Take this Hot Dog and Make It
It’s a business that’s been around for 150 years. W.A. Bean in Bangor sells all kinds of meat products, from sausage to steak.In this edition of Take This Job and Love It, Sharon Pelletier decided to try making one of their most famous, the red hot dog.There used to be quite a few hot dog makers in Maine, but now W.A. Bean is the last in the state.Sharon went to their factory in Bangor to find out what keeps them going, and what exactly they put in hot dogs?”When people have sterotypes about what goes into hot dogs, those are not true. Well not for our hot dogs, we make a more expensive hot dog, a higher end hot dog.”And when buying a hot dog, it’s wise to choose the Cadillac version. That is probably one of the reasons W.A. Bean has been around for a century and a half. They offer quality products.”I started in 1947″Albert Bean has seen a lot of changes in this family business over that time, but at least one constant, their red hots. Today, I’ll get to make some. “Oh this is a good look isn’t it.”Unfortunately that means I have to wear a hair net, but then it’s off to the kitchen.”This is lean pork trim, 80% lean pork”First step in the process mix the ingredients, which are, ground pork, ground beef, and some spices.”How long does it take, just a few minutes”It turns into what they call a batter. It amazingly looks like one too.Then we meet Gladys, who’s worked here for more than 11 years.”What you’re gonna do is you have a little piece hanging out.”She operates the machine that makes the hot dogs. She shows me how it’s done, then lets me try.”This is natural casing, which is basically sheep intestines.”Best not to think of that too much.”This is kind of a messy job huh. It sure is”First attempt goes badly, meat batter everywhere.”I’m sorry. The casings broke, it’s not my fault.”This time I did it. Well maybe not, so I move on to the next job.”What they call stripping and tying is what it’s called.”I need to check the dogs, make sure they’re up to standard, and tie off any loose ends.”It’s hard to tie a knot in this, it’s all slimy.”"I think I ruined this one, I keep breaking them.I sure was slowing down production.”Hey not bad, now you need a knife.”I think he was just being kind, because later the truth came out.”So my hot dogs are going to be free. Maybe, ha ha.”Time to let the experts do the work. Have you noticed these red hots, aren’t looking very red. That comes a little later. After the dogs have cooked for a while, they’re put into another oven.”Then what we do is we add the color”They get a shower and a few minutes later they have their famous coloring.It’s a product that the employees really do take pride in.”Our hot dogs are very good. It’s all whole meat.”They must be, 400,000 pounds of them were sold last year.Now it’s time to find out if company President, David Bean, thought my effort today was up to par with his product.I think you did a great job. Another 6 months and you’d be trained.”They sell their hot dogs under two labels, W.A. Bean and Rice’s Hot dogs. You can find them in grocery stores and at their retail shop at their Bangor factory.