Hot dogs have been nudging their way into the menu spotlight at many burger joints but nowhere more than at Chicago’s Rockit Burger Bar, which next month celebrates its second annual “Hot Dog Takeover.”
From September 4th through 7th, the restaurant will feature hot dogs inspired by its burgers. The dogs include The Double (with toppings from the Double Cheeseburger), Macdaddy (with the braised beef short rib, mac and cheese, caramelized onions from the burger of the same name), and the Truffle Mushroom (with toppings—including truffle crème fraîche—from the Truffle Mushroom Burger).
While there hasn’t exactly been a “takeover” yet, hot dogs are joining chicken sandwiches and burgers to become a power trio on many burger-bar menus. According to Paul Pendola, foodservice industry analyst at Mintel, there has been a 6% increase in quick-service menu appearances by hot dogs over the past three years. Sausages are up 5%.
An unscientific BurgerBusiness random survey of 100 burger bars found 35% of them have at least one hot dog option on the menu. Some, such as The Burger Shack in Whitehall, Pa., have more. Its nine dogs include a Pork Dog with pulled pork and a Texas Dog with house barbecue sauce, bacon and cheese spread. Epik Burger in Jacksonville, Fla., just added hot dogs to its menu, with options that include the A1A, topped with jumbo shrimp, grilled pineapple and wasabi cocktail sauce.
Burger chains are sensing hot dogs’ resurgence. Just this week, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers added its grilled-bratwurst-topped ÜberBurger. Burger King reportedly tested grilled hot dogs and corn dogs recently. Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s went to its usual extreme with the Most American Thickburger, topped with a split hot dog, potato chips, pickles, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mustard.
Some burger bars are making hot dogs their “burger” of the month special. Reuben Dogs with pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Cajun rémoulade are the August special at Westchester Burger Co. in White Plains, N.Y. Los Angeles’ The Oinkster made a Chili Dog (quarter-pound hot dog, chili, mustard, tomato, diced onion, shredded Cheddar and a pickle spear) its BOTM in April.