A Quick Guide to Regional Hot Dog Styles

Editor
From a Coney to a Sonoran, we’ve got you covered

Arthur Bovino

All a New York-style dog needs is a streak of mustard and some sauerkraut.

Hot dogs are a beloved part of American culinary culture, so ingrained in our daily lives that we tend to not give them much thought. But when you think of a hot dog, what do you imagine? Is it smothered in chili, cheese, onions, and mustard? Or maybe it’s buried under a pile of sauerkraut and some deli mustard? Odds are, wherever you’re from, there’s a regional variety of hot dog in your area. Some are defined by their toppings, others by the brand that produces them, but they’re all unique, and all undoubtedly delicious. Here are five regional hot dog varieties that you should definitely know about.

New York

The classic New York City hot dog is produced by Sabrett, Nathan’s, or Hebrew National. Never topped with ketchup, these hot dogs are usually finished off with mustard and sauerkraut, or sweet onions in a tomato-based sauce, produced by Sabrett.

Michigan

Around the Detroit area, Coney dogs are a major regional specialty. Natural casing beef or beef and pork German-style wieners are topped with a slightly soupy, flavorful beef heart-based chili sauce, yellow mustard, and raw white onions. 

Arizona

Found primarily in Phoenix, Tucson, and the neighboring Sonora, Mexico, the Sonoran dog is a bacon-wrapped hot dog that’s cooked on a grill or griddle before being tucked into a bun and topped with a combination of beans, grilled and fresh onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, jalapeno salsa, and crema.

Washington, DC

In the nation’s capital, the most popular local sausage is the half-smoke, found at places like Ben’s Chili Bowl. It’s thicker, spicier, and coarser-ground than your usual hot dog, and is topped with spicy chili sauce, diced onions, and occasionally a little mustard.

Chicago

Chicago dogs are likely as renowned as New York hot dogs. They’re made with Vienna Beef or Red Hot Chicago all-beef dogs, which are steamed before being tucked into a steamed poppy seed bun and topped with yellow mustard, neon green sweet pickle relish, chopped white onions, sliced tomato, a dill pickle spear, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt; nothing more, nothing less. Don’t even think about asking for ketchup on one of these. 

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