The best hot dog I ever had in my life was at Wrigley Field in Chicago in June of 1990. I was 18 years old, the weather was warm and sunny, the Cubs were winning, Harry Caray was at the pinnacle of his career singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the 7th inning stretch, and that wonderful hot dog had been boiling in the same hot dog water since spring training. Delicious!
So, to re-create that extremely happy hot dog experience would be impossible. Unless, of course, we figure out some way to make me a young man again, and bring Harry Caray back from the dead. Not likely going to happen. But, we can get close. And, we can do it without the risk of salmonella poisoning!
Aside from the giant, industrial boilers used at stadiums, there are generally only two types of hot dog machines currently available; steamers and roller grills. While both produce exemplary hot dogs, there are pronounced differences between the two. Let's explore these differences, and later, we can discuss why the Cubs have already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Steamer-style hot dog machines work by boiling water in a reservoir at the bottom of the machine. As the steam escapes this reservoir, it fills the cabinet of the unit, rapidly steam-cooking the hot dogs. With this method, you can cook a much larger number of hotdogs (up to 200 at once) and also steam the buns (up to 40 at once). This will allow you to easily provide food for large events, or keep hot fresh-tasting dogs on hand for longer periods of time due to the stability of heat provided inside the cabinet, and because your hot dogs won't dry out after a few hours (they are being kept warm by steam, after all).
Roller grill type machines slowly rotate your hot dogs, cooking them evenly on the entire surface. Often, the flavor of roller-cooked dogs is preferred because the cooking process brings out more complex flavors of the meat. Though, these machines generally do not have the much larger capacity of the steamer style units. Additionally, some machines have independent heating controls, allowing a "hold temperature" to be kept. This will keep your roller-cooked hot dogs tasting fresh for a few hours. One great option to be explored with roller-style grills is using this style of cooker to heat up alternate foods like taquitos or sausages which do not benefit from steam-cooking.
There are certainly advantages to both styles of machines, and now that you know the difference, you can make a much more informed purchase, and get a machine that is right for you. As always, if you ever have any questions that need answered, you can call me, the King of Pop..Corn. 888-790-6070