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May 11, 2008 05:29 AM

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 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.

                      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.