Release the dogs…

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Virgil Evetts

Since researching and writing about the whole free-range issue a while back I’ve been taking my stance in regards to free-range pork very seriously indeed (I haven’t touched conventionally farmed chicken for years). But as assured as I am of my moral choice (or obligation as I see it), it all gets a bit no-fun, spoil-sport sometimes. Shunning Hong Kong-style BBQ and roast pork from Passion Food, (one of the many outlets in the excellent Rialto car park food hall in Auckland), is a constant struggle. So when I was overcome with a sudden yearning for American hot dogs the other day, I was quite prepared to push it down to that increasingly well-stocked part of my mind reserved for ‘things I’m not allowed to take pleasure from anymore’.

But fortunately, before I put the dogs to bed entirely, I thought to poke around a bit on the mostly un-trusty interma-net, and discovered to my copious salivatory delight that Harmony Meats, the much lauded free-range outfit, produce all natural, free-range pork frankfurters.

Oh happy day!

Another few clicks took me to an online organics supplier, who not only stocks said ethically permissible small goods, but guarantees same-day deliveries.

And so that very night I was able to enjoy what was hands-down the best rendition of the American hot dog ever to pass my lips. And I mean they actually tasted really, really good, and not just from the piquancy of smugness!

These free-range franks have a firm meaty texture and a delicately spiced yet rich smoky flavour. They are a different and entirely superior beats to those red-skinned obscenities you know so well, (yes, the very same ones I have waxed lyrical about previously). They are the perfect foil for the grain mustard béchamel and caramelised onions I use to dress my dogs. Ok, so they aren’t exactly an economy option, but that’s hardly unusual, or unreasonable for that matter, with free-range products. What is a pleasant point of difference is the effort Harmony has made to make these franks a serious step up from their mass-produced supermarket counterparts. They positively reek of quality.

Pictured above is a hastily (and hungrily) shot glimpse of the finished product. A careful observer may notice that those distinctive tartan plates have shown up rather a lot in my articles and blogs of late. They’re an old Crown Lyn design called Tam O’Shanter, and my best beloved is besotted with the stuff. She has single-handedly inflated its value beyond all reason through her violent Trademe bidding wars. Anyway, I will get around to digging out some less obvious prop cutlery from the rarely visited back-of-the-pantry region eventually.

Instead of repeating myself with instructions for my personal version of Hot Dog heaven, do me a favour and click here. I’ve said it all before – just ignore my shameful promotion of tortured pig products .

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10 thoughts on “Release the dogs…

  1. I do agree Zeetra- I think the comment I have made previously about hot dogs is that they should never be too real.
    Do you know, I didn’t even look at the ingredients list on the Harmony product but I assume they’re full of preservatives- especially nitrates- and that’s just fine with me. They are certainly not lacking in fat either.

    Believe it or not, even in the city products like this aren’t all that easy to find- I bought them online from Naturally Organic (
    Yes, they’re a bit pricey but worth it for a treat.

  2. Virgil,

    Isnt a hot dog a real hot dog unless it full of the non essential things such as “fat” and “additives”?

    It would be such a happy world if everything was free range, but coming froma small town like where im from your pushed for choice, so I have to be one of these” nasties” that have no choice in buying the caged or farmed meat products…

    if only it was cheaper to buy and more accessible…

  3. And I was going to say Hannah Montana (the only teenage movie I’ve heard of recently).

    I’m very tempted by your newly discovered hot dog. We have our own pork, but I didn’t ask the butcher for frankfurters, nor do I know how they would turn out. The beef salamis were very unexpected and we ended up boiling them and feeding to the pigs.

    As for ducks, I don’t even know if they are farmed large scale in NZ and small scale farmers tend to be less ‘factory’ based. I do know ducklings have a huge propensity to death. Could the Asian restaurants import frozen duck? I think there is a duck producer near her, Canter Farms isit? They had an advert in the local paper recently looking for people with geese to sell. I love roast goose for a Christmas crowd.

  4. I am really happy to hear that there is a free-range frankfurter available. I am one of those ‘stick to my guns’ free-range meat purchasers, so I REALLY miss salami (especially on pizza). Please let me know if you find a salami that has free-range pork. I really appreciate finding out about free-range meats :-) Thanks!

  5. As I understand it, ducks are generally kept in relativly humane conditions- because they need or are happier anyway with access to water and becuase low demand makes factory farming uneconomical.

    Colleen I am most impressed. I’m not proud of it but I was unwittingly hooked on the books.

  6. Hand up and waving in the air, Virgil … me, me, me! 10 points + 10 points. It’s “Twilight”. But no, I didn’t have a clue, I had to ask my daughter who’s staying at present and is 37, not a teen so I can foist any negative kudos onto her. And yes, I enjoy a hotdog occasionally as long as the roll is small – more meat than bread for me.

  7. Are ducks really kept in better living conditions than chickens?
    I have never visited hot dogs – I am sitting her trying to remember if I have ever actually eaten one. I generally don’t eat sausages although I really like the Salumeria Fontana Sicilian sausages – pork with fennel – they are absolutely delicious. Ed loves saveloys and he and the kids eat them for breakfast on Saturday morning when I am at work…. ugh.

  8. The ducks have an ok time of it ( apart from the whole being slaughtered thing)- but it’s those pigs I worry about. Having said that, I know for a fact that my BBQ pork sobriety will not last forever. As with any addiction- the addict is never entirely safe around their ‘own personal brand of heroin’ ( 10 points to anyone who knows what book/movie franchise I’m quoting there and another 10 points if you actually admit to knowing- and if that all too obscure for you just ask the nearest teenage girl), so I’m going to relapse eventually. Its not if but when..
    And I think you need to revisit Hot dogs, I really do…

  9. Oh that made me laugh!
    Personally I loathe hotdogs in every way but I applaud your strength of character not to submit to the factory farmed variety and taking the time to source from Harmony.
    I am a complete hypocrite as I buy free range from the supermarket/butcher but I still eat pork and chicken from the Asian BBQ shop in Newmarket and don’t even stop to think about the previous lifestyle of the luscious barbecue ducks….