The Truth About The Latest Trend In Hot Dogs

There are no shortage of ways to enjoy a hot dog, whether adorned with a simple layer of ketchup or piled high with the works. While hot dog toppings can vary region to region — from a Chicago dog topped with peppers, pickles, relish, mustard, and onions to a Cincinnati Coney laden with chili and shredded cheese — a new kind of hot dog that has recently taken social media by storm is unlike any other sausage around.

Rastelli's, a New Jersey-based butcher shop, is attempting to reinvent the grilling classic by unleashing a new variety of flat, round hot dog patties — more reminiscent of a burger than a traditional frankfurter. The flattened hot dogs, which are designed to fit a burger bun, are priced at $10 for four "round dogs" that weigh in at 3 ounces a piece (about the equivalent of two standard hot dogs).

While these peculiar patties may leave many hot dog fans scratching their heads, on its website, Rastelli's notes the numerous benefits of the unique dogs. "Run out of hot dog buns? No problem. Our Round Dog is everything you love in a hot dog in the shape of a burger," the company notes, adding that the "ridge edges make for perfect grilling and large surface area means more space for condiments."

In a statement to Food & Wine, Rastelli's credited customers for the inspiration behind their quirky patties. "Like many people, our customers were accustomed to slicing their hot dog down the middle before grilling to increase surface area for caramelization and flavor," a Rastelli's spokesperson said. So, the butcher decided to skip the middleman and craft a variety of hot dog that could get caramelized on nearly the entire surface area.

The new hot dog is shaking up the grilling world

Rastelli's round hot dogs first gained widespread social media attention after Twitter user @Mariayagoda — a senior editor at Food & Wine — tweeted a photo of the peculiar patties, which received over 2,000 likes and 600 retweets. "I've just been informed that round hot dog burgers exist and I am LOSING IT," the caption read.

Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, applauded the innovation in hot dog technology. "The hot dog patties are a wonderful sales creation. It's great that someone has developed a marketing tool for another way to enjoy hot dogs," Mittenthal told Fox News. But Mittenthal also states the obvious: "The flat hot dogs are also known as bologna" as "bologna is essentially a very large hot dog that is sliced into slices."

However, Rastelli's defended itself against the claims it is merely rebranding bologna, clarifying that their flat hot dogs are made with premium pork and Black Angus beef that have been chopped together, rather than emulsified mystery meat that has been encased in a collagen casing. This chopped meat is then sealed in casing and "smoked ... with a proprietary blend of woods, such as chicory, and later finished in the oven."

While these nontraditional dogs may not win over the hot dog purists of the world, Rastelli's believes it's paving the way to a new frontier of hot dog innovation: "Flat for more surface area, easier condiment-holding ability, and no casing. And now we only have to buy one type of bun when we bbq."