The Time I Encountered 'The Best Hot Dog In The World'


Following a harrowing experience at St James’s Park in Newcastle in 2016 I felt I had no alternative but to send this email to Rollover Hot Dogs. They’re based in Slough.


“It’s with a heavy heart that I have to write to you. The last time I questioned the quality of a sausage it resulted in my mate informing me that his newly ex-girlfriend had a “vagina you could lose a Jack Russell up”. Such was my surprise at this hugely out-of-context and inappropriate response that I swore I would never broach such subjects again. Yet my experience at St James’s Park football ground (Newcastle, not Exeter) this weekend has left me with no option but to contact you.


I was at St James’s Park (hitherto referred to as ‘SJP’ and not to be confused with the actress from Sex In The City) to enjoy the Super League Magic Weekend. Six games played at SJP over the weekend meant those in attendance would be inside the ground for over six hours each day. And, as you may know, it is a law of attending a rugby match that spectators that aren’t driving have to consume alcoholic beverages with fervour that suggests Prohibition is being introduced at the sound of the final whistle. And so it was that I satisfied my thirst with whatever draft liquid I could find – I believe it may have been Carling.


You may be familiar with beer. It’s a product that, if imbibed in sufficient quantities, eliminates the sense of taste. This is why spicy food vendors offering curried food and kebab meat are open, and busy, as pubs close instead of at dinner times. This in spite of the fact they could contain cuts of ‘meat’ so lacking in quality you are left wondering whether you’re eating beef, lamb, chicken, rat, pigeon or a badger scraped off the side of the A470 two weeks previously. Not that this seems to matter for many after they’ve had a large amount of lager, as long as it contains enough spices to make taste buds realise that food is actually being consumed, that’s fine. Of course, that means that resultant farts could burn holes through kryptonite.


I hadn’t quite reached that stage on Saturday but can safely say that having been inside SJP for almost four hours without food and having ‘enjoyed’ (actually, perhaps ‘endured’ is a better description) a couple-or-so pints of Carling I was more than ready for my tea. My taste buds still had plenty of functionality and so I was very careful when choosing my meal from the enormous selection of culinary options that were presented (pie, burger, hot dog, chips). It wasn’t always my intention to opt for a Rollover Hot Dog but once I saw the tag-line that billed them as ‘The Best Hot Dog In The World’ it’s safe to say I was drooling like Adam Johnson at a One Direction gig.


I enjoy a good hot dog. Relatively famously, my fondness for sausage (and cake) led me to invent the ‘sausage cake’ in 2015, which is a culinary triumph so glorious that I have no doubt that one day it will signal the end of vegetarianism. My enthusiasm for sausages has meant that I have sampled hot dogs of varying qualities on numerous occasions and in various locations. Which leads me to ask you two very important questions:


• 1. When your boast that Rollover Hot Dogs are the ‘Best Hot Dogs In The World’, which world is it that you’re referring to?
• 2. Who was it that allowed you to use this hideously misleading tagline?


I don’t have to be, or want to be, critical without good reason but when it comes to hot dogs claiming to be (presumably) the best on my home planet, I feel I have a duty to report my conclusions. Especially when I was left so bitterly disappointed that I may never eat another hot dog again! The blandness of the hot dog sausage meant that I couldn’t tell whether I was eating a hot dog, unsalted porridge, Quorn, cardboard or a sport sock. There was the merest trace of some seasoning, which didn’t serve to add anything to the taste of the wiener but may explain why it smelt like the undercarriage of a geriatric gypsy.


The bread on which the sausage was served could well have been freshly baked on the premises at SJP but I doubt very much whether this was the case. If I was to hazard a guess then I would say, judging solely on the appearance of the hot dog bun, that it had been baked a month earlier in a Taiwanese sweat shop by a group of five year olds that then gave it to a primate. The primate then used it to bludgeon a love-rival to death before it ricocheted into the hands of a motorcyclist who placed it underneath his seat before transporting it over land from Taiwan to Newcastle, where the bun was then inflated slightly using the belches of Peter Beardsley.


As mentioned, I have travelled fairly extensively and have sampled some truly wonderful wieners in such places as Chester, Chicago, New York, Nottingham and Hamburg. I am struggling to imagine how I can break the news to John on his hot dog stall outside Chester’s Town Hall. A man whose life’s work has seen his business thrive in-spite of the McDonald’s restaurant opening across the street from his pitch. How can I explain to him that his wonderful, thick, flavoursome, locally sourced hot dog sausages served on freshly baked hot dog rolls from a local bakery have been found to be inferior to something resembling a diabetic donkey turd served on something with the consistency of a chalk board and shaped like an anvil-flattened Liberte G-Spot Vibrator?


When I go to Wrigley Field in October, shall I explain to the Chicago Cubs caterers that the hot dogs they offer, as popular with baseball fans as the game itself and the ivy leafed surroundings of that very ballpark, should be cast aside and that in order to become hailed as the best in the world they should start researching their next menu by reversing over their current offering with a Chevy Silverado?


I look forward to your answers so that I can report this matter to the relevant Trading Standards / World Hot Dog Standards Judging Committee.


Kind regards,


I didn’t receive a response.