The Humble Hot Dog: America’s Favorite

Most of us have had a hot dog which, at its base, is a sausage. We have them at cookouts, home, and certainly ballparks. While they may have started as a Frankfurter and changed during World War 1, what many people don’t know is there are 100s of different types, flavors, toppings, and regional variations. I will list below the most famous types of these sandwiches which we have all had.

Detroit – The coney is an institution with a coney shop in every neighborhood. The dog is famous for its distinctive snap. The chili is a Greek based chili using lard, ground beef, and Greek spices. The knife and fork are needed to eat this sandwich. It it traditionally served with onions, mustard, and shoestring fries.

Skyline Cincinnati – This unique chili (you may remember my chili article) has cinnamon and cocoa powder. Then there is the topping of onions, cheese, and mustard. The dog is a flavorful mixed meat sausage from a local Cincinnati producer.

Cleveland – The “Polish Boy’s” unique flavor comes from the stacking of ingredients. A sausage topped with creamy coleslaw and French fries all bathed in tangy sweet bbq sauce. I am always amazed at how they keep the fries crispy under the bbq sauce.

New York – The ones I’m talking about are the ones on the street corner in carts. These iconic dogs are the simplest dog, just spicy mustard or with sauerkraut. The steamed bun is part of the meal. Try to put ketchup on it – I dare you.

Pittsburgh – It is a tradition in Pittsburg to put fries on a sandwich. The Pittsburg dog is no different; the most unique part of this icon is the provolone cheese, not what you usually see on a dog.

Kansas City – A burnt end sausage topped with baked beans and fried onion straws. Again, a knife and fork dog. Don’t wear a white shirt.

San Francisco – This is a bacon-wrapped dog with shredded lettuce and tomato. Mayo is the condiment of choice and is the ball park favorite.

Arizona – Another bacon -wrapped dog, but this time they add pinto beans, diced onions, and tomatoes. Topped with a jalapeño.

Seattle – Cream cheese comes on the dog. Sure, you can get onions, cheese, tomatoes, and sometimes jalapeños. I just can’t get past the cream cheese.

Alaska – Ha ha funny, wait, what,? Real reindeer or caribou is used in this dog? Well, yes it is, and ask Santa if everyone is accounted for. On top is grilled onions with caramelized Coke. Sweetness on top to cut gamy reindeer meat.

Corn Dogs – This isn’t the regional thing, but since millions are eaten every year. I’m including it. I love me a corn dog. Crunchy coating with a juicy hotdog inside – all you need is some mustard (ketchup if you are like 7). The best I’ve had are at the Florida state fair.

Rocky – First, this is the only foot long dog on the list. Second, this dog is a Hebrew National hot dog which is sold in my local mega mart. It usually comes with onions.

Chicago – This is a salad on a bun. It has an all beef hot dog topped on a poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, neon green sweet relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear, and celery salt. My favorite Chicago dog was at Mike Ditka’s Hot Dogs. It’s a meal on a bun.

I hope you find your favorite hot dog whether at the ball park or at home. This piece of Americana is part of all our heritage no matter where you’re from or where you eat it.

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