Hot dogs, wieners, franks: whatever you call them and however you eat them, hot dogs are a long-standing favorite and a cornerstone of American popular culture. They’re a great treat, even on a budget.
But who has the best dogs? Well, that depends on who you talk to. There are tons of great dog huts in places like Chicago and NYC, of course, but hidden out there in other areas of America are some true gems. We’ve got a few to suggest:
New Orleans, Louisiana
No other place in America does food quite like Louisiana, and hot dogs are no exception. On the menu at Dat Dot, you’ll find more than a dozen specialty dogs ranging from classic franks to alligator sausage. But it’s the toppings where the N’ahlens influence comes through: everything from andouille sauce to crawfish étouffée and guac on a sourdough bun. Add the cheddar bacon ranch fries and savor the wisdom of a melting-pot society.
Any dog-lover west of the Mississippi knows that Daniel Contreras’ hot dog haven produces what is possibly the best Sonoran dog in the country. Bacon-wrapped, topped with chopped tomatoes and pinto beans, and garnished with onions, mustard, jalapeño sauce, and mayo, these franks are in a class by themselves–think hot dog burrito in a Mexican bolillo roll. If that doesn’t set your mouth watering, you may need to do some serious soul-searching.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Some place in Florida have pretended to make hot dogs healthy, with fish and tofu and what-have-you. Not Hot Dog Heaven: here, you can sink your teeth into a pure beef Vienna hot dog mixed with a secret blend of spices and then hardwood hickory smoked. Drop it in a poppyseed bun and top it with your own combination of yellow mustard, relish, onion, tomato wedges, and more. It’s America’s original fast food and a true Chicago institution … just a bit farther south.
Weenie Beanie claims to have invented them, and still makes one of if the best. Still at its original location, WB is a simple, old-school walk-up window that opens at 6 every morning. Try the Half Smokes–split in two and grilled to a snap. Or go for the Chili Smoke with mustard, relish, and onions–“all the way” to the locals, who have sworn by this stand for over 60 years.
You think we’re kidding, right? But the Costco cafeteria consistently offers one of the best dogs in America. For one thing, it’s a great value: you can get a hot dog and a drink for less than most places charge for the drink. But price alone isn’t the whole story. Take that first bite, and suddenly your taste buds are at full attention. The dog is unexpectedly flavorful, with a delightful smoky taste similar to a kielbasa sausage. A slight charred taste combines with a juicy, satisfying snap to give it a wholly unexpected taste and texture.
Hot dogs aren’t fancy–but they’re not supposed to be. The beauty of the dog is that you know what to expect … and as one retailer pointed out, ” When a shopper understands exactly what to expect, it reduces the incidence of disappointment.”
These dogs don’t disappoint.