Rastelli’s round dogs arrive frozen. The moment we opened the package, we smelled the round dogs’ sweet-and-salty aroma. Round dogs can be grilled, boiled, air-fried, broiled or pan-fried, but Rastelli recommends grilling them to get the most drool-worthy caramelization. We fired up our grill pan and popped one of the patties on after a quick defrosting in the microwave. They have wavy edges and grooves that will fit right onto your grill’s grates or ridges.
The first pro we noticed was how much surface area makes direct contact with the grill. With a standard hot dog, only one tiny sliver gets charred to smoky perfection. With a round dog, there’s way more caramelized meaty goodness to savor on each side. (It’s the same reason many cooks butterfly their hot dogs before grilling them.) Their sizzle is just as intense as a burger, and TBH, the round dog became ten times more appetizing to us once we heard it sing.
It took about six minutes to cook through (though we could totally get behind leaving them on even longer for an extra dark char). We popped it on a burger bun (imagine hosting a barbecue and only needing to buy *one* type of bun!), slathered on our favorite spicy mustard and took a bite. In short, it’s a pretty damn tasty hot dog. You can truly taste the quality of the meat and it has a delightfully sweet smokiness that’s enhanced even further once it’s charred.
They’re significantly bigger than standard hot dogs, about twice the weight to be exact. So, if you’re one of those people who considers weenies to be nothing more than an appetizer for your cheeseburger, you may find that they take up too much precious stomach space to eat a whole one. But to that we say: Split it with a friend, friend. (You can also follow Rastelli’s lead by cutting them up for casseroles and mac and cheese instead.)
The main downside for us was the lack of snap. Because only the outer rim of the round dog is covered in casing, it’s softer in texture and doesn’t have that signature juicy “crunch” you may expect from a standard dog. That’s not to say that it’s totally snap-free—the texture is honestly pretty on par with regular dogs. Plus, less casing is a price you may be willing to pay for an extra-caramelized flavor and more condiments. “Unlike standard hot dogs, the Round Dog has no casing,” says Rastelli, “which allows the meat to become slightly more permeable, so condiment flavors can really sink in, and helps reduce the chances of choking.” So, slather it in everything from ketchup to relish for maximum flavor.
Overall, the round dogs were a unique edible experience that pushed us out of our comfort zone in a delicious way. As long as you’re willing to sacrifice snappiness for condiments and char, the round dogs are far from an abomination. In fact, they’re…pretty darn ingenious.“Some people can be skeptical at first,” says Rastelli, "but once you try them, it’s hard to go back to a standard dog. They are just unique, kid-friendly and at the end of the day, fun.”
Go ahead and add a pack to your virtual shopping cart for your next barbecue. You know you want to.