The Dodgers have Dodger Dogs, the Cubs have Chicago-style dogs and the Texas Rangers have the Boomstick, a 2-foot-long hot dog smothered in chili and nacho cheese.
Now Kansas City’s Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has an official hot dog. The Monarch, unveiled last month, consists of a Farmland Jumbo Frank topped with pulled pork, shredded cheddar cheese, bacon, red onions, jalapeños and a generous drizzle of Gates Sweet & Mild sauce. The barbecue-inspired dog was named after the Kansas City Monarchs and created in partnership with Hy-Vee.
I tried one and liked the combination of salty bacon, sweet sauce and hot jalapeños. But with all that sauce and pulled pork, the Monarch can be messy: It’s a three-napkin situation.
It definitely lives up to its name, says the museum’s president, Bob Kendrick.
“The Monarchs are one of the greatest baseball franchises in history,” Kendrick said. “You can’t be called the Monarch if you’re not good.”
The new Monarch dog will be available at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s 2014 Heart of America Hot Dog Festival on Aug. 2. The festival, which debuted last year, features a family-friendly carnival atmosphere and live music by Morris Day and the Time. Tickets cost $10 in advance at hoahotdogfestival.com or $15 at the door.
But you don’t have to wait a month to eat a killer hot dog in Kansas City. Here are four home run-hitting franks and sausages to try this summer.
One of the best hot dogs you’ll find in the Kansas City area is served out of an old-school butcher shop in Leawood. Fritz’s Meats, 10326 State Line Road, wraps a hefty frank in bacon, fries it, then tops the whole thing with shredded lettuce, mayo and tomato slices to make its Hot Dog BLT.
The hot dog-sandwich hybrid costs $4. I like the classic version, made with a pork and beef hot dog, but you can also order it with an all-beef hot dog, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, barbecue pork sausage or bratwurst.
Don’t leave without buying a package of Fritz’s homemade chorizo ($5.29 per pound), which adds a spicy kick to scrambled eggs.
When the World Cup started last month, I decided to check out Taste of Brazil, 25 E. Third St. in the City Market, for, well, a taste of Brazil. The server-recommended Porcao sandwich ($6.50) featured Brazilian pork sausage seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and a touch of smoke flavoring.
Slices of the sausage were served on a crusty roll with plenty of oozy provolone cheese and a side of chimichurri sauce made with mayo and fresh herbs. Because the sandwich was so filling, I ordered fresh coconut water ($5) on the side.
The coconut water came in — surprise! — a real coconut. When I had sipped the last drop of clean, pure water, owner Marco Rabello split open the coconut with a machete and showed me how to scoop out the tender flesh with a sharp wedge of shell.
Follow the hickory smoke to the food stand outside McGonigle’s, 1307 W. 79th St., and you’ll find barbecue bliss. The Italian sausage sandwich ($5.99) wedges a Lincoln Log-style stack of fresh and snappy sliced sausage into a pillowy bun.
The smoked pork sausage is seasoned with salt, pepper, fennel seeds, red bell peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper. You can order it with sweet or hot sauce — but the sweet seems to be the popular pick.
Scimeca’s Italian Sausage
One of my favorite things about Boulevardia was the food trucks parked throughout the festival grounds. I stopped by the Scimeca’s Sausage stand for a charred Italian sausage studded with lots of fennel seeds. The $6 sausage was big enough to share and topped with lots of sauteed onions and bell peppers. It was perfection with a side of Pale Ale. Scimeca’s products are sold at area markets and at many special events and festivals.