At the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, all-beef hot dogs, rib eye sandwiches, and hamburgers face new competition on the grill: Hemp Dawgs.
Hemp Dawgs are a Kentucky-based brand in a state fair without much Kentucky fare. In prior years, fair-goers have munched on Sysco beef trucked in from out of state. Even this year, the other options at the fair will not hail from the Bluegrass State.
Hemp Dawgs have a dash of hemp oil and a sprinkling of crushed hemp, the plant that also produces marijuana. However, hemp does not contain any THC, the chemical compound in marijuana. Trey Webb, who oversees production of 2,000 Hemp Dawgs from local steers, highlighted this distinction: “Some people will assume it tastes like marijuana, but there is a major difference. It has a nice, roasted nut flavor to it.”
By adding hemp to local meat, some Kentuckians hope to inform the public on the oft-misunderstood crop and to create a safe future for small, family-owned farms through the (hopefully lucrative) sale of hemp. Hemp Dawgs, however, faced an uphill battle to be included in the state fair.
The Food and Drug Administration does not allow marijuana as an ingredient in food, but did note in an email to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) that “hemp oil and hemp seeds may be used… for the purpose of flavoring in meat and poultry products without any additional approval.”
Having cleared that hurdle, Hemp Dawgs cooked a few dogs for state fair officials to taste test. The result was a massive success: Maxine Bracken, famed Kentucky beef restaurateur, ordered 2,000, saying they were “really good” and “a lot like a Polish sausage.
There is no word yet on when or how Hemp Dawgs might expand after the state fair.