For some, the thought of a hotdog nestled in a bun and loaded with cheese, chili, onions, bacon, mustard, relish, guacamole, sour cream and ketchup is a refined gourmet meal eaten in style, to others it is the perfect counterpart to a beer and a ball game. But one thing that is indisputable is how richly American this iconic meal is everywhere is it served. These are the Weekly Gravy’s picks for the best ten dogs in the U.S.
10) Rutt’s Hut, Clifton, N.J. – The Ripper with relish: Don’t let the look of this dog fool you, few can compete with a meal this good. A pork-and-beef wiener is deep fried until the skin tears, revealing the delicious and juicy interior. Rutt’s relish is the perfect addition to such a succulent dog. It is a spicy, sweet and dense concoction that delivers.
9) Good Dog Hot Dog, Houston – Ol’ Zapata Dog: This particular hotdog is a food truck creation, only further proving that insanely good meals can come from anywhere. This renowned treat is loaded with muenster cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, a Jalapeño relish, as well as Good Dog’s own ketchup and mayonnaise.
8) Superdawg Drive-In, Chicago – Superdawg: This is the first stop is the Windy City, but it certainly won’t be the last. Chicagoans know how to serve the best things in buns. This classic, served in ’50s diner glory isn’t dressed up in gourmet trappings. It’s a delicious pure-beef hotdog loaded with the basic condiments. Tried and true.
7) Boston Super Dog, Roxbury, Mass. – Loaded: We’re talking about a half-pound dog that is marinated in apple cider before it is smoked, grilled and basted in barbecue sauce. For those not faint of heart, get it with all the good stuff: chili, mustard and onions.
6) Shaller’s Drive-In, Rochester, N.Y. – Meat sauce, mustard and onions: Made from the upstate fixture, the White Dog, a combination of pork, beef and veal made by Zweigle’s, their personal best is a hotdog loaded with their spicy meat sauce, mustard and onions. This excellent dog is a piece of history.
5) Senate Pub, Cincinnati – Croque Madame: This exquisite dog is a new twist on many a familiar flavor. Loaded with Black Forest ham, poached egg and béchamel, you had better bring an appetite!
4) Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots, Chicago – Mighty Dog: This is a delicious pairing not everyone would expect, but they just so happen to go beautifully together. It is a hotdog and a tamale served on a bun with chili and cheese. If you’re imagining a delectable cheesy mountain, this place is for you.
3) Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington, D. C. – The Half-Smoke: This famous dish is a capital city mainstay. A half-smoke is a half-pork, half-beef smoked sausage. Although this establishment’s chili cheese dogs are notorious, we recommend keeping the toppings to a minimum.
2) Pink’s, Los Angeles – Three Dog Night: This place has set the bar for hotdogs and chili for decades and one of their best creations continuously is getting rediscovered. This particular mammoth of flavor is three hotdogs, three slices of cheese, three slices of bacon, chili and onions, all wrapped up in a tortilla.
1) Hot Doug’s, Chicago – Foie Gras and Sauternes: If you ever have the chance to try this magnificent hotdog, do not pass it by. It is a foie gras and Sauternes duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and feur de sel. This dish alone has made Hot Doug’s a Chicago staple in a little over ten years.