Named “The Best BBQ in Chicago” by “Good Morning America,” pitmaster chef Dominque Leach has teamed up with family-owned Vander Farmers to launch her line of WAGYU DOGS.
The partnership debuted the line on January 10 after receiving the USDA stamp of approval for retail distribution and national online sales through Lexington Betty Smokehouse (LBS), owned by Leach and her wife Tanisha Griffin.
Made from premium F1 Wagyu beef (50% Japanese Black Cattle, 50% Holstein-Friesian Dairy Cow), the Lexington Betty Smokehouse x Vander Famers WAGYU DOG will retail for $18.99 per pack of 8. In addition, LBS and Vander Farmers are pledging to donate a percentage of sales for the first month of the launch to the nonprofit, Coffee, Hip Hop & Mental Health, founded by Christopher LeMark, to help further mental health advocacy work across the city.
“Mental health in the chef and restaurant industry is an important topic to me personally, knowing how hard it has been in my journey and what I've seen others endure as well, particularly in marginalized communities, which is why I'm supporting CHHAMH with this launch,” says Leach.
With a slightly salty-smokey and sweeter flavor profile than a normal hotdog due to the inherent and delectable marbleization of Wagyu, these dogs complement Chef Leach's famous BBQ sauce, can be dressed up with Tex-Mex ingredients like pico de gallo and jalapeños, or make for a show-stopping twist on the classic Chicago dog.
Leach gained national recognition as a leading pitmaster on the Food Network's “CHOPPED: Playing with Fire” season in 2021. As a classically trained chef, her mission is to make the BBQ world more inclusive and hopes to inspire others. “I want to reclaim a space in the BBQ cooking world and make it more inclusive for Black queer women, especially since it's been a male-dominated field for a long time and has lacked enough people who look like me. This line is exposing my craft in a whole new way, plus I get to honor my hometown of Chicago— the true home of the dog. I couldn't be more thrilled to work with the wonderful Vander family again and excited to introduce the Wagyu Dog to everyone near and far.”
Look for more announcements from Dominique and Vander Farmers soon. In the meantime, visit Leach and Lexington Betty Smokehouse at 756 E 111th St. in Chicago or visit online at https://www.lexingtonbetty.com/.