Hot dogs are a classic American treat, whether you get them at a ball game, a street cart, or grill them up at home. But the type of hot dog you enjoy may depend on the area of the country you live in. With so much variety in terms of toppings, there are numerous hot dogs you can try to see which one you like best.
To help you honor National Hot Dog Day on July 20 and enjoy as many varieties of hot dogs as you can, here’s our guide to some of the many delicious and unusual types of hot dogs across the United States. You can chow down on one whenever you’re traveling or cook up your own version at home. Keep reading to discover your new favorite hot dog.
Chicago Hot Dog
A Chicago dog consists of an all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun along with a smorgasbord of toppings: yellow mustard, dark green relish, chopped raw onion, pickle spear, sport peppers, tomato slices, plus some celery salt. With all the fixings, the Chicago dog is a treat for anyone who likes a hearty dog.
Philadelphia Hot Dog
While some pay homage to Philly’s beloved cheesesteaks by adding Cheez Whiz to their hot dogs, a Philadelphia-style hot dog actually involves a hot dog that’s been split down the middle, topped with sweet coleslaw and some spicy mustard, with a twist—a side of fish cake placed right inside the bun.
New York Hot Dog
New York dogs are simple yet delicious: a boiled hot dog on a soft bun topped with onion relish, sauerkraut, and brown mustard. A New York hot dog is a classic part of any trip to the Big Apple.
Alaska Hot Dog (Reindeer Dog)
The Alaska hot dog differentiates itself right off the bat by the meat it’s made of: a mix of caribou and beef and/or pork. This dog is served on a steamed bun with onions that have been cooked with Coca-Cola (yes, really), plus mustard and cream cheese. If you’re the type who likes the unusual, go for an Alaska dog if you’re in the area.
Appalachian Hot Dog (West Virginia, Appalachian South)
The Appalachian hot dog, also known as a West Virginia hot dog, comes with toppings galore: beanless chili, chopped onions, mustard, and some sweet cabbage coleslaw. First sold during the Great Depression in the 1920s using inexpensive ingredients like cabbage, the Appalachian dog is still popular 100 years later.
Red Snapper Hot Dog (Maine)
Fittingly, the red snapper hot dog is a grilled beef or pork dog dyed red, with a natural casing (which produces a “snap” sound when bitten into), on a toasted hot dog bun topped with yellow mustard. These are a popular staple at Maine barbecues.
Seattle Hot Dog
A Seattle dog is topped with cream cheese and grilled onions, created by a man who sold bagels from a cart and kept getting asked for meat. His solution? Put the two together.
Sonoran Hot Dog
A Sonoran hot dog will appeal to meat lovers: it consists of a hot dog wrapped in bacon, then grilled, served on a bolillo-style bun (which is crusty on the outside, soft on the inside) along with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and other toppings depending on your preference. Be warned: Unlike other hot dogs that you can likely eat while walking down the street, you’ll want to sit down to eat a Sonoran.
Tijuana Hot Dog
While the Tijuana hot dog has its roots in Mexico, today you’re most likely to find this hot dog, which is also called a danger dog, in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. A Tijuana dog is perfect for meat lovers: it’s wrapped in bacon, then deep-fried, and served on a soft bun along with a selection of toppings, which can include everything from guacamole, salsa, and sour cream to jalapeños, tomatoes, and beans. How you fix it up is up to you!
Half Smoke Hot Dog (Washington, DC)
A half-smoke hot dog is a popular variety in Washington, DC, though it’s actually a sausage made of half beef and half pork, often a little spicier than a typical hot dog, that’s smoked and served with onions and chili. This is another hot dog that’s pretty messy so have plenty of napkins handy if you try one.
With such a popular food as the hot dog, there are countless ways to dress it up! What’s your favorite hot dog? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org