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posted: 7/2/2011 1:00 AM

Hot dog purist makes his cas(ing)

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I read with interest the article on the "Wiener War" in the June 23 edition of the Daily Herald. I cannot see the fuss over flavorings as hot dogs in general have taken a downward turn in flavor and texture as more and more hot dog purveyors offer skinless wieners instead of natural casing hot dogs.

We have stopped going out for a hot dog unless we can find a place that serves a tasty Chicago dog with a natural casing. To date that means a long drive to Gene and Jude's in River Grove.

Skinless wieners are less juicy, lack flavor and have none of the "snap" that helped make the Chicago hot dog a favorite. Barring the long and expensive drive to find a place that offers hot dogs with natural casings, we purchase them from a store and make our own.

The best wieners we've found come from a little known maker in Wisconsin and are still linked. They have it all: casings that hold the flavor, juices and snap when they are bitten.

Whether Vienna Beef or Red Hot Chicago wins the flavor war, my wife and I will stay with the old-fashioned linked hot dogs in natural casings; They are the real winners. Or is that wieners?

Edward C. Cook