s understandable, though — the kids (ages 5 to 9) were expecting a hot dog that looked and tasted like a standard, everyday frankfurter. Instead, the KCCC wieners had personality: The interior, for instance, was tender but not spongy, more reminiscent of a handmade French saucisse than a mass-produced grocery dog.

The flavor was much more complex, too. Beefier, yes, but also a little funky. Kids don’t tend to do funk in their foods. All three rejected their hot dogs, but the adults happily snapped them up.

Kathleen St. John/Simplemost

To answer the key question: Did it taste like steak? Honestly, not really, but the higher quality of the meat was readily apparent. It’s juicy, with a good outer snap and a delicate, almost velvety texture within.

If this is making your mouth water, get your credit card out: KCCC’s Wagyu Gourmet Hot Dogs will cost you.

They’re $16.50 for a package of 8 wieners or $9.99 for a package of 4, which seems reasonable until you discover you have to buy at least $50 worth of meat at the KC Cattle Co site in order to check out. And then you have to pay an additional $15 for shipping, unless you purchase $300 or more at the online shop.

Still, if you’re into haute hot dogs, that Food and Wine endorsement makes them a must-try! And they do keep in the freezer, so you’ll be stocked for barbecues yet to come — for the grownups, at least.