Yesterday, we brought with us good tidings of a new, ridiculously over-the-top Guy Fieri concoction: an Apple Pie Hot Dog, created in partnership with Chevrolet to be served up at the MLB at Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa this Thursday. It’s a nod to classic Chevy TV ads from the 1970s that heralded all of America’s favorite things: “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet.” The result is a sort of deranged hot pocket with lots of bells and whistles, and only the press release description can adequately cover them all:
The one-of-a-kind recipe will feature an all-beef hot dog, apple pie filling, and Fieri’s signature bacon jam, enveloped in flaky pie crust, and topped with an apple mustard drizzle, apple pie spice, and demerara sugar.
The Takeout has reiterated again and again that Guy Fieri is a culinary force worth paying attention to, and this hot dog sounds less like an experiment gone wrong and more like a snack that would be right at home on Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen menu. (I should know. I got the Trash Can Nachos twice in one weekend.) Sadly, it’s only being served up at the Field of Dreams event in Iowa—but knowing The Takeout’s devotion to the Mayor of Flavortown, Chevrolet sent a frozen, fully assembled Apple Pie Hot Dog by mail for an exclusive taste test. It’s not often in life that one is sent a special dry-ice-cradled rush package full of meat and pastry dough from a leading automobile manufacturer, and when it happens, we all must savor the moment. I count my blessings every day.
Despite his general aesthetics, any fan can tell you that Guy Fieri has legitimate cooking chops. He has run restaurants, owns a winery, and possesses a nuanced understanding of what makes a dish like braised oxtail great. (Seriously. If you ever want to see this man dance around a restaurant kitchen with unbridled glee, watch any episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives where someone’s dishing up oxtail.) But something I think we downplay in the Guy Fieri biography is that he has a degree in hotel management—that is, he knows how to maximize customer satisfaction. If we count both Chevrolet and visitors to the ballpark as Fieri’s “clients” in this scenario, then everyone’s getting what they want: Chevy gets to advertise by promoting a splashy new menu item, baseball fans get the novelty of trying an endlessly Instagrammable concession stand treat, and Fieri gets to reinforce his personal brand as someone who’s always having fun with food. Already, the Apple Pie Hot Dog is even more American than intended.
But beyond its flashiness, how does this thing taste? I was worried that the demerara sugar topping, apple pie filling, and both the honey and brown sugar within the bacon jam spread were going to aim for the “sweet and savory” pocket but instead just result in an inedible mass of gloppy, sickly sweet goo. Yet while there was plenty of goo involved, it was a delight through and through.
After an 8-minute stint in the oven, the pie dog had my kitchen smelling amazing, and it was ready to be dressed with apple mustard—even the mustard is sweet!—and crumbled-up bacon bits. Chevrolet had thought of every last culinary detail, sending the apple mustard in a tiny squeeze bottle for maximum drizzle precision. As soon as I held up the finished product for a photo, the gray sky outside broke into brilliant sunshine. It was as if heaven, or at least the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson, was smiling down upon the great American innovation that lay on the sheet pan.
The interior of the Apple Pie Hot Dog is generously appointed with lots of apple pie filling and bacon jam, which is equal parts wonderful and perilous; you have to eat fast or the weighty, liquidy interior will cause the whole thing to collapse. (I imagine they’ll be served in cardboard sleeves at the ballpark in Dyersville, minimizing this issue.) The jam and pie filling aren’t even overly sweet; instead, the sweetness tastes—dare I say it?—natural, never standing out too starkly against the buttery flavors of the pastry shell. Thus, the hot dog, as salty as a hot dog ought to be, isn’t clanging against candy-sweet jam.
The apple mustard is simply equal parts apple pie filling and mustard, a revelation that made me laugh out loud when we shared the recipe yesterday. But even this proves to be a decision with real logic behind it, rather than just shock value. After taking a bite of the mustard, it momentarily feels like it’s about to drown out all the other flavors with its assertive tang, but then the pie filling and jam flavors all rush in at the end, bridged by the apple in both the mustard and the pastry.
The only element of the Apple Pie Hot Dog that doesn’t need to be here at all is the bacon crumble. The hot dog accomplishes everything the bacon does already, from a flavor standpoint, and the jagged crumbles sit too precariously on top of the pastry, threatening to fall off and carry splotches of apple mustard along with them. Everything else, though, seems surprisingly balanced. There’s never a dry bite of pie, never an overpowering smack of mustard. Just as the Apple Pie Hot Dog weds two iconic American foods, so Guy Fieri has married sensationalism with sound gastronomic principles. It’s almost like it was whispered in the cornfields: If you bake it, they will come.