Tagged: Pickle Dog

The Year in Ballpark Food, Part II

Yesterday’s culinary compendium included copious coverage of ballpark food and regional cuisine, focusing on trips I made to Arizona, California, Ohio and Indiana.

The journey continues today, with a heavy emphasis on what may have been my favorite road trip of 2011: the Carolinas. It all started at Joseph P. Riley ballpark, the home of the Charleston RiverDogs. This is a team that has provided me with plenty of food-based news items through the years (Homewreckers! Pickle Dogs! Pig On A Stick!), and I was excited to finally make my first visit.

The team was ready for me.

Back Row: Pickle Dog, Boiled Peanuts, Palmetto Beer, Kitchen Sink Nachos Front Row: Pimento Pickle Burger, RiverDog (topped with cole slaw, mustard-based BBQ sauce, pickled okra), Pig on a Stick (foot-long corn dog wrapped in bacon).

Not the best photo, I know, but hopefully indicative of the RiverDogs’ bountiful array of creative food options. Oh, and a Philly Cheesesteak Brat eventually made an appearance.

Here’s a better view of the top-loaded “Kitchen Sink Nachos,” which are served in a pizza box.

But I focused my efforts primarily on the Pickle Dog, making sure to grip the pickle firmly from the rear so that the hot dog would not slip out.

The next day I drove to Myrtle Beach (home of both the Pelicans and the Mermen),  and en route I stopped for lunch at “Hog Heaven BBQ.” Apparently, what passes for heaven in the mind of a pig is an afterlife of eternal cannibalization.

Dismayed and confused by this concept, I instead opted for some crab.

I was admonished by various quarters for ordering seafood at a BBQ joint, and I understand those criticisms. But here in NYC a platter such as the above is (relatively) hard to come by, and I have no regrets. None!

I stayed with the seafood theme at that night’s Pelicans game, ordering up some fried clams.

The following afternoon, en route to Kinston, I went to a BBQ joint and actually ordered some BBQ. Bart’s was the name.

BBQ pork platter, with hush puppies, french fries, cole slaw and a personal pitcher of sweet tea

At Grainger Stadium that evening, I followed the recommendation of GM Ben Jones and ordered a Philly Cheese Steak, North Carolina style. “Magnifique!” is what I imagine a French fan of Carolina League baseball would say upon biting into the following:

Are there any French fans of Minor League Baseball out there? What a rare subset of fans that must be.

Much less rare is the sight of a Bojangles fried chicken joint in the state of North Carolina. As I was making my way from Kinston to Durham, I patronized the following establishment.

Being a man of perpetual movement, at that night’s Durham Bulls game I ordered a Doritos-brand “Walking Taco.”

That’s nacho typical taco, but it provided all the sustenance I needed until the following morning’s stop at Biscuitville.

Less than two hours later, I patronized another regional fast food chain: Cookout. I’ve since heard from many Cookout aficionados, all of whom insisted that milkshakes should be purchased. Duly noted, but this time around I ended up with a Cheerwine float.

One of the highlights of the following day’s travels was lunch at Zack’s Hot Dogs, a Burlington, N.C. institution.

Since I’m always a proponent of a balanced and healthy diet, the hot dog lunch was followed by a bologna burger at that evening’s Danville Braves game.

The last stop on the Carolina excursion was Winston-Salem. A pre-game meal was obtained a Bibb’s BBQ, located a proverbial hop, skip, and jump away from BB&T Ballpark (domicile of the Dash). And what a meal it was:

That’s about all she wrote from the Carolinas; but fortunately I was able to squeeze one more trip into the 2011 campaign: Maryland, home of the crab pretzel!

More specifically, the home of the cheese and crustacean-laden snack seen above was Aberdeen’s Ripken Stadium.  But perhaps an even more anomalous ballpark treat is that which can be found at Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium: pickled beet eggs!

The Hagerstown Suns experienced some drama this past season, when a light pole fell onto the field during a storm. This is where the light pole used to stand…or is it? Maybe this mark was made by a huge pickled egg!

Or maybe a huge Krumpe’s donut used to lie on that spot! After the game I went to nearby Krumpe’s Do-Nuts (open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and picked up a few.

My trip, as well as my season of traveling, ended the next day in Delmarva. Needless to say, I did not leave Arthur W. Perdue Stadium on an empty stomach.

That was dinner, consisting of a “Chessie Dog” (half-pound frank with cheese, onions, peppers), Crab Dip (with three bread dipping sticks), and a Scrapple sandwich. But there’s always room for dessert, especially when it’s as appealing as the concoction known as “Sherman’s Gelati.”

And that, as they say, was that. I hope you enjoyed, or at least tolerated, this trip down recent memory lane. It provided me yet another opportunity to revive a season which is in actuality dead as the proverbial doornail, and for that I am grateful.



The ‘Dogs Are In A Pickle

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for profriverdogs.jpgThe Charleston RiverDogs already have a reputation as one of the foremost frankfurter purveyors in all of Minor League Baseball.

The Class A Yankees affiliate offers dozens of dogs at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark, from the “Asian Invasion” (soy sauce, wasabi, crunchy chow mein noodles) to the “Dixie Dog” (chili and pimento cheese) to the signature “RiverDog” (cole slaw and pickled okra). And let’s not forget the gargantuan “Homewrecker”, which gained national prominence after “Man vs. Food” host Adam Richman gave it a try.

But yesterday the club announced what is perhaps their most fantastical hot
dog creation yet
, an unprecedented concoction that is sure to polarize the American populace.


Charleston -- Pickledog.JPG

Your eyes do not deceive you. This is a hot dog with a hollowed-out pickle for a bun, held together by a layer of cole slaw. It will be served at Joseph P. Riley Ballpark in 2010, now destined to go down in history as “the Year of the Pickle Dog”.

The man responsible for this creation is John Schumacher, who oversees the food and beverage departments of the five Minor League teams owned by the Goldklang Group (of which the RiverDogs are one).

Schumacher explained that the Pickle Dog was inspired by the iconic Chicago-style hot dog, whichThumbnail image for pickle.jpg includes pickles among its wide array of toppings.

“We’re always willing to beg, borrow and steal from whatever’s out there; that’s how we generally get our inspiration,” he said.

So if the Chicago Dog could include pickles on a hot dog, why couldn’t the RiverDogs put a hot dog in one? The difference goes far beyond semantics, however.

“We experimented for about a month and a half, and we kept saying ‘We need a bigger pickle'” said Schumacher, noting that pickles of insufficient size led to the hot dog slipping out of its briny bun upon the first bite. “A bigger pickle, that’s the answer to everything.”

An appropriately proportioned dill variety was eventually obtained — jumbo-sized specimens that are cut in half, cored, and slathered in slaw. Schumacher says that this results in a “perfect boat”, with the slaw’s adhesive properties helping to keep the meat in place.

“A secondary benefit of the slaw is that, in an unexplainable twist, people in the south just love cole slaw on their hot dogs. In this town, it’s a perfect fit,” he noted.

smallpicklemascot.jpgThe team is happy with the finished product, to the point where RiverDogs’ concession workers will be sporting shirts this season that read “Man Bites Pickle Dog” (an alternate name for the product, the “Dill Dog”, was briefly considered and wisely rejected).

And if Charlestonians pick the pickle at a prodigious pace, more could be in store.

“If the Pickle Dog gets into Phase Two, then we’ll deep fry the whole thing,” said Schumacher, describing a food product that will be heavenly for some, indescribably nightmarish for others.

Either way, the RiverDogs’ craving to create culinary curiosities will continue.

“We’re always looking to try something new, and we’re certainly not going to stop with the pickle,” said Schumacher.

You’ve been warned, America.


(For those interested in pickles of an anthropomorphic variety, the above mascot costume can be obtained HERE)