100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 74, Pheasant Dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.
Photos by Troy Fields
One doesn't find pheasant much around Houston anymore, which is a shame. It's some good meat. The bird tastes -- as the saying goes -- like chicken, but with a slightly gamier flavor that reflects its wild roots. And at Sammy's Wild Game Grill, the pheasant hot dogs have a strikingly buttery flavor to them that comes after a sweet snap through the casing of the sausage itself. It's no surprise that the menu lists these dogs as the "chef's favorite."
At this fun and quirky Washington Avenue eatery, all of the dogs and burgers are made with exotic meats -- I recommend the elk chili-cheese fries with your pheasant dog, when they're on the menu -- although some are better than others. I've never been keen on the overly grassy flavor of buffalo, but I love the musky taste of venison. Your mileage may vary, of course, but the point is that you can take them all on a test drive here.
My favorite way to enjoy a pheasant dog, which is encased in a Slow Dough pretzel bun and topped with your choice of offerings such as sauerkraut or jalapeños, is with copious amounts of Sammy's signature, house-made ghost pepper sauce on top.
The almost creamy, yellow-orange salsa is unabashedly made from the Bhut Jolokia chili pepper -- a.k.a. ghost pepper -- although you'd never know that this sauce comes from one of the hottest peppers on record. Instead, the sauce distills all the flavor of the ghost pepper and leaves behind only trace amounts of that Guinness World Record-winning heat. It's all warm, musky flavors of dusky spices like cumin at first before giving way to bright, sweet, citrusy punches that taste like ruby red grapefruit slices wrapped around a silver ballpeen hammer. It's a spike and a rush of flavor and then pain that's thoroughly intoxicating.
The list so far:
No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
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