I've tasted and written about almost every different Greek-rooted hot dog sauce in the country here on Hot Dog of the Week from Cincinnati to Detroit, New York to Alabama. But one glaring omission from my regional meat sauce knowledge was Rochester Beef Hot Sauce, an integral ingredient of Rochester's famous Garbage Plate, and also an essential topping for Rochester's local Zweigle's Dogs, split and flat-grilled, covered in sauce and known as Texas Hots or simply Hots.
Jim at Hot Top Foods, who's bringing Rochester Beef Hot Sauce to a larger audience with his shelf-stable Rochester Plate Sauce (don't call it a Garbage Plate unless you want trouble from Nick Tahou Hots, the originator and trademark holder of the term) sent me a plethora of different Rochester sauces to compare, and I have to say I was pretty blown away by how different they are from anything else I've had.
Sure, there's the familiar Greek hot sauce spices (allspice and clove) in a couple of these - none whatsoever in a few of them too - but definitely in the background. Many are spiked with worcestershire, tamarind and vinegar, and boosted with loads of lard or even butter, ensuring that pools of grease run off of the sauce, mix with the mustard, and soak into the bun.
These are also really different from each other, but all of them really powerful - not so much spicy-hot but just intense, something you would want to eat a bowl of on it's own about as much as you would want to drink a glass of mustard.
When you taste it on the dogs, it all makes sense. The flavor packed, greasy sauce works great with griddle-charred, slightly sweet, bright flavor of the Zweigle's dogs - the sum of the parts making this wildly different than your average chili dog.
About the author: Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.