By Jayme Lamm
Hot dogs and baseball go together like ... well ... hot dogs and baseball. It’s estimated that at the end of the 2012 MLB season that 1,597,927 hot dogs will be consumed just at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. While that may sound like a lot (which it is), adding a gourmet-style element to the traditional ballpark food along with some variety surely helps crank that number up.
Take the Rangers Ballpark, home of the American League champs, who serve up 19 different kinds of hot dogs. Yes, 19. That's enough hot dogs to serve every member of the Duggar Family their very own version of the traditional 'dog.
The Food Network and Delaware North Companies Sportservice have teamed up together to bring the All-American classic ballpark fare back by launching "A Topping For Every Taste" into a handful of ballparks across the country. Wanting to show true individual tastes by region, and getting fans back into more traditional stadium food, they've hit a home run with their Food Network Hot Dog bars, featuring a 1/4-pound hot dog served on a potato roll along with a variety of toppings that are sure to satisfy any fan. Aside from the basics of BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish and saukerkraut, these Hot Dog bars will serve other favorites such as bacon chunks, fried onions, corn chips, griddled onions and peppers, shredded cheddar, smoky baked beans and a smoky-sweet jalapeno relish.
The calorie conscious needn't apply.
One of the most notable dogs in the stadium is the Boomstick (in honor of Nelson Cruz), which can be found in sections 42, 16 and 326 under the "As Seen on TV" sign. The Boomstick is a one-pound/24-inch long hot dog topped with sautéed onions, cheese and chili and costs $26. The larger-than-life-hot-dog comes with handles to help fans haul it back to the their seats. (Note: The Boomstick can weigh in at two-plus pounds once all the toppings are loaded on.) While that may sound like a lotta dough for a hot dog, it comes with a fork and knife (and lots of napkins) which many couples split. Consider it the modern day and slightly unhealthier version of Lady and the Tramp. The big dog can also be found in the Captain Morgan Club in center field where it's served on a cutting board and known as the "Champion Dog."
If the Boomstick doesn't sound quite up your alley, don't fret -- you have options. Options in the form of: Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs, Texas Hot Dogs (jumbo hot dog topped with jalapeno-cheddar sauce and seasoned ground beef), Signature Hot Dogs (jumbo hot dog topped with baked beans, mustard and corn chips), Sausage Sundaes (cracked black smoked sausage split and filled with chopped brisket, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes), BYOHD (build your own hot dog), Frito-dogs, Philly dogs, Nolan Ryan “Hot” Dogs (with hot sweet relish), Chicago Dogs, Chili-Cheese Footlongs, Veggie Dogs (located only in Center Field Market), Corndogs, Frankfurters, Mini Hot Dog Sliders and even regular ole plain hot dogs.
According to Casey Rapp, operations manager for Sportservice, the Ballpark in Arlington sells, on average, 500 hot dogs per game with the most popular being the Build Your Own or the Signature hot dog, which I can personally attest to its deliciousness. And a Bud Light Lime is the icing on the hot Texas cake.
Finishing our lap around the ballpark, I counted (yes, on my fingers) 19 different hot dog options and pointed that out to Rapp. "We're known for hot dogs here," he laughed. "And good baseball," I added.
If I learned anything about my hot dog tour around the park, it's not to buy a hot dog at first sight. Keep walking. K – E – E – P – W- A – L – K- I – N – G.
Oh, I also learned that the busiest times at concessions were 30 minutes before a game and the 3rd inning, so keep that in mind when perusing your hot dog options during your next Rangers game. It's too a good team to miss a single inning.
Texas isn't the only stadium with the new Food Network concession offerings and expanded menus. You can also find this tasty grub in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, San Diego and Minnesota.