Sauce Magazine & Riverfront Times
Customers exiting the Home Depot locations in Sunset Hills, Brentwood, and South County do a double take when they see the Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs stand condiment table.
Thats because owner Jason Gaines keeps more than 200 condiments for customers to put on the dogs, brats, hot links, Kielbasa, Polish and smoked sausages, and turkey dogs. Its a positively gluttonous array of around 50 mustards, 12 ketchups, 20 barbecue sauces and 100 hot sauces, plus horseradish sauces, wasabi and mayo. The sight of all the little jars clustered in neat rows is enough to make a foodie want to begin some serious empirical testing to determine the best and the hottest.
Sometimes people don't even really want the hot dogs they just want the condiments, admitted Gaines.
The accommodating snackmeister (who, incidentally, races hot air balloons when he's not dropping dogs in buns) said that he started his stands about five years ago with a selection of only about five mustards at each location. Customers kept recommending different mustards and sauces to me, and I bought them, and it just kept growing, he explained.
Now, in addition to being able to top your dog with the usual relish, kraut, sport peppers, onions, etc., you can try such exotic condiments as Silver Spring Peppadew Mustard, Blairs Wasabi Green Tea Hot Sauce, Melindas Habanero Ketchup, Marie Sharps Grapefruit Pulp Habanero Hot Sauce and even a thick, tasty honey-based barbecue sauce concocted by a St. Charles farmer.
The condiment combinations are pretty much endless unless you happen to disagree with Gaines sports allegiances, that is. A sign at each Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs stand reads Prices double for Chicago Cubs fans.
Byron Kerman / Sauce Magazine
Suppose it's a weekend afternoon, and you have a hankering for a nice 13-inch chili dog for lunch. You'd like to go to Foxy's Red Hots or Woofie's to indulge, but you're stuck with a stout to do list that requires a trip to the local hardware store. As much as a hotdog palace such as Foxy's might be calling your name, you'd have to make two separate stops, and that's just not efficient.
Not when there's a delightful alternative sitting right inside your neighborhood Home Depot. Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs calls the primo real estate at the exits of three area Home Depots home. Now, as you're walking out of the home improvement store, you can have the latest addition to the tool arsenal in one hand and a giant kraut and onion covered beef dog in the other.
I challenge you to find a scenario that wreaks of manliness more than that one.
When he's not cooking hotdogs, Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs proprietor Jason Gaines runs a hot air balloon company called St. Louis Ballooning Adventures. Probably the only duel hot air balloon pilot/hot dog vendor in the city, Gaines has taken the simple concept of a hot dog cart and turned it into the perfect complement to the world's largest home improvement chain.
But don't take that to mean Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs is only appropriate when you've got business inside Home Depot. On my last trip to the Brentwood location, I had no reservations about walking directly from the entrance, straight past the checkout lines, to the Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs stand to indulge in a chili cheese dog complimented by a bag of Old Vienna Red Hot Riplets -- all for about $5. No hardware or tools purchased. In my mind, I'd just walked into a 60,000 square foot hotdog joint.
Any excuse to stop in at one of the three area Dirty Dogz will be rewarded with a quality ballparkesque treat. If you're not feeling like the house specialty hot dogs, the dry eraseboard menu also advertises bratwursts, smoked sausage, the cleverly titled "Huge" Keilbasa and, in the non tubed meat section, items such as nachos, tamales and the cryptic "Pepper Belly."
Whatever item you choose, Gaines has gone to great lengths to make sure that you have ample ways to dress your selection up, boasting over 200 condiments at your disposal -- enough to be awarded the title of Best Condiments by the RFT in 2008. And, really, it's about time that someone began offering "Ass Reaper" hot sauce to put on your smoked sausage.
Josh Bacott reports on his journey through one of the unhealthiest cities in the good ol' USA every other Friday. Because who says calories have to count?