#Huangry: Dive 'n' Boar Hot Dogs
With the Greenville Drive’s opening day a few weeks ago, I found it natural to think about what I love about minor league baseball games: cheap beer, hot dogs, and relentless heckling. Now, there are only so many praises I can sing about PBR, and writer Scott Gould did a much better job in the December 2014 issue of TOWN Magazine, anyways. Plus, this column isn’t a really effective platform for heckling—there’s not enough immediate gratification.
So that leaves me with hot dogs, and lucky for me, they’re actually pretty fascinating. They trace their origins to sausages brought over by German immigrants in the 19th century, but have managed to embed themselves in the fabric of Americana in the ensuing years. Just think: can you even imagine an All-American backyard cookout montage without wieners on the grill? Hot dogs even have their own meme. (Google “hot dog legs.” You won’t regret it.)
And of course, there’s this little fact: hot dogs are undeniably phallic. Depending on your point of view, this fact is awkward, discomforting, or hilarious, and generally a combination of all three. Which is why I thought it only appropriate to try a hot dog from a place that appreciates raunchy irreverence: Dive ‘n’ Boar. (Example: the cocktail list currently features a drink called “Chase’s Wet Dreamsicle.” It’s delicious, in case you’re wondering.)
Of the three dogs on their menu, I order the Big Juan. It deserves its moniker. It’s a legitimate half-pound, foot-long, kosher beef Hebrew National sausage, perched haphazardly on a hoagie roll, with a couple inches of meat overhanging either end of the roll. On top, there’s a healthy dollop each of guacamole and cilantro sour cream, finished off with crumbled chorizo and pickled jalapenos. It’s an impressive package.
And while a foot-long hot dog could seem like overkill, the Big Juan actually demonstrates a lot of restraint. Instead of overloading the dog with toppings, which disguise the flavor of the wiener, you get toppings that are well apportioned and stayed put instead of sliding off. The flavors also balance well. The chorizo has just a hint of smokiness, and the jalapenos punch things up with a mild kick of heat and acidity—more of a tickle, really. The rich creaminess of guacamole mellows everything out, with cilantro freshening everything up. The hoagie roll is also a great tweak to the bun-and-sausage formula. It manages to stand up to the massive wiener, instead of crumbling apart under the weight of meat and toppings.
Now, when it comes to eating something this big, there are certain compromises you have to make. First of all, it’s going to be messy, especially if you go for a bite that includes all the tasty elements. Count on a smear or three of guacamole and sour cream across your face. Secondly, there’s no way to gracefully eat this hot dog, unless you dice it up with knife and fork. But why would you?
Hot dogs are supposed to be fun to eat. If you want to enjoy them fully, you can’t take yourself too seriously.
- Twelve inches is not an optimistic estimate. It’s really that big.
- Toppings balance well. At no point do they overwhelm the meatiness of the sausage, and they complement each other nicely.
- The hoagie roll holds up well. Toppings don’t soak it through, nor does it crumble apart when you are face-deep in the hot dog.
- Awkward to maneuver.
- At $12, it might seem a little pricey for a hot dog. But if you’re already used to overpriced ballpark concessions, you might as well have something that’s worth the money.
Dive ‘n’ Boar
2541 N Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville, SC
(864) 509-0388, divenboar.com
The Big Juan, $12
Originally published in the [Greenville Journal] on April 22, 2016.