Sausage Party: Primo’s Gourmet Hot Dogs, Corn Exchange, Leeds
If you read, write or tweet about beer it’s more than likely that you think about what you consume generally. Food and drink is not merely fuel, but an end in itself. Which is a nice way to characterise what might be regarded by some as an eating disorder*.
Much in the way a smoker will tell you that there’s nothing better than a coffee and a cigarette, nothing goes as well with beer than food that is high in salt and saturated fats, particularly porcine products: scotch eggs; pork pies; black pudding; chorizo; bacon butties; roast pork sandwiches with crackling; pork belly. Germany is a wonderful country but it has given the world no greater gift than the combination of beer and sausages, and I’m looking forward to this year’s Leeds Christmas market already.
The humble hot dog, whether beef or pork, is also a fine companion to a good hoppy beer; perhaps more reliant on toppings for taste, but doing a solid job in the body’s engine room, taking the weight of the alcohol. North Bar, which provides good, quick and simple food prepared by the bar staff, do hot dogs with cheese and salami if you like. But for the main event I’d encourage you to visit Primo’s Gourmet Hot Dogs in Leeds Corn Exchange.
The jumbo frankfurters in Primo’s find themselves dressed to the nines in the finest American fashion. After many hours in front of fatty, cheesy foodporn that is Man v Food, veering between wonder, lust, revulsion and self-loathing, I couldn’t resist the Dodge City, a bockwurst sausage with beef chilli, West Virginia coleslaw and Monterey Jack. It was a top dog, but only one of an array of classic or spicy options. You can even construct your own, using a base of one of six types of sausage, including all-beef, chorizo or Lincolnshire.
Although Primos is more of a cafe, happily, as Neil has reported, there are also some great American beers imported by James Clay to go with your sausage. The two available when I called in recently were Brooklyn Lager and Dixie Lager. I went for the Dixie for the novelty, which was a light and pleasant pilsnery pilsner. Dixie was apparently an established New Orleans craft brewery which was very badly hit by Hurricane Katrina, and the beers are therefore contract brewed elsewhere. This one was apparently brewed in the EU.
Next time I think I would opt for the Brooklyn Lager. Kate and I have fallen back in love with this beer recently, and they also went down well on my stag do. The caramelly but light maltiness and that nice subtle kick of Cascade hops that balances the herbal noble hop flavours makes it a great gateway beer, a great fridge beer and a great food beer.
For me, Primo’s is a reminder of some of the great American bar food I enjoyed in New York. It’s really nice to have the beer to go with it; two simple pleasures done well.
* I’m constantly surprised that more beer geeks – particularly those who hold down desk jobs like me, rather than the hardworking ones who actually schlep sacks of malt, crates of bottles and barrels about all day – are as lithe as they are. Many of them are younger than me, however, so perhaps middle age will wreak its horrendous revenge. Scratchingfreude.