The hot dog is America’s unofficial summertime dish. Whether you’re grilling by the pool, out in the wilderness on a camping trip, or enjoying a baseball game, it’s almost certain some franks will be involved. But as we know, not all weenies are created equal. Chefs are now taking the humble hot dog to a whole new level by handcrafting every component – from the link and the bun to every type of condiment and topping imaginable. In honor of National Hot Dog Day, we present a dozen delicious must-try haute dogs from top restaurants.
The Arsenal at Bluejacket, Washington, D.C.
You might feel like you’re hanging out with your Polish relatives. Executive chef Kyle Bailey fires up kielbasa on his outdoor grill, then tops it with plenty of red peppers and onions. As your uncle Piotr is fond of saying, “To jest pyszne” (Translation: That’s delicious). [Photo by Marissa Bialecki]
Bouchon, Beverly Hills, California
We love pretzel buns so much we’ve been known to compose haikus to them (Sample: Pretzel untwisted/Chewy, salt flecked brilliance/Tastes best with mustard). Here one of the brown rolls holds a prime chuck, apple wood-smoked hot dog crowned with cornichon relish and Dijonnaise sauce.
Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
This ain’t your average hot dog. Executive chef Joe Palma handcrafts this showboat from A5 Wagyu and pork, and then finishes it off with mustard, relish, and a side of duck fat fries. Simply glorious.
DBGB, New York, New York
This hot dog has a French accent. A housemade beef frank is shoehorned into a brioche bun then topped with sautéed onion, julienne radish, frisée, and pickled veggies. We say, “Oui, oui!”
Del Campo, Washington, D.C.
Chef-owner Victor Albisu puts his spin on the choripán, a South American street food classic. His version features a spicy chorizo link loaded up with pulled pork, red cabbage slaw, and sweet pickle salsa criolla. It’s best enjoyed with a glass of the smoked pineapple-laced pisco punch. [Photo by Greg Powers]
Dirt Candy, New York City
There’s no mystery meat in these broccoli dogs. Two of the verdant stalks are smoked, grilled, and quickly sautéed before they’re tucked into toasted buns. Condiments include broccoli kraut, mustard-vinegar sauce, and micro broccoli. Eat both and you’ve just consumed 800% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Seriously.
Fonda, Brooklyn, New York
Here’s a fact: bacon makes everything better. Case in point is the Mexico City hot dog. Not only is it wrapped in bacon, but there’s crumbled bacon atop it, along with avocado slices and pico de gallo. Time to hog out! [Photo by Adam Bernstein]
Founding Farmers, Tysons, Virginia
You know what they say about little hot dogs? Little buns. You can choose big flavored mini franks sassed up with tomato chow-chow, blue cheese and bacon, or our favorite, chili with shredded cheddar.
Kachina Southwestern Grill, Westminster, Colorado
In the Southwest, frankfurter fans love a good Sonoran dog. This one showcases a Kobe beef wiener in a house-crafted bolillo bun. It’s covered in a slew of garnishes, including apple wood-smoked bacon, pico de gallo, Cotija cheese, and smoked tomato aioli.
Kindred, Davidson, North Carolina
Get a taste of the Windy City down South. The Chicago dog comes in a sesame seed dotted housemade milk-bread bun pimped out with a pickle, mustard, sport peppers, and relish.
The Kirkland Tap & Trotter, Somerville, Massachusetts
Chef Tony Maws spent more than a year creating the Kirkland dog. The frankfurter is forged from all-natural pork shoulder and grass-fed beef chuck and shoulder. It arrives in a house-baked pretzel bun (Don’t worry, we won’t force you to read another one of our haikus!) with spicy chow-chow and homemade yellow mustard.
Vinoteca, Washington, D.C.
We haven’t watched the Miss Universe pageant in years, but we can’t take our eyes off this stunner, which shares its name. This head-turning hot dog is served Colombian-style with grilled pineapple, salsa rosada, fresh cheese, and crumbled potato chips. Its talent is that it’s frickin’ delicious.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.