I didn't decide out of nowhere to travel around MLB's ballparks and eat giant food, you know. There was an origin point for this whole idea that was much smaller in scale -- the idea that is, not the food -- and it's located in Arizona at Chase Field. After downing a two-foot Korean sandwich, a triple-decker grilled cheese, and a four-pound burger, it was time to scarf down the concession that got this whole thing moving:
That is the D-Bat Dog, apparently because the Diamondbacks' concession people think this 18-inch corn dog looks like a baseball bat. In reality it looks like a breaded horse penis, but if you name it the Horse Dick Dog chances are good you will not sell hundreds of them per game.
Or maybe you will, considering this is the first of the enormous ballpark foods I've consumed that other people at the game I attended were also ordering on purpose. It was the first place where people didn't look at me strangely for ordering the monster of the week, and I still haven't decided if that's a comforting thought or not.
So, what'd I think of the D-Bat Dog? Thanks to help from the Internet's and Arizona's Eric Longenhagen, y'all get to find out.
Review: The D-Bat Dog
How It Was Made
The D-Bat Dog is sold at one concession stand in Chase Field, but it's hard to miss. They have one on display in the food case on the counter, and it's actually listed as a menu item on the board alongside foods that are only meant to kill you slowly instead of quickly -- I'm only half-kidding, because the D-Bat Dog comes in around 3,000 calories. After the debacle at Tropicana Field, I went straight to the customer care center to ask them where you could get it instead of wasting time doing laps around the stadium. They not only knew where to find it, but gave me clear directions to said concession stand.
I knew it was the right place when people with D-Bat Dogs walked by me, which gave me a brief sense of relief followed by dread: What if they ran out of 18-inch corn dogs before I could get a hold of one? This wasn't just paranoia, either: the Diamondbacks ran out of D-Bat Dogs on Opening Day after selling 300 of them, and back in April when people were still counting this sort of thing, they were selling between 120 and 300 per game.
When they run out, they run out, because it's a two-day process to make a D-Bat Dog. Michael Snoke, the executive chef for concession company Levy Restaurants, explained as much a few weeks into his creation's life, with the main reason being that the D-Bat Dog needs to be frozen overnight before it can be cooked, but only after they hollow out the very middle with a soda straw so hot dog guts can be replaced by cheese.
What's a little strange, besides that sentence you just read, is that almost everything that goes into the D-Bat Dog does so because it's the only way to make it work. The hot dog is 18 inches because that's as much as the Chase Field deep fryers could fit. The six slices of bacon wrapped around the hot dog exist not so much for taste, but because they allowed for melted cheese to live inside the hot dog: The bacon holds the insides together so that the cheese doesn't just leak out of the corn dog. Even the pound of french fries is there mostly for the sake of presentation, as they allow the D-Bat Dog to rest atop a mound of fried garnish.
The tray did the job of getting the D-Bat Dog to my seat safely well enough, but I would have felt safer if they slapped a handle on top of it and called it a carrying case instead. This thing is big enough for that, so maybe look into it for 2015, Diamondbacks.
The First Bite
I had no idea what this was going to taste like. Corn dogs can be great or terrible depending on how the batter tastes and the quality of the hot dog inside, and Arizona just had to go and add more variables into the mix that could potentially confuse things further:
Luckily, the batter had the sweetness that makes a corn dog a must-eat item, and the hot dog was plump and juicy. While the fried batter was delicious, it was dry to the point that its dryness outweighed both the juiciness of the hot dog and the gooey cheese contained within. With a regular size corn dog, that's maybe not an issue, but I was going to have to eat two-thirds of this thing before it was a regular size.
I barely noticed the bacon, not just on the first bite, but during the entire meal. That's a positive, though, when you consider that the star of a corn dog should be the dog and the fried goodness. The cheese was your typical gooey orange gloop, and it oozed a bit, but not to the point where it was falling out of the sandwich or all over me.
This Corn Dog Is Wrong
The laws of physics and probably nature say that the D-Bat Dog should not be. There's a little stick stuck in the bottom so you can hold the D-Bat Dog to eat it like a regular corn dog, but you can't actually hold it to eat it, or else gravity will lay waste to your not at all regular corn dog.
This happened after I had already eaten roughly one-third of the entire thing, too. There's a reason I had to pick it up with two hands for the first bite, because otherwise I would be wearing D-Bat Dog instead of eating it.
The bacon actually justified its existence when this happened, as it didn't rip as easily as the batter or even the hot dog. That kept the D-Bat Dog from just splitting completely in half and falling on the ground or in my lap or anywhere that wasn't my mouth. Thanks, bacon, you're a true friend (again).
Fries Should Not Be Garnish
I said earlier the fries were basically a one-pound garnish, and that's probably what they were best for. Taste is subjective and all, but they were essentially unsalted and a bit too potato-y when served with 18 inches of fried batter. They would have been better had they been maybe a little thinner to separate them from the fried batter some more, with a bit more salt on them, or any salt, really. I'll admit that all I could taste by the halfway point was corn dog batter, but that's even more reason to make the fries worthwhile. They could serve as a moment of respite for those who don't want to just pound through this enormity in one go.
Instead, I had to rely on radioactive cheese to break up the batter taste:
There was also a spicy mustard and spicy ketchup to dip into, once the corn dog got to a size where that wasn't an accident waiting to happen. The mustard was solid, while the ketchup didn't deliver on the spiciness its title alluded to, so I stuck with the former during the stretch run.
It's Like A Regular Corn Dog Now!
It took until I had eaten basically a foot of bacon-and-cheese-stuffed corn dog to get there, but eventually, this thing was knocked down to Standard Corn Dog size:
The batter had bunched up at the end, so bacon was exposed and the last few bites were guaranteed to be heavy on the fried goodness. I had slowed my pace a bit from the start, during which I had erased six inches of this thing in short order, but that's mostly because I didn't have to go nuts. This wasn't a timed challenge, and there was a whole lot of baseball left: I decided to take my time and enjoy what was still (surprisingly) an enjoyable concession.
The Last Bite
I know it looks like I'm tired of the D-Bat Dog in this last bite video, but I promise, I was far more tired of being awake in general. I don't know how baseball players fly across the country late at night or early in the morning and then play baseball later that day. Maybe they take naps? I should take naps.
Uh, right. Last bite. Sorry.
You probably didn't need me to tell you that I didn't bother with what fries were left over. We picked at them a little bit, but they just weren't good enough to make any real effort with. It's okay, though, as I had just managed to down a pound of corn dog stuffed with goodies and didn't entirely hate myself for it.
Was the D-Bat Dog worth it? As it was just $25, yes, it's worth it financially. You get a pound of fries in addition to the dog itself, so if you want them, cool. If not, you have a pound and 18 inches of corn dog anyway, why do you even need those fries besides for aesthetics? Is the D-Bat Dog worth it for the taste, though? I'm not a huge fan of corn dogs -- I like them, but I don't go out of my way to get them except for this particular time where I traveled all the way across the country and back to see what was up -- so I wasn't sure how I would feel about this. I enjoyed it, though. Even though the batter was dry and there was so much of it, a combination of sips of water and dips of mustard made it palatable from start to finish.
If you like corn dogs and have $25 to throw at one, then by all means grab a D-Bat Dog. They're limited to a few hundred per game, but it's also clearly become part of the Chase Field experience now given how many people I saw waiting in line or walking around with their own. If you want to go full Phoenix on your Diamondbacks visit, you're going to need to go big with your corn dog. Just make sure you have something to drink with it, or you will regret a whole lot about your evening.