The "Mutt Barkus" Dog: August Special at James Coney Island

Every day, sometimes twice a day, I pass by James Coney Island and force myself to resist the siren's call of their various Coney specials. A hot dog a day does not keep the doctor away or help you avoid heartburn during your run the next morning.

But heartburn be damned. As part of JCI's monthly "Chefs and Show Dogs" series, Matt Marcus of the venerable Eatsie Boys, has created the "Mutt Barkus Dog," a smoked beef sausage housed in a jalapeno-cheddar bun (courtesy of Slow Dough) and loaded with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, fried onion strings, coleslaw, and jalapenos.

I'll take two, please.

Or not. When I stopped by James Coney Island this past weekend, I had only a ten in my wallet, so I took that as a sign from God that the Mutt Barkus was a dog best enjoyed in a single serving. Besides, if I really liked it, I had all of August to return for second, third, fourth, etc. helpings.

In the short amount of time it took to make my hot dog, I had an exceedingly pleasant conversation with the manager of that James Coney Island location and thus left doubly cheerful due to this friendly interaction and the prospect of sinking my canines into the Mutt Barkus.

Which I did, again and again and again, sitting at my dining room table. The plump sausage, glistening with the faintest sheen of oil, was taut and bursting with savory juice, which oozed at will into the chewy cheese-laced bun. The toppings were a wonderful cornucopia of seasonings and textures, from the crunchy, vinegary coleslaw to the creamy brown-sugary barbecue sauce to the sharp, searing jalapeno rings and the sweet-salty onion strings.

Bcause I arrived home in such good spirits, I offered my husband half of the Mutt Barkus before I started eating and he declined thank God! I would have had to rescind the offer and people, I've found, don't respond well to food teases. Next time, I will have to get two Mutt Barkus dogs--no, wait, three, just in case I am once again feeling generous.

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