Sandwich of the Week: Hot Dog Nation

A round-up of more than 30 of America's favorite regional styles of hot dogs and iconic franks

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

Listen, as 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.

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.

Click here for the Hot Dog Nation Slideshow.

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!

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, Pa.

"OK," 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.

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. There's a full list of dogs below, but for details about buns, franks, and toppings, you'll want to click through the full slideshow that includes more than 30 hot dogs.

Click here for the Hot Dog Nation Slideshow.

Know a great sandwich that should be featured? Or think a regional style or iconic hot dog was omitted from this list? Let us know by email or comment below! Click here for other featured sandwiches.

 

Brats (Sheboygan and Milwaukee, Wis.)

Cheese Coney (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Chicago-Style Dogs (Chicago)

Hot Doug's Foie Gras Dog (Chicago)

Coney I-Lander (Tulsa, Okla.)

Coney Island Dog (Detroit, Mich.)

The Half-Smoke (Washington, D.C.)

Italian-Style Hot Dog (New Jersey)

Hungarian Hot Dog (Toledo, Ohio)

Michigan Hot Dog (Montreal and Quebec, Canada)

Michigan Hot Dog (Upstate New York)

North Carolina Slaw Dog (North Carolina)

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

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

Bonanza Dog (Oyster Bay, NY)

Pittsburgh Dog (Pittsburgh, Penn.)

New York System Hot Wieners (Rhode Island)

Rawley’s Dog (Fairfield, Conn.)

Rippers (Clifton, NJ)

Rochester White-Hots (Rochester, NY)

Scrambled Dog (Georgia)

Seattle-Style Dogs (Seattle)

Coney Island Lunch (Scranton, Pa.)

Sonoran Dog (Tucson and Phoenix)

Dilly Dog (Bucks County, Penn.)

Dodger Dogs (Los Angeles)

Ditch Dog (New York City)

Martinsville Speedway's Chili Dogs (Ridgeway, Va.)

Red Snappers (Maine)

Puka Dogs (Honolulu and Koloa, HI)

Pink's Chili Dogs (Los Angeles)

Kolaches (Texas)

Nathan's (Coney Island, NY)

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