August 28, 2009
Lightlife Smart Dogs, first try
The new product to test is Lightlife Smart Dogs. I knew this was going to be a tough sell, as I'm really picky about my hot dogs. My favorite is the Schweigert All Beef Wieners (hee hee - wieners!) with natural casing, in case anyone wanted to know. For me, hot dogs are serious business. So I went in to this with pretty low expectations.
First off, the package says you can either boil them or microwave them. My usual MO is to microwave my hot dogs ("until they scream" - my kitchen is a fun place), so that's what I did. Since my plan was to slice them up and mix them into some macaroni and cheese (yum!), I took 3 dogs out of the package and threw them onto a plate. The package said 30 seconds per dog, but my microwave is pretty buff, so I went with one minute total.
Before I get to what happened there, I must describe my first impressions of this item. As soon as I tore open the package, I encountered a rather unpleasant odor. One which I'm sure I must get used to, if I'm going to be using lots of soy-based products. It kind of smelled like soy sauce, which really makes sense. (I later smelled a regular hot dog - to be fair, it also smelled weird, but it got better after I cooked it)
Okay - after a minute in the microwave, the bottoms of the dogs had sort of blistered, in a rather unappealing way, but this is sort of part of the microwaved hot dogs experience, so I went ahead. It still smelled like it did right out of the package, which was a little disappointing. They were very hot, and I used my knife to cut off a chunk. It was super rubbery, and actually took two tries to get through the top part of the skin. Once I got a bite-sized chunk separated from the rest of the dog, I took a good look at it. It was orange. Very orange. In discussions following this experience, I was reminded that the pink of standard hot dogs is chemically enhanced, but still... couldn't they have worked a little harder to get that nice chemically pink in these? Orange! I steeled myself and popped it into my mouth.
Texture - Very rubbery, which didn't improve during the chewing.
Flavor - It tasted like it smelled, kind of soy-sauce-ish
I fed a piece to my wife as well, and she agreed with the foulness of this experience. Luckily, we had a regular beef hot dog in the fridge, so our dinner wasn't completely ruined, but we threw out the Smart Dogs. Next time, I will try boiling them to see if that improves the experience. See what happens here.
Final grade for this attempt: F