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Hot Dogs Across America: What's regional to you?

I just learned about the Rhode Island Weiner this week and I can't believe I've never heard of them before...(even at $3.50/gallon, I sense an emminant road trip.) Anyways, it got me wondering about regional dogs and yer favorite dog houses and their speciaties in yer area.

Please include: Kind of dog (all beef/pork/kosher), how it's prepared (dirtywater/fried/grilled), bun type, must-have toppings, and most famous arbiter of the delicacy.

My Contribution
Essex County , New Jersey (Newark, NJ)
Italian Hot Dogs:
-2 very skinny all beef hot dogs (sabrette) deep fried and stuffed into a focccia-style bread, topped with mustard, then topped with fried potato cubes, onions peppers and ketchup. Dicky Dee's in Newark is probably most famous, but I've heard rumors of others.

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  1. We have a great one around here in Phoenix. You can generally only find them in the Hispanic parts of town here and down in Tucson, and then in Sonora, Mexico.

    Sonoran Hot Dog:
    1 hot dog (goodness knows what kind of meat, probably the mixed-meat Bar-S Jumbos), wrapped in bacon and grilled. Served in a bolillo roll (similar in shape to a hot dog bun but thicker, with a richer dough), topped with mayo, chopped tomato, chopped onion, whole pinto beans, mushrooms, queso fresco (crumbly white Mexican cheese), shredded mild Cheddar, thin guacamole, salsa verde, and jalapeƱos. Yes, they're messy as hell, and they're utterly sublime. The place to get them here in Phoenix is a hot dog cart that appears nightly on a corner just off of one of the 51 freeway on Indian School. Down in Tucson, the place to go is BK.

    Nogales Hot Dogs
    1945 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016

    B K Carne Asada & Hot Dogs
    5118 S 12th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85706

    3 Replies
    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

      wow, now that's a dog!!!...I'm forwarding yer message to a friend, and fellow chowhound, who just moved down to phoenix..(BTW: I'm a fan of strangly juxtaposed ethnic and "American" food: carne asada and hotdogs...love it!)

      1. re: sixelagogo

        Hey sixelagogo- along the lines of strangely juxtaposed ethnic and "American" food- have you ever had a Cubana Torta at the Northern NJ taquerias? Hot dogs are part of their makeup; check out this post (which I love, even though I haven't been to that place yet):

        Also, Jason Perlow posted a photo of one on his blog (scroll up):

        They are one of the 'things to get' at the El Pasos.

      2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

        How can you taste the dog in all that mess? What's the point? Why even include the dog at all? It's basically a burrito in a bun at that point. Call me a purist, but give me a simple dog in a bun with some mustard (and maybe onions) anyday.

      3. As a true Chowhound, who prefers a "greasy spoon" (as seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on FN) to a 5 star restuarant, the hot dog is one of my favorite foods.
        My ideal would be a natural casing dog, one with a nice crunch when you bite into it. cooked dirty water style topped with chili, raw onions and mustard. This is what is called a Texas Wiener. On my quest for the ideal dog a few places stand out.

        1. Maui's Dog House, North Wildwood NJ (closed in winter)
        2. Jimmy Johns, Westchester PA
        3. Dilly's Corner, New Hope PA (closed in winter)
        4. Lenny's Hot Dogs, Feasterville PA

        These, and many other places can be seen on Holly Moore's Hot Dog Page


        15 Replies
        1. re: ChrisOC

          I love a family owned, mom and pop joint over the 5 stars myself. After watching the FN and seeing tons of stuff on NYs Papaya dog, we had to do a pilgrimage (we're in the Montreal area, 6 hours away). OK it wasn't simply a hot dog pilgrimage, but had to do with pizza, street food, celeb restos, etc...
          Anyways, we were severely disapointed with the papaya dog. Same thing with Ted's in the Buffalo area.
          I know there will be people out there who swear by these places, but are there others, like us, who just didn't get it? I much preferred the dirty water street dogs...

          1. re: porker

            I am from RI so you already know my answer...

            1. re: Sean

              I agree with you about Gray's. I wasn't impressed. I don't like a Nathan's style dog, either. Chris, I will check out Lenny's, any recommendations there?

              1. re: dream_of_giusti

                Its been years since I was there, but I think their special relish was pretty good. I also had a Champ Cherry soda to remind me of Levis's.

            2. re: porker

              We Phoenicians are lucky, as we have the only Ted's in the country outside of upstate New York. The trick to Ted's is that you really have to get your dog with their special sauce on it (a sort of spicy relish), onion rings and the loganberry drink. Their corndogs are incredible, too.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                There's really a Ted's in Phoenix??? That's pretty kewl. I grew up on their hot dogs. I'm ashamed to say that I had totally forgotten about the loganberry drink - a staple of my youth. I haven't seen it available anywhere in years, but then I'm rarely in western NY.

              2. re: porker

                In Buffalo, while Ted's is good, a place in Orchard Park (suburb of Buffalo) called Taffy's (only open during the warmer months) has amazing hot dogs. Grilled and delicious. All the food is fabulous, but their foot longs, simply dressed with your favorite toppings, is definitely the way to go.

                1. re: milkyway4679

                  Ted's uses Sahlen's. What about Taffy's?

              3. re: ChrisOC

                I love all of the styles of dog that we have in Northern NJ, but the ones I get most often are the deep fried Thuman's similar to the ones at Hiram's or Rutt's Hutt linked on Holly's page. I have a local shop that tops them with mustard and a spicy relish- it's a damn fine dog and the deep frying thing is something I am not likely to replicate at home.

                For the house I prefer the German style dogs that I get at Karl Ehmer's when I can get them. The Shop Rite store brand, Black Bear(?) is pretty top notch as well.

                1. re: TongoRad

                  Oh yes, those Black Bear dogs are GOOD! The natural casing one, of course.

                  1. re: TongoRad

                    We have so many styles; the deep fried dogs mentioned which Thumann's makes specifically for deep frying, (they make a griller and all beef dog as well) Texas Weiners, dirty water dogs, grilled all beef franks, German style beef and pork, and West Jersey style which is a steamed (or fried) dog topped with yellow mustard, onions, and a slice of pickle.

                    I too love the Italian Hot Dog. Jimmy Buff's and Tommy's are 2 of the best.

                    TongoRad, what is the name of the local shop?

                    1. re: hotdoglover

                      It's Jolly Nick's in Dumont- the spicy one in particular is called the "red" (you order by color- i.e.'brown' just has mustard, etc.). I'm not sure it is a destination spot but if you're ever up here give it a shot. I think the size they use is 5 to a lb.

                      John- speaking of Texas Weiners, do you happen to know the dog that they use at the Texas Weinies diner in South Orange, just about a mile west of Seton Hall? I worked in the area for a few months and really liked them, even by themselves without the sauce. Sort of small (maybe 8 to a lb.), but great flavor and snap, and it didn't remind me of any other dog I've had. Just curious.

                      1. re: TongoRad

                        I've seen the place in South Orange, but haven't stopped in yet. I've been meaning to since it's fairly close to where I live. Someone told me that they use the Grote & Weigel Griddle frank from Conn. I'm not positive; I'll know when I go, but if it is, then it's the same frank used at Texas Weiner l, ll, Red Tower, Manny's, and others.

                        1. re: TongoRad

                          Tongo can you tell me more about Jolly Nicks? Just curious do they have Itailian style too (on pizza bread, peppers, onions, potatoes)? I live in Rockland, and can't find them around here. Thanks -

                          1. re: michele cindy

                            Michele (sorry it took so long to reply, I just got back from vacation and saw your question)-
                            No Italian style at Jolly Nick's, sad to say. You're probably better off getting those at a place that specializes in them anyway- I remember getting one at the Texas weiner joint in South Orange mentioned above and it was served on a hero roll, not pizza bread, it was good but not special. Usually it is best to stick with what the place specializes in doing, even if other things are offered. The best items at Jolly Nick's are the 'red' (with the hot sauce) and the 'green' (with peppers and onions, but not 'Italian style').

                  2. In the Carolinas and down into Georgia, though most prevalent in NC, you can find the chili-slaw dog, traditionally topped with cole slaw, mustard, raw onion, and a fine-textured chili (NO BEANS) that imparts a red-brown grease stain to anything it touches. If the place is old school, the dog will be pork or mixed-meat, skinless, and dyed a violent red on the outside, though I'm seeing more and more places adopting the all-beef dog, sometimes with natural casings, without the red dye #5. I'm a bit of a heretic in that I also add cheese and ketchup to my chili and slaw dogs (or all-the-way dogs).. I'm not sure where the best example is to be found, but the legendary Varsity in Atlanta features them. Many in this region also enjoy a simple slaw dog, no chili. Here in Charleston, pickled okra a very local specialty topping for dogs.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Low Country Jon

                      Yeah, baby.

                      It's properly termed a Carolina Chili Slaw Dog. I also add ketchup to mine. One of my favorite foods.

                      BTW, the Varsity is nasty. Terrible food.

                      1. re: uptown jimmy

                        Yeah, my one trip to the Varsity didn't impress me much, foodwise. I think the overall experience is more interesting than the food itself.

                        Jack's Cosmic Dogs in Mt. Pleasant, SC makes a pretty decent chili-slaw dog along with hand cut fries and frozen custard floats. But I haven't gone back since they served me a dog on a weak, weak bun that fell apart at first bite. One day I'll go back, after the memory fades a bit more. I take my food sort of personally, like many on this board, I gather.

                        1. re: Low Country Jon

                          Indeed, my friend. There is nothing more personal than food.

                          We actually visited friends in W-S, NC, recently, and did NOT have a chili slaw dog, as were were carb-loading at other childhood favorites. Forgive me, for I have sinned. I am still kicking myself.

                          I do hope most folks are using better quality weiners these days. I like a high-quality hotdog.

                          We'll have to try Jack's when we venture back to Charleston this summer. And the bun better not fall apart, as I've become that guy who lets the proprieter know when something is wrong.

                    2. I had the best hot dog in New Orleans once, from a cart. I make em this way at home. Steamed bun and polish sausage, chili, minced onions, yellow mustard, saurkraut. Fabulous.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: melly

                        Ah! What you had was a Lucky Dog... my husband and I make that one of our "dinners" each time we visit NO...

                        now I need to go back to New Orleans again soon!

                        1. re: tapas gal

                          My friend loves this place. You can get red beans & rice on your dog. It's about ten minutes from the Quarter. http://www.neworleanseasydogs.com/Men...

                      2. In Tulsa, Okla., it is a coney from one of the local Coney I-lander restaurants. Small sized little dogs served on a steamed bun with options of beanless chili, raw onions, mustard and shredded cheese. Takes about 3 to make a meal. They've been around since 1926 according to their sign and still pack a crowd for a cheap lunch.

                        1. THere are two types of RI dog: NY system weiners and Saugy's. Saugy's makes a great dog, been around since the Civil War.

                          In Boston, there are Pearl dogs and Kayem.

                          In Connecticut, you have Grote & Weigle dogs, which have a noticeable flavor of ground mustard (at least to me).

                          Nathan's hot dogs are not uniform, btw: the mother ship at Coney Island uniquely has specially juicy (or greasy, if you don't like it) and tied links. It is not a kosher dog, contrary to what many people assume. But it is flavored in the manner of kosher dogs - that is, more garlicky among other things.

                          There are three basic ur-styles of frankfurter sausages - two from Frankfurt and another from central Europe. In Frankfurt, non-kosher frankfurters were mild, while kosher frankfurters had more assertive flavorings. And frankfurters there are scalded in water that has been removed from boiling for about 8 minutes before being served as a pair with mustard and a small roll. They are eaten with the fingers, and not in the roll, which is too small for them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Karl S

                            The NY System wieners are great, especially with chili. Two was the minimum order. Hot wiener joints are everywhere in RI, but one of the best is Ben's Chili Dogs in Newport.

                          2. Maine is unique in the red snapper. A neon red hot dog, steamed w/ a steamed roll. They are really wierd looking to people from away. Also traditionally served at a baked bean suppah.
                            Wicked good snap!
                            Gimme a Jersey Italian dog, a George's Coney Island Dog in Worcester, a Yakko's in Allentown, but the dog culture in Maine is dwarfed by the lobster, crab, scallop, shrimp roll culture. Good stuff on a hot dog roll.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                              Rochester NY has red hots and white hots, the latter being a species of bratwurst. Zweigle is king.

                            2. Oh, and I forgot, New England has one significant regional contribution to the hot dog: the top split (rather than side-split) roll. Which should be buttered/greased and toasted. A significant improvement over the ordinary side-split roll prevalent in other places.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Karl S

                                Top split + lobster + mayo = lobster roll!

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  One of the greatest pleasures in life = lobster roll / lobster dog (as my dad used to call them)

                                2. re: Karl S

                                  Is there any other type of roll?

                                  Also grill a New England style roll, fill it with fried clams, top with tartar sauce and you have a clam roll. YUM!

                                3. Dodger Dog- a footlong Farmer John hot dog- grilled with a too short bun topped with extra mustard and onions. Followed by a sack of peanuts and a Carnation chocolate malt!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: paso_gurl_100

                                    You are so right. Absolutely a Dodger Dog GRILLED with ketchp, mustard, and relish.
                                    With a sack of peanuts.

                                  2. Northern Jersey and Crif Dogs in NYC - deep fried the dogs till the skin is blistered. Place on roll with relish and mustard. Commence eating, repeat.

                                    1. I grew up in Chicago, but spent a summer in Flint, Michigan during an internship back in the '80s. There were chili dogs everywhere (and they were damn good!).
                                      As I recall, Flint a chili dog was basically a hot dog covered with ground-beef chili (no beans). I never could understand what was so special about Flint chili dogs, other than that they were regarded as a key item on all the menus of places that served hot dogs, as opposed to just another hot dog variant, like they were back in Chicago.

                                      1. Surprised that no one has mentioned the famous Montreal "steamie" - a steamed hot dog on a toasted bun, or its close cousin the "Michigan" - the same wiener with a thin no-bean chili ladled on top. Served with Montreal's famous fries or poutine, it's one of the great junk food meals in North America.

                                        1. Destined to be a classic, IMO - Japadogs in Vancouver. Hot dogs, Japanese style. Oroshi, Terimayo, Misomayo, Kurobota.

                                          Here is my post with pictures:

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: fmed

                                            now that's a dog!!!! sounds amazing and wish we had it out east...I was in japan last summer and fell in love with the octo-wiener i often saw carved at outdoor stands...image below

                                          2. Where's the L.A. bacon dog? What are the toppings? Like a Sonoran dog?

                                            1. Washington DC has the half-smoke, made famous at the legendary Ben's Chili Bowl on U St and the also legendary Weenie Beenie in nearby Shirlington VA.

                                              Here's some half-smoke info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-smoke

                                              These dogs are also now available at the new Washington Nationals stadium, which is supposed to have some pretty good ballpark food.

                                              1. I just skimmed and did not see mention of the classic Chicago Dog. Some places in other cities THINK they know what this is, and add all kinds of crazy stuff, but this is what a classic Chicago Dog consists of:
                                                Steamed poppy seed bun
                                                All beef dog
                                                Plain yellow mustard
                                                minced onion
                                                neon green sweet relish
                                                sport peppers
                                                pickle spear
                                                tomato slace cut in half (half moon style)
                                                dash of celery salt on top.
                                                There are variants throughout the big city, but for the most part, if you walk into a hot dog joint in Chicagoland, you would ASSUME this would be what a dog would be dressed with as a default "everything."

                                                Being a half breed (New York & Chicago, that is,) I like a Chicago dog with no relish, but I think I prefer a Nathan's with mustard and kraut more. All that sad, hot dogs are low on my list of chow unless I really have a craving - about three times a year.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: gordeaux

                                                  if there was ever a dog for me, the Chicagodog is it...no trip to chicagoland is complete without gourging myself on at least 2 of Portillos (my fav. spot). Chicagodogs are the reason that any layover in Ohare is ok with me.

                                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                                    Ah, my friend, but you're forgetting about the Maxwell Street style hot dog, another Chicago institution (along with the Maxwell St. Polish sausage), which is a hot dog smothered with mustard and more grilled onions than you can possibly eat (or grow) in a lifetime. But soooo good (and I don't even eat meat anymore)!

                                                  2. I cant think of any famous hot dog places in the Cleveburgh area, but there is a place west of the market on Lorain ave, but the name escapes me Bratwurst seem to be as common as dogs in this area, and the usual way to serve them is on a toasted bun with plenty of kraut and dark spicy stadium mustard. .

                                                    I went to U-Pitt for 4 semesters, so i would choose a all beef dog served NY style at the "Dirty O" on Forbes. I prefer the Papaya king in NYC to Nathans or dirty water dogs. Ive never had a Chicago dog, but I hope to remedy that situation this summer.

                                                    1. In CNY, the big hot dog maker is Hoffman's, prolific producer of coneys(snappies) and some fine german style wieners with homemade mustard. Both are a natural casing variety with a mixture of Veal, Beef, and Pork. Either way, I like them on toasted new england buns with a eyewatering quantity of spicy brown.

                                                      1. Answered my own earlier question. Made Los Angeles bacon dogs last night. After watching Drew Carey's short vid. on the Illegal Los Angeles Bacon Dog, I had to! Wrap a dog w/ a slice of bacon and grill or fry. Slice small small sub roll and smother w/ mayo. Drop bacon roll into bun and top w/ mustard, ketchup, fried onions, pinto beans, diced tomatoes and jalapenos, and finish w/ slices of avocado. So delicious, it outta be illegal! Oops.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                          The Los Angeles bacon dogs are 'illegal' in that the push carts are not supposed to sell them with the bacon. However, that is what people want so it is an ongoing cat and mouse game.

                                                        2. Charlie's in Kenilworth NJ always was the best for Itail.Hot Dogs to me. They were able to manage the grease proportion so it didn't feel like your were eating an oil spill. Haven't been there in years though.

                                                          1. In Houston we have a local chain, James Coney Island. They have been around since the 20's and have the best chili dogs. Steamed buns, secret recipe hot dog that's very good, great chili. They put mustard on the bun, hot dog, chili and finely chopped onions. If you want cheese you can get that too. You can buy their hot dogs, and chili to take home and make your own, but we just go there. They now have NY and Chicago style, jalapeno dogs, polish sausage, italian sausage and a turkey dog. It is an institution in this city.


                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: danhole

                                                              I grew up in Houston - I haven't had a James Coney Island hotdog in forever! Man....I miss those. Childhood memories are rushing back. :)

                                                            2. Ive been reading The Girl who Ate Everything lately with great interest on the food of Chile. The hot dogs look pretty awesome. Looks like you can only get them in NY so far...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: kare_raisu

                                                                i definately see a subway ticket to queens in my future...that dog looks phenomenal

                                                              2. It's all about Miller's Hot Dogs.... http://www.millerhotdogs.com/, Hebrew National....http://www.hebrewnational.com/index.jsp, and a little chain in the SF Bay Area called Kasper's or Casper's.....http://caspershotdogs.com/ which ever you prefer.

                                                                1. Yocco's hotdog in Pennsylvania - around allentown - well done dog in steam bun, onions, mustard and chili sauce

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: chowmel

                                                                    And pierogies on the side. They ship worldwide.

                                                                  2. I grew up in Erie PA.

                                                                    Smith hot dogs.

                                                                    When we visit from Califonia that's what I want.

                                                                    1. jfood is honored to have eaten some of the great hot dogs ever produced. He grew up in NJ and lived on Tommy's (Elizabeth), Galloping Hill Inn (Union), Don's (Livingston), Rutt's Hut (Clifton) and Syds (Millburn). Now in CT he has Super Duper (Fairfield), Chez Leonard (Ridgefield) and Swanky Franks (Norwalk). And there used to be an Asian lady in the American Terminal at O'Hare who made a great Chicago dog when flights were delayed. And let's not forget the old Cleveland terminal when Newark was delayed and your flight was diverted there.

                                                                      1. Not sure if this is just a Seattle thing, but when the clubs close down at 2am, throngs of people descend upon street carts slinging polish hot dogs (a lot like the ones at Costco) topped w/ grilled onions and cream cheese...Sounded gross to me at first, but after my first bite, I was a believer...

                                                                        I did feel like I might have a coronary afterwards...But what a way to go.

                                                                        1. In Baltimore its usually a Hebrew National grilled, on a roll with fried bologna, a little mustard and onions....with a Dr. Browns cream soda

                                                                          1. While house hunting in the Syracuse area 20 years ago, I asked my real estate agent for a restaurant recommendation. She said, "Heid's of Liverpool." One of the best hot dogs I have eaten. No wonder there's usually a line.

                                                                            Twernty years later...A couple of Hofmann's franks (not the nasty white ones) on NE style rolls with mustard, an order of fries, and I'm good to go.

                                                                            1. I responded to this post last year, RI wieners, yum. BUT I have a question, we had a (unfortunately) temporary "Zab's" here that was AWESOME. Anyone familiar? Wish they had suceeded...

                                                                              1. Sonoran style hot dogs are the best!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                    I answered the question already up at the very top of the thread... look up there.

                                                                                1. The other day my dad showed me this trick. We took a good grilled dog, topped it with sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard, and sprinkled it heavily with crushed pepper flakes. It was great. p.s. NJ is the region.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: michele cindy


                                                                                    Since you are now officially a Jersey Girl (although Southern Jersy), try another variety that might be considered sacrilege by many. You know those peppers you buy in the jar in the grocer (jfood likes vlasic ove BG), with vinegar? Some mustard and few of these peppers. The vinegar peppers have the same effect as the kraut but then you get the sweetness of the pepper versus the slightly bitterness of the cabbage.

                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                      JF - I grew up in Union 07083, exit 138 gsp. Sounds good I will definitely try this.

                                                                                      1. re: michele cindy

                                                                                        Then you might be one of Jfoods's unregistered pups! Remember the hot dog place at 5 cornrs?

                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                          07083, heck jfood was born in Stuyvesant Village and learned his love of hot dogs, pastrami and hot dogs at Kartzman's. Then in his HS days he lived at the five-corners Galloping Hill Inn for dogs and Stanley's for California Burgers. Plus the deep fried version in the Big E (Elizabeth)

                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                            Our path's must have crossed somewhere. my gm lived in styv. village, I also went to school with lisa kartzman. I lived in the magie village apts. a famous hotdog guy lived across from me but I didn't know it until I discovered him on CH.

                                                                                  2. You can tell summer is coming. The hot dog threads are getting revived!