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The Best Regional-Style Hot Dogs

Posted: 10/20/11 01:47 PM ET

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Hamburger America. The United States of Pizza. Where the hell is Hot Dog Nation? Why hasn't anyone written that book?

Listen, as a kid who grew up adoring New York's skyscrapers, energy and especially its iconic foods, there were some tough concessions to make when I realized Philadelphia had better pretzels (by far), and that the world's best pizza was in Naples.

Related: Regional Hot Dog Nation slideshow

So imagine the pain when, after years of watching the Bulls beat up on the Knicks, I realized that despite Gray's Papaya, and all the city's hot dog carts, that not only was New York City not a hot dog town, but that it wasn't even in the conversation when it comes to Chicago's hot dog scene. It's particularly galling considering all that Nathan's, a New York original, has done during its long history, to popularize the hot dog.

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The sad thing is, despite being home to the July 4th hot dog eating contest, and even with some decent efforts by places like Crif Dogs, one of New York City's best hot dogs is Shake Shack's Shack-Cago dog, an homage to Chicago. A weekend gorging on dogs in Chicago, a short tour of the great hot dog places in Connecticut (at right, the Weenie Wanderer ballad on the wall at Rawley's), a visit to Pink's in Los Angeles, just one of these experiences is a hot dog culinary awakening. Heck, eating an airport hot dog at LAX is better than any hot dog in New York City. An airport hot dog for the love of all things sacred and holy!

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Sure, there are some gems, lesser-known places like Bonanza's, which has been in business since 1897, but when it comes to hot dogs, New York City actually doesn't measure up to many places across the country.

The interesting thing about many of these superior dogs is the geography involved in their names. There's the Cheese Coney from Cincinnati and the Coney Island Dog in Detroit? Coney? As in Coney Island, Brooklyn? "What's that doing being the name of a dog in Ohio?" you're asking. It's the same situation with the hot dogs at Coney Island Lunch in Scranton, P.A.

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"Okay," you'll counter, "New York at least has some heritage to offer when it comes to hot dogs. Nathan's made them famous. So it's an homage thing." Well, why is the naming geography so confusing when Nathan's and Coney Island have nothing to do with anything? Consider the Michigan Dog available in Montreal, Quebec, and Upstate New York. Or the "New York System Hot Wieners" available in Rhode Island. But then, these are the eternal hot dog questions.

Related: Shake Shack's Secret Menu, Revealed!

Wherever you're from, and however you grew up eating hot dogs, if you're a true lover of this genre you'll appreciate other variations. So, it's time to bow down to Hot Dog Nation with a look at some of the amazing regional styles of hot dogs and iconic wieners that can be found across the country. For details about buns, franks and toppings, you'll want to click through the full slideshow that includes more than 30 hot dogs.


- Arthur Bovino, The Daily Meal

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  • Brats (Sheboygan and Milwaukee, Wis.)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/wendys-new-burger-worlds-largest-bratwust-and-other-news-weekend?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Bratwurst</strong></a> (large, white, pork-based hot dog), preferably Usinger's <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: A brat bun (Milwaukee) or hard-roll (Sheboygan) <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Simmered with onions in beer and finished off on a charcoal grill <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Onions; Brats are cooked with and finished off with brown or Dijon mustard, never yellow. <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: State Street Brats and Lambeau Field's parking lot a few hours before a Packers game. <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/somenametoforget/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/somenametoforget</strong></a>

  • Cheese Coney (Cincinnati, Ohio)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/sonics-spices-menu?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Pork or beef hot dog</strong></a> <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Steamed <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Boiled or grilled <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Mustard, diced onions, Cincinnati-style chili and a mound of shredded Cheddar <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: Skyline <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ataradrac/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/Sarah-Braun</strong></a>

  • Chicago-Style Dogs (Chicago)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: All-beef frank, <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/chicagos-wieners-circle-1?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>traditionally Vienna Beef</strong></a> <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Doughy poppy-seed bun <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Boiled or grilled <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Yellow mustard, sport peppers, tomatoes, a pickle spear, onions, bright green relish, celery salt and absolutely no ketchup <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: What a question. Superdawg, Wolfy's, Wiener's Circle, Murphy's, Hot Doug's, Portillo's and many more. The more interesting question is who makes Chicago's worst hot dogs, and how much better are they than New York's? <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © Arthur Bovino

  • Hot Doug's Foie Gras Dog (Chicago)

    While not a regional style, the foie gras dog at Hot Doug's does deserve mention among the country's iconic hot dogs. Doug Sohn, the owner of Hot Doug's, created this "celebrity" dog in 2006 to flout the ban pushed by <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/chef-bios-charlie-trotter?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Chicago chef Charlie Trotter</strong></a> and Alderman Joe Moore. The ban was repealed in 2008, but the foie gras dog is still on the menu. <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © Arthur Bovino

  • Coney I-Lander (Tulsa, Okla.)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: Mini pork dogs <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Mini steamed buns <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Slow-grilled <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Shredded cheese, chili, onions and mustard <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/coney-i-lander" target="_hplink"><strong>The Coney I-Lander mini-chain</strong></a> <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <br><br> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/greyhawk68/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/Greyhawk68</strong></a>

  • Coney Island Dog (Detroit, Mich.)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: An all-natural beef hot dog with natural casing <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Steamed <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Grilled <strong><u>Toppings and the Spot</u></strong>: Detroit-Style ("wet") means beanless chili with beef hearts, yellow onions and mustard. The place for it? <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/lafayette-coney-island?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Lafayette Coney Island</strong></a>. Flint-Style ("dry") means chili, diced yellow onions and mustard. The spot? Lipuma Coney Island. <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/mswine</strong></a>

  • The Half-Smoke (Washington, D.C.)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: Beef or pork dog, or a combination of the two. <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Grilled <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: With or without chili, and sometimes onion and mustard <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dogs-not-just-lips-and-aholes-anymore?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Ben's Chili Bowl</strong></a> <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scubaman/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/theblackdog</strong></a>

  • Italian-Style Hot Dog (New Jersey)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: One or two all-beef dogs <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Half a giant Italian-roll <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Fried peppers, potatoes and onions <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/jimmy-buffs-italian-hot-dogs?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Jimmy Buff's</strong></a> <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © SimpleRecipes

  • Hungarian Hot Dog (Toledo, Ohio)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: Pork sausage <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Toasted rye-bread <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Grilled <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Chili-sauce <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/packos-tony?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Tony Packos</strong></a> <strong><u>Special Note</u></strong>: If you're famous and want to represent, sign a bun. They'll frame it and hang it there. <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/whizchickenonabun/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/whizchickenonabun</strong></a>

  • Michigan Hot Dog (Montreal and Quebec, Canada)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: Pork or beef hot dog <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Steamed <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Spaghetti sauce <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/fast-food-you-cant-find-america-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>The Quebecois Lafleur Restaurant chain</strong></a> <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiless/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/Will S.</strong></a>

  • Michigan Hot Dog (Upstate New York)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: All-beef natural casing, usually Zweigle's <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Buttered and crustless Frankfurt bun <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Grilled <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Meat-based "Michigan-sauce," mustard and onions <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/mc-sweeneys-red-hots?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Mc Sweeney's Red Hots</strong></a> <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © Farkleberries.com/Lenka

  • North Carolina Slaw Dog (North Carolina)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: Red-hots, all-beef natural casing <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: The slaw topping is tinged red with a vinegary BBQ sauce. Mustard and chili, optional. <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/10-chain-restaurants-worth-visiting-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Slaw Dogs</strong></a> can be found throughout the South. <strong><u>Special Note</u></strong>: West Virginians lay claim to originating the Slaw Dog, but it's North Carolina where this variation has taken on a bolder hue. <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> Troutunderground.com

  • New York City Dog (Vendor-Style, "Dirty Water", New York City)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: All-beef dog in natural casing, preferably Nathan's or Sabrett's <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Steamed <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Boiled or Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Sweet Sabrett's "onions," mustard, kraut and ketchup The Spot: Every other corner in Manhattan, <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/grays-papaya-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Gray's Papaya</strong></a> and Papaya King take-out joints <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/churl/" target="_hplink"><strong>© Flickr/churl</strong></a>

  • New York City Dog (Deli-Style, New York City)

    <strong><u>Dog</u></strong>: Kosher all-beef <strong><u>Bun</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Method</u></strong>: Griddle-cooked <strong><u>Toppings</u></strong>: Sauerkraut and mustard <strong><u>The Spot</u></strong>: <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/katzs-delicatessen?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Katz's Delicatessen</strong></a> <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © Thegluttony.com

  • Bonanza Dog (Oyster Bay, NY)

    <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/bonanzas-chil-and-cheese-doused-dogs?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Bonanza's</strong></a> may not be a regional style, but the Oyster Bay, Long Island hot dog and Italian ice joint knows how to pile on fun toppings. They make hot dogs the way you'd have made them for yourself when you were a kid, if someone had let you. Tangy, spicy, vinegary, salty, chili, cheese, ketchup and slices of fresh jalapeño -- toppings are piled so high that you'll have trouble finding a way to eat it all in one go without spilling all over the sidewalk. <em>Related:</em> <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/hot-dog-nation-slideshow-0?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=regional%2Bhot%2Bdogs" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here for the 33 Best Hot Dogs Around the Country</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © Arthur Bovino

 

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