We’ve seen the burger evolve from a basic beef patty in a bun into a gourmet affair that even top-end restaurants are proud to have on their menus. Now it’s the turn of the humble hot dog and an enterprising husband-and-wife team in Dumfries and Galloway, as Karen Peattie discovers

Coming to a festival near you – the humble hot dog, but not as you know it. This isn’t just a hot dog, this is a Brigston & Co artisan hot dog, handmade in Dumfries and Galloway using only premium-quality beef and pork, smoked in beechwood then delicately ground to create the perfect texture with a secret recipe of 10 herbs and spices.

The husband-and-wife team behind the business, Claire Drysdale and Euan Macgregor, have turned the traditional New York-style, highly processed hot dog on its head with their fresh product that not only looks enticing and tastes great, but uses as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible.

It’s been a labour of love, as Drysdale, a chef with 30-plus years’ experience, explains. “We took a year to create it because we wanted to get it right,” she says. “I’d been running a restaurant and outside catering business, Hullabulloo, in Dumfries with my business partner Alanna Rogerson and it was when I went back to work after having breast cancer that I realised I wanted to try something new.

“I think everyone who has cancer reassesses their life and while I was still enjoying my business, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had been. I wanted a new challenge.”

With food still at the heart of what she wanted to do, Drysdale and Macgregor, who is also a firefighter, discussed various options. “Not working in the food industry wasn’t an option because we both love food and cooking and eating out,” says Drysdale. “My parents bought a hotel when I was six so I was around food and kitchens from a very early age, inspired by my mum who was a fantastic cook.

“My memories of Christmas Day in the hotel are helping to prepare prawn cocktails and fans of melon.”

It was one of Macgregor’s observations that led the couple on the trail of the perfect hot dog, however. Drysdale explains: “Euan had been working with Alanna at a festival and although they were selling a lot of top-notch food it was the fairly bog-standard hot dogs that were flying – people kept asking for them and that’s what sowed the seeds of our random dream to have an artisan hot dog food truck.”

Brigston & Co, named after the village where Drysdale and Macgregor grew up – they met at school when they were 11 – was born in 2016. Today, the firm is on a mission to change the perception of the hot dog from a cheap, low-quality product to one that has provenance and excellent taste credentials. Indeed, its original Brigston & Co Handmade Craft Smoked Artisan Hot Dog received one star in the coveted Great Taste Awards 2019.

The judges, who included 2018 MasterChef champion Kenny Tutt along with respected food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, described the product as “a whopper of a hot dog with a speckled mix and a golden hue and good meaty flavour”. They said: “This is a hot dog for grown-ups.”

People queueing at the food truck certainly agree. “We’ve taken a lot of our inspiration from street food and the trend towards hand-crafted food and drink products that have a bit of a story behind them,” Drysdale continues. “We’re trying to position our hot dog along the same lines as a gourmet burger that you might see on menus everywhere nowadays.”

While Brigston & Co will continue to set up shop with the food truck at events such as music festival and agricultural shows, the firm is starting to build traction in pubs and restaurants including Innis & Gunn outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and St Andrews. Caterers can buy the hot dogs via wholesalers across Scotland, and if you want to buy them to cook at home you can order them online from Campbell’s Prime Meats.

“We’re in the early stages of expanding the brand,” explains Drysdale. “There’s just the two of us so we don’t want to overstretch then struggle to meet demand plus we’ve worked hard to get the product the way we want it and we won’t compromise on quality. Everything is traceable and we use only farm-assured Scottish beef flank and farm-assured British pork shoulder – Scottish when we can get it.

“All our hot dogs are naturally gluten-free and we’re growing the range, which includes the original hot dog with our own BBQ sauce made with Illy espresso coffee, the Mediterranean which comes with fire-roasted peppers and our own pesto aioli and the Mexican which features Brigston beef and mixed bean chilli and Lockerbie Cheddar.”

Brigston & Co is also developing a vegan hot dog and hopes to launch this next spring. “We currently buy in a vegan product from Germany but we’re excited to be launching our own,” says Drysdale. “I had a vegan menu in my restaurant long before veganism became as popular as it is now so we’re very much in tune with what people want.”

Look out for the Brigston & Co hot dog food truck if you’re at the Galloway Country Fair at Drumlanrig Castle today.

Five food producers doing it their way …

Daring Foods

Glasgow-based start-up Daring Foods, founded by Ross Mackay and Eliott Kessas, offers meat-free products including Moo-Free Burgers, Cluck-Free Nuggets and Fishy-Free Fingers. It recently announced a partnership with Brakes Scotland, Scotland’s largest foodservice provider, to distribute its plant-based food to outlets including hotels, pubs and restaurants.


Nairn’s, the UK’s number one producer of oatcakes, has witnessed significant growth after moving into the growing “free from” food market. The long-established Edinburgh-based firm invested £6 million in a specialist bakery and won six awards at the FreeFrom Awards earlier this year.

Rora Dairy

This farm-based dairy near Peterhead produces healthy yogurt products which are gluten free, and free from artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners and preservatives. Rora’s owners Jane and Bruce Mackie won the best retail product (small business) at the 2019 North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards – it’s also available in the Northern Lights Lounge at Aberdeen International Airport.

Growers Garden

Broccoli crisps? They’re on the menu of East of Scotland Growers, a farmer-owned co-operative in Cupar, Fife, which claimed a world first when it launched its new broccoli snack brand last year. Tapping into the healthy snacks trend, the Growers Garden brand is said to be the world’s first extruded snack that uses fresh vegetables.

Bon Accord

Remember the clinking of the lemonade vans back in the day? Bon Accord, one of the best-known soft drinks delivery firms, was revived by Karen Knowles, the great, great granddaughter of the original Arbroath firm’s founder, Thomas Robb, and her business partner, Nathan Burrough. Today, it produces a range of healthier, naturally sweetened soft drinks.