Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog, but sometimes it’s made of fish. Wild Grill Foods, a Eugene-based company specializing in seafood products, is now distributing its salmon dogs in local stores.
Patrick Sullivan says his company began in the 1970s with the philosophy that some people got intimidated because they just didn’t know how to cook fish, and by making fish products in a “familiar form” such as burgers, more people would feel capable of cooking it. He says this healthier protein philosophy doesn’t end with form; they strive to keep products low in sodium and calories.
Sullivan says Wild Grill has been kicking around the idea for salmon hot dogs for years, but it was only recently that the different grinding and casing processes fell into place. “It took us four years to get the casing,” which is a gel made of brown seaweed from the coastal waters off Norway, he says. “Even though it’s made from seaweed, it’s clear, odorless and tasteless.” He says one of the reasons Wild Grill settled on the method is that it doesn’t use collagen, an animal protein he describes as an “environmental disaster.”
Finally, the fish: The salmon are from Alaska, plus some farm-raised Atlantic salmon. “For 20 years we stayed away from farmed fish,” he says, but adds that these days, it’s possible to find a much better product.
The salmon dogs come in different flavor profiles such as jalapeño and Napa. And salmon isn’t the only type of fish that Wild Grill is turning oblong; they also make a chorizo product from catfish. “Pork and catfish are both a little greasy,” Sullivan says, and that made catfish a good texture and flavor for chorizo.
Wild Grill products can be found in most local natural foods stores, including Market of Choice and Kiva.
Photo by Trask Bedortha