There are few acts so graceless as eating a bacon-wrapped hot dog from Bowers Gourmet Sausages (@BowersSausages). While Los Angeles has no shortage of sausage trucks (Dogzilla, Dogtown Dogs, Germany's Famous Bratwurst, Grindhaus and Let's Be Frank, to name a few), none seem as determined as Bowers to turn the concept into an extended “that's what she said” joke. Not even the Greasy Wiener. Whatever version of the street dog you may know from fry tables or shopping carts parked outside nightclubs, Bowers brings you the bacon-wrapped hot dog on steroids.
Actually, it's not a hot dog but a massive knackwurst, about 6-inches long, 2-inches in diameter and heavy as a glass paperweight. Open wide and suppress your gag reflex; wrapping your mouth around the entire sausage is nearly impossible and definitely vulgar. In case you missed that innuendo, it's even called The Chubby.
The casing has a great snap, yielding to a soft, pink interior seasoned with garlic and plenty of salt. The bacon is average; no more, no less. $7 may sound like a lot for a sausage, but this is no standard hot dog. We don't imagine Kobayashi easily snapping them in half, dunking them in water and swallowing them by the dozen. The Chubby is a good deal, though the accoutrements it comes with, like any Bowers sausage, are largely superfluous. These sausages are so good that beyond grilled onions and peppers, we don't need “the works.” Forget the rubbery, out-of-season tomatoes and large, curling leaf of lettuce. This is no Chicago dog. Why try to be one? Even the layer of crisp, fried cheese that lines the dense bun — fried cheese! lining the bun!! — gets lost underneath the mammoth tube of meat.
The Bowers truck offers 10 sausage varieties, including German bratwurst, Mexican chorizo and Polish kielbasa ($6 each). There's even a tofu dog, though we don't imagine a lot of vegetarians patronizing such a meat-centric truck. We love the spicy chicken and shrimp sausage. It's thinner, perhaps a bit longer and definitely less picturesque than The Chubby, but it's also a lot more manageable. It's springy with a spicy kick and studded with whole shrimp. They're small, but they're in there.
We suggest sticking to the sausages at Bowers. The only drug in their Crack Fries ($3) is oil. These may be freshly cut, but are so greasy they could probably power a biodiesel car from Venice to Silver Lake. We could only eat a few before giving up, and we adore crisp, browned potatoes. For comparison, we headed to the nearby Grill 'Em All truck, where the fries were well-done without being unappealingly oily.
The Upshot: At Bowers, sausage is king. Skip “the works” and get any of their sausages with grilled onions and peppers. Impress your friends with your python-like ability to unhinge your jaw by swallowing the whole Chubby.