Fourth of July is next week and it wouldn’t quite be a celebration without a hot dog. Everyone has a different way to eat one – some might have a really different way to eat them. And some people have very strong opinions against the use of ketchup. While the toppings might be different, the food is the same. Here is a list of the best cities for hot dogs — or at least with the most interesting hot dog traditions.
New York City
New Yorkers keep it simple: an all-beef hot dog, spicy brown mustard and sauerkraut or raw onions. From the carts on Central Park all the way to Coney Island, this is how you get a hot dog in New York.
Detroiters eat Coney Island Hot Dogs or “Coneys” but they are a far cry from the brown mustard and sauerkraut people in Coney Island actually eat. A Coney is an all-beef hot dog topped with all-meat chili, raw onion and yellow mustard. The name comes from the Coney Island style restaurant, but the hot dog originated in Michigan.
In the City of Big Shoulders you get a hot dog with Big Toppings. To an outsider, having an all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun topped with yellow mustard, diced onions, neon green sweet pickle relish (has to be neon), a whole dill pickle spear, tomato slices, whole sport peppers and a dash of celery salt, is totally weird and totally too much. But to a Chicagoan, it tastes like home.
If you’re traveling to Honolulu or other parts of Hawaii, you’ll find the brilliant Hawaiian style hot dog. It’s a Hawaiian sweet bun pierced in the center – so it doesn’t have to be sliced – and a grilled Polish sausage is placed inside so the whole dog is wrapped in bread. It’s garnished with mango or pineapple relish and Hawaiian mustard or garlic lemon sauce. A Hawaiian dog with shave ice for dessert – that’s island style.
Dodger Dogs are what the ballpark is serving in Los Angeles. It’s a skinless, foot-long pork dog, grilled or steamed and topped however you like it. That means you can put mustard AND ketchup on it without getting any ribbing from other hot dog eaters.
In Maine, they go to Cape Neddick to get their hot dog fix. The hot dogs are steamed and 90% of them are topped with mayonnaise and onion sauce. Compared to a Chicago dog, Maine hot dog toppings may be pared down, but outsiders think they’re just as weird.
Just when you didn’t think hot dogs could get any weirder, we arrive at Seattle. In Seattle, a Polish sausage is split down the middle, cloaked in a toasted bialy and shmeared with cream cheese. It originated in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s; much like the grunge music of the same period, it is an acquired taste.
In Tucson and in other parts of Arizona, you will find the Sonoran hot dog. Being it was created in the Southwest, this makes sense. Kind of. It’s like a taco-hot dog fusion. It has hot and cold toppings; hot: pinto beans, bacon and grilled onions; cold: diced onions, diced tomatoes, jalapeno sauce, mustard and mayonnaise. It’s a lot for a wiener to take on, but it’s a winner.
A hot dog is a hot dog and this list proves you can put anything you want on a hot dog – including ketchup.