When you travel to Maine it’s a good idea to have a list in your head of the distinctively Maine foods that you should have. Lobster, obviously. Oysters? Yes. How about a can of Moxie and a delicious whoopie pie?
Or how about a red hot dog?
You didn’t read that wrong – don’t be surprised if you stop off at a roadside eatery, order a hot dog and it comes to you in a toasted bun (like the ones used for another Maine food requirement, the lobster roll), and the hot dog is as red as a ripe tomato.
In Maine these red dogs are referred to as red snappers (in reference to the sound they make when you bite into one), and made by W.A. Bean and Sons, who have called Bangor their home since 1968. Their unique dogs use casings that are dyed red, and stories vary as to why they sport this distinctive color, from weird legends to the simple “we don’t want them to look gray” explanation. No matter, these culinary curiosities are quirky Maine through and through. Just enjoy. Why ask why?
Last year the red snapper got the quintessential Maine treatment by getting its own festival in Dexter, just northwest of Bangor. But if you can’t make the fest, you can always stop in to a Maine grocery store to get a pack – or pop in to Flo’s in Cape Neddick, who have been serving hot dogs of all varieties since 1959.
But really, despite their strange appearance the best thing about red snappers is simple: Regardless of color, they taste great.
© 2020 Maine Office of Tourism