The 20 Most Over-the-Top Hot Dogs in America
The 20 Most Over-the-Top Hot Dogs in America
Hot dogs are a blank canvas. A blank, delicious, high-sodium canvas. Like burgers and pizza, they’re perfectly tasty with no toppings at all, but just like burgers cry out for ketchup, hot dogs cry out for mustard. Why just stop there, though? Across America, you’ll find some truly over-the-top hot dog creations.
Senate Restaurant, Cincinnati: The Billy Ray Cyrus
This Cincy charmer, run by chef Daniel Wright, is putting spins on hot dogs like nobody else. The restaurant is perhaps most famous for its Croque Madame, a beef hot dog topped with béchamel, Black Forest ham, and a poached egg, but its daily specials allow Wright’s freak flag to really fly. Take the Billy Ray Cyrus, for example: It’s a hot dog topped with chicken-fried bacon, smoked turkey, and country gravy. You’ll know where to find us the next time we’re in Cincinnati.
Hot “G” Dog, Chicago: Foie Dog
Chicago went into a state of mourning when the legendary Hot Doug’s, which was renowned for its wild hot dogs and sausages, closed down, but thankfully a couple former employees have picked up where Doug left off with Hot “G” Dog. Case in point? Their spin on Hot Doug’s famed foie dog: a duck sausage topped with slices of foie gras mousse, truffle aïoli, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. Hot dogs don’t get any classier than this occasional special.
Hillbilly Hot Dogs, Lesage, West Virginia: Homewrecker
This West Virginia oddity is a certified head-scratcher, comprised of a couple small buildings as well as two converted school buses, with knickknacks, old signs, and rusty antiques covering every square inch. Sure, it might be slightly gimmicky, but it still serves some delicious hotdogs. The true claim to fame here is the Homewrecker, a 15-inch, one-pound dog topped with jalapeños, sautéed peppers and onions, nacho cheese, habaneros, chile sauce, mustard, slaw, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. If you can eat one in under 12 minutes, you win a tee-shirt.
PDT, New York: Chang Dog
Yelp/ Xi L.
PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell) rose to fame due to the fact that you enter it through a phone booth inside the adjacent hot dog shop, Crif Dogs. Crif Dogs is legendary in its own right, but this swanky, speakeasy-style cocktail lounge is also famous for its hot dogs, made through a partnership between Crif Dogs and local chefs including Wylie Dufresne and Momofuku’s David Chang. Chang’s creation starts with a hot dog that’s been wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, and it’s topped with Chang’s own homemade kimchee. Talk about unique.
Progressive Field, Cleveland: Slider Dog
Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, introduced a truly head-scratching creation for this season: the unassumingly named Slider Dog, which is topped with macaroni and cheese, a pile of chopped bacon, and Froot Loops. We’re going to withhold judgement on this one for the time being.
PNC Park, Pittsburgh: Cracker Jack & Mac Dog
PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has also created a ridiculous hot dog of its own for this season. It’s called the Cracker Jack & Mac Dog, and it seems to have only been created because “Jack” rhymes with “mac.” As the name might imply, it’s topped with macaroni and cheese and Cracker Jacks, along with some caramel sauce and jalapeños for good measure.
230 Fifth, New York
With 48 hours’ notice, the folks at New York rooftop lounge 230 Fifth will sell you the most expensive hot dog on Earth. It starts with a brioche bun that’s toasted and slathered with white truffle butter, and the hot dog itself is made with black truffle-laced day-aged wagyu beef that’s been dry-aged for 60 days. It’s then topped with saffron-kicked organic ketchup, French Moutarde de Charroux, Vidalia onions caramelized in Dom Pérignon, 100-year-old balsamic vinegar, housemade sauerkraut braised with Cristal and studded with platinum Osetra caviar, house-made relish, and gold leaf.
Comerica Park, Detroit: Poutine Dog
Poutine is all the rage these days, and with good reason: It’s French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy, for Pete’s sake. It was bound to top a hot dog, and of course a ballpark jumped on it: Detroit’s Comerica Park, home of the Tigers. The Poutine Dog is just what it sounds like: a hot dog topped with poutine. You’ll probably need a knife and fork for this one.
Texas State Fair: Fry Dog
This creation definitely fits the state fair bill: deep-fried? Check. On a stick? Check. Ingenious? Check. The Fry Dog, introduced at the Texas State Fair, starts like a corn dog, with a dunk into cornmeal batter. But before it hits the fryer, French fries are added into the mix. They adhere to the batter during frying, so the end result is a crunchy, fry-covered corn dog. It may take a couple years off of your life, but it’s most likely insanely delicious. Oddly enough, this is also popular in South Korea.
Maui’s Dog House, North Wildwood, N.J.: Italian
Yelp/ Scott G.
Located on the Jersey Shore, this hot dog shack is packed on nearly every summer afternoon. Why? Because its hot dogs are delicious and insanely creative. Just take the Italian, for example. While most places would just top an Italian dog with peppers and onions, Maui’s kicks it up a notch with onions, peppers, potatoes, and garlic, all sautéed in white wine. A mound of extra-sharp provolone completes the dish.
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City: Sunrise Dog
If you go to a Royals game this year, you can treat yourself to the ultimate breakfast dog: the Sunrise Dog, which is topped with bacon, American cheese, white sausage gravy, and a sunny side up egg.
Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.: Miami South Beach Dog
An 18-inch hot dog topped with mustard, ketchup, mayo, chopped pineapple, and fried onion strings doesn’t exactly scream “South Beach” to us, but it still sounds pretty intriguing.
PNC Park, Pittsburgh: Cracker Jack & Mac Dog
PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, has also created a ridiculous hot dog of its own for this season. It’s called the Cracker Jack & Mac Dog, and it seems to have only been created because “Jack” rhymes with “mac.” As the name might imply, it’s topped with macaroni and cheese and Cracker Jack, along with some caramel sauce and jalapeños for good measure.
Chase Field, Phoenix: The Cheeseburger Dog
This mashup, served during Arizona Diamondbacks games, is even more unpleasant than it sounds. It’s a cheeseburger in hot dog form (that is, a tube of ground beef) that’s been battered and deep-fried, then plopped onto a hot dog bun with lettuce, tomato, bacon, and a secret sauce. Sounds like a sneaky way to use up yesterday’s uneaten burgers!
Crif Dogs, New York City: Tsunami and Chihuahua
Yelp/ Ed U.
This New York institution (which has locations in the East Village and Williamsburg) has so many oddball creations on its menu that we couldn’t pick just one. On the left here is the Tsunami, which is bacon wrapped, deep-fried, and topped with teriyaki sauce, chopped pineapple, and green onions; and on the right is the Chihuahua, which is also bacon wrapped and deep fried, and topped with avocadoes and sour cream.
Dogs ‘n Frys, Florissant, Mo: Peanut Butter Jelly Bacon Dog
This hip Missouri dog destination has 25 different hot dog varieties on its menu, each wilder than the last. But we’re most intrigued by the Peanut Butter Jelly Bacon Dog, which is topped with a strip of beef bacon as well as a healthy dose of peanut butter and jelly. The icing on the cake? Caramelized onions.
Danish Dogs, New York City
Yelp/ Tom G.
Tucked inside Grand Central Terminal, chef Klaus Meyer sells four Scandinavian-inspired hot dogs from a little stand called Danish Dogs, and each one is worthy of mention. From left to right, here’s the the Great Dane (beef and pork hot dog, spiced ketchup, remoulade, mustard, white onion, pickled cucumber, and crispy shallots); the Kvik (pork sausage, pickled turnips, mustard mayo, white onion, pork cracklings, and cress); the Gravhund (beef sausage, red cabbage, beet remoulade, lingonberry preserve, crispy shallots, and pickled onion); and the Hen Hound (with chicken sausage, tarragon mayo, apple-horseradish ketchup, green tomato relish, white cabbage, and cress). They’re all unlike any other hot dog you’ve ever had.
Vanguard, Milwaukee: Milwaukee-Style Hot Dog
Yelp/ Brandon E.
This just might be the cheesiest hot dog in existence. This popular Milwaukee sausage shop has several regional-styled dogs on their menu (the Buffalo, for example, is topped with Red Hot gravy, blue cheese, and celery salt), and they’ve really gone overboard in inventing the “Milwaukee-style” dog: It’s a hot dog (or one of the several other types of sausage available) topped with not one, not two, but three different cheeses: shredded Cheddar, Cheez Whiz, and deep-fried cheese curds. Only in Wisconsin.
Dat Dog, New Orleans
Dat Dog has four locations in the city, and they’re all ridiculously popular. Why? Because they’re turning out flawless versions of traditional dogs and some truly insane inventions of their own. There are nine sausages and more than 30 different toppings to choose from, but the wildest of the house specialties is the Crawfish Etouffee Dog, a crawfish sausage topped with homemade crawfish étouffée, sour cream, onions, tomatoes, and Creole mustard.