Few things bring people together like the love of food. By the same token, however, nothing can tear a group of people apart like the argument over the vernacular of what to call said food item.
Coney dog? Not where we come from -- long live the Michigan.
Fried dough and elephant ears and Beaver Tails... Oh, my!
Pop or cola? Not in our neck of the woods -- soda or bust.
But I digress.
There are a few foods out there, however, that are a household name; it doesn't matter where you are from, the product can't be argued. Amazingly, Malone is home to one of those products. The Glazier hot dog.
The Defining Characteristics
A hot dog is a hot dog is a hot dog... or so I thought. As soon as I started doing a little research on the subject it's easy to see that people have a love affair with the American classic. There is even an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to not just hot dogs, but also what seems like the infinite amount of variations of the backyard BBQ favorite.
Most people know the simple dog. It's a type of a sausage, usually pork or beef. What makes a Glazier dog different?
Immediately noticeable by its bright red casing, the Glazier hot dog is one of the best red hot dogs on the planet (or so I'm told--more on that in a bit). The hot dog has a natural casing which gives it a tell-tale "snap" when you bite into it, releasing all the flavorful juices of the dog. The dog has an extremely flavorful taste with a garlic undertone and a firm texture.
Most importantly, a true Glazier hot dog is manufactured in Upstate New York--Potsdam to be exact--and the company headquarters are in Malone!
The History of Glaziers
In 1903, Howard A. Glazier started a meat and grocery store in Owls Head. His son, Albon, would make deliveries out of it in the summer. After moving to Malone in 1918 and opening his own store on Main Street, Albon would eventually purchase an old cheese plant on Water Street (currently College Ave.), hire a German sausage maker, and incorporate Glazier Packing Company. It was the beginning of something great.
As the business flourished, Albon's son Everest joined the family business and managed it until he retired in 1971. His children, Howard, Ronald, John, and Mary Lee continued expanding the business, purchasing the McCarthy, Deno, and Coultry Meat Company in 1973 and continuing the expansion in 1991 with the purchase of the Pahler Packing Corp. in Potsdam, NY.
As Glazier's grew from a small grocery store into a sausage manufacturer and full-line food service distributor, the company saw the fifth generation of Glazier ownership when Shawn Glazier, John's son, came to the helm in 2005.
The Snap Heard 'Round the World
While Glazier's is a full service food distributor, the family business focuses mostly on serving their customers within a 100 mile radius... but that doesn't mean their product hasn't seen the shores of more than just the North American continent!
The famous Glazier hot dog and their other products--pickled polish sausage, pickled eggs, and slab bacon to name a few--can be found far and wide. Glazier's works with many other food distributors who pick up their product and bring it to markets across the states. It's not hard to find the famous Glazier's brand in many grocery stores outside of the Malone and Potsdam area. There is even an online store that ships around the world!
The second way that Glazier's products makes their way around, and by far my favorite, is their cash and carry store. While in there today to pick up my own package of hot dogs for the grill, I spoke with their customer service rep who told me that she has heard stories from older generations and all the places they shared their love of Glaziers. Moms, dads, and friends would send their loved ones the distinctive red hot dogs in care packages headed for various locales from military battleships to the jungles of Vietnam.
"There are people who travel and when they leave they have more slab bacon in the trunk of their car than they do luggage!" When the Potsdam plant makes between 4 to 5 million hot dogs a year, it's easy to see how quickly the Glaziers brand can spread.
Taking the Bite
As previously mentioned above, I was told that Glaziers are the best red hot dogs on the planet. The reason that I had to be told that was I had never tried one before! So it was time to bite the bullet, or dog if you will, and give them a try.
When I went to the cash and carry to discover more about Glazier I had to ask the all-important question--what's the best way to cook a hot dog? "Grill, for sure. You grill them until they split," I was told. To be on the safe side, when I asked if all hot dogs were pre-cooked I was assured they were. In fact, one of the customer service rep's favorite ways to eat a Glazier, other than grilling of course, was to cut open the package and eat them whole and cold.
Since I wanted to get the full experience, however, grilling was the way to go! After a few days of cold, today was a beautiful day that ended in some light flurries--perfect for outdoor grilling. (Side note: If you haven't grilled in the crisp air of winter in the North Country you are missing out.) I pulled the grill out of the shed and fired her up for a foray into the Glazier dog.
With my favorite beverage in hand and my silver tongs, I cooked the dogs while the snow fell around me. The smell was amazing and the sizzle titillating. I personally prefer my hot dogs to be a little charred and as I opened the grill I saw the perfect split of the natural casing that I was told to look for, a little bit of crisp char, and I knew it was time to give them a test.
Pure deliciousness. The red casing is just that--a casing--and the innards of the hot dog were to my surprise the standard color of a hot dog. The hint of garlic was there and it's true that the casing does bring a perfect snap to each bite while inclosing the flavors. The ketchup brought a little zest and by the end of my dinner, I knew why they are famous. Now when I head to family barbeques and friends' parties, I will take advantage of the fact that everyone in the North Country gives you the option--regular hot dog or Glaziers?
After all, it's a household name.
If you are interested in trying out some Glaziers for yourself, many local restaurants serve them on their menu! You can also pick the products up at the Malone cash and carry store. Try winter grilling for yourselves or head to Titus Mountain on February 27th for Glazier Day as the company puts on an outdoor barbeque and grills up the dogs themselves.
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