Relish Bark's Artisanal Hot Dogs for Less Than $10
Bark's Pickle Dog, house pickles, mustard, and mayonnaise ($5.75)
Sara Ventiera for the Village Voice
Every holiday has its comestible item of choice: Champagne on New Year's, candy and Halloween, lamb for Easter, hamantaschen during Purim. For Independence Day, it's all about tubular meat. For the sustainable-minded, health-conscious consumer, though, dirty-water dogs are far from appealing. But Bark Hot Dogs has you covered — the Park Slope (474 Bergen Street, Brooklyn; 718-789-1939) and Greenwich Village (155 Bleecker Street; 347-708-9074) storefronts offer inexpensive frankfurters made from artisanal ingredients.
While Nathan's Famous in Coney Island is gearing for its annual International Hot Dog Eating Contest, at Bark, hot dogs are meant to be slowly relished. Their dogs are made from a unique meat blend stuffed in sheep casings: humanely raised pork shoulder, pork belly, and beef shoulder. The pork ensures perfect springy texture, the belly adds flavor and richness (i.e., fat), and the beef rounds out the flavor. They're slowly smoked until just cooked through by Old World–style Austrian sausage maker Josef Bruner, in Canandaigua, New York. There are no nitrates, preservatives, or other gross ingredients. All-Angus-beef and vegetarian dogs are also available.
These puppies get a better start than your average frank, and the cooking process only adds to the awesomeness. Once ordered, each one starts off on low heat on a flattop to render the skin. Next, the heat's cranked up to create the expected snap, then the skin is basted with the shop's signature Bark Butter (sweet cream butter, sea salt, and smoked pork belly fat) before it's served on a buttered and toasted New England–style split-top bun (gluten-free buns are also an option).
They're a bit pricier than your run-of-the-mill street dog (unless you were one of the folks who paid $30 to the vendor at ground zero). The Classic will set you back $4.25. The NYC, with house-made sweet-and-sour onions and mustard, goes for $5. The Kraut Dog, with Hawthorne Valley lacto-fermented sauerkraut and mustard, is $5.25, and Bark’s Angus beef chili, Grafton cheddar sauce, and onion top the chili-cheese dog, at $6.75.
Shakes, floats, burgers, chicken tenders, and sides round out the menu. No matter what you get, it's all high-quality, yet cheap. Nothing rings in at more than $10.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera. Follow @forkintheroadVV.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to New York dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.