As All American As A Hot Dog? (Part 2)

Yesterday we explored the amazing history and tremendous popularity of the Hot Dog across the globe, so today let’s look around the United States and see the vast variety of options that we have…

Hot Dogs Across The United States!


Hot dogs made with caribou meat added are called Reindeer Dogs.


The Sonoran hot dog is popular in Tucson, Phoenix, and elsewhere in southern Arizona, as well as in the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora. It is a hot dog wrapped in mesquite-smoked bacon, cooked on a grill or on a griddle or comal, then topped with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard and jalapeño salsa or sauce, and served on a bolillo roll, often with a side of fresh-roasted chili pepper. It originated in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora.


In Los Angeles, Pink's Hot Dogs promotes its celebrity customers and its chili dogs, the latter of which come in a wide number of varieties. A local chain, Tommy's, also has chili dogs featuring a premium natural casing hot dog.

The Farmer John Dodger Dog is sold at Dodger Stadium. Street vendors in Los Angeles also serve the "Downtown Dog" or "Danger Dog" a Mexican-style bacon-wrapped hot dog with grilled onions, jalapeños, bell peppers, mustard, ketchup and salsa as condiments.

Oki Dog, in West Hollywood, or Oki's Dog, on Pico serves the Original Oki Dog—two hot dogs on a flour tortilla, covered with chili and pastrami and wrapped up like a burrito. This is a variation on a hot dog served on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is where it takes its name.

Also common in Los Angeles and San Francisco are bacon-wrapped hot dogs, often served with toppings such as fried peppers and onions, mayonnaise, etc. These are typically sold by street vendors who grill the hot dogs on small push-carts. The legality of such operations may be questionable in some instances. Locals sometimes refer to these treats as "danger dogs" or "heart attack dogs".


Connecticut hot dog restaurants often serve Hummel Bros, Martin Rosol or Grote and Weigel dogs, which are family operations, with national brands being relatively less common. Hot dogs are typically served on New England rolls. There is otherwise no particular Connecticut style. It is customary for hot dogs to be served plain so the customer can put their own condiments on the hot dog.

District of Columbia

A half-smoke is a "local sausage delicacy" found in Washington, D.C. and the surrounding region. Similar to a hot dog, but usually larger, spicier, and with more coarsely-ground meat, the sausage is often half-pork and half-beef, smoked, and served with herbs, onion, and chili sauce.


In Columbus, Georgia, a local favorite is the "scrambled dog," the exemplar of which was first served at the Dinglewood Pharmacy by "The Lieutenant" Charles Stevens over 50 years ago. The scrambled dog is a chopped hot dog covered by chili, onions and pickles with an accompanying portion of oyster crackers.[18]

In Fitzgerald, Georgia, Johnnie's Drive In served the "scrambled dog" beginning in the early 1940s. Johnnie's scrambled dog is two sliced hot dogs over a hot dog bun with mustard and catsup and covered with oyster crackers, chili, cole slaw, and sliced dill pickle.


Steamed kosher-style all-beef, natural-casing hot dog on a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, Chicago-style relish, hot sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt.

Kansas and Missouri

A Kansas City-style hot dog is a pork sausage in a sesame seed bun topped with brown mustard, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese.  The Reuben Dog is inspired by the famous deli sandwich and sold by the dozens at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium—home of the Royals. The frank itself is all-beef and is topped with melted cheese, caraway seeds, sauerkraut, and plenty of Thousand Island dressing.


The most popular variety of hot dog in Maine is made with natural casing. The casing is colored red, and one company refers to their red variety as red snappers.


The Baltimore Bologna Dog is a kosher all-beef dog, wrapped in bologna, griddled, lined with yellow mustard, fit snugly into a toasted bun, and best alongside a crisp can of Natty Boh.


In Boston, hot dogs are often served steamed as opposed to grilled. The Fenway Frank, served at Fenway Park, is a fixture for Red Sox fans, and there are several other local brands such as Pearl that are used. Hot dogs in the Boston area are associated with Boston baked beans, though this is not unique to the region. Ketchup, mustard, relish, picalilli, and chopped onions are the most common toppings.


In southeastern Michigan, restaurants serve what's known as a Coney dog, developed early in the 20th century by Greek immigrants. "Coney joints" are very specific as to the ingredients: a natural-casing beef or beef and pork European-style Vienna sausage of German origin having a natural lamb or sheep casing, topped with a beef heart-based sauce, one or two stripes of yellow mustard and diced or chopped white onions. There are three variations on the Coney dog: Jackson style, which started in 1914 with a ground beef sauce prior to switching to ground beef heart in the early 1940s, Detroit style, first served in 1917 and made with a more soupy beef heart-based sauce, and Flint style, with Flint Coney Island opening in 1924 serving a specially-developed Koegel's coney topped with thicker, meatier sauce based on a Macedonian goulash, made almost entirely of a finely ground beef heart blend from Abbott's Meat. With over 350 chain and independent purveyors of these dogs in the metro-Detroit area alone, an entire restaurant industry has developed from the hot dog and are called Coney Islands. A coney dog is not to be confused with a chili dog, a more generic ground beef-based chili-topped hot dog.

New Jersey

New Jersey's Italian hot dog, includes diced fried potatoes combined with brown mustard served on a spicy hot dog. The most common brands of spicy hot dogs used are Sabrett's or Best's, both of which are NJ companies. A traditional Italian Hot Dog is made by cutting a round "pizza bread" in half (for a double) or into quarters (for a single), cutting a pocket into it and spreading the inside with mustard. A deep-fried dog (or two if it is a double) is put in the pocket, topped with fried (or sautéed) onions and peppers, and then topped off with crisp-fried potato chunks. A variation of this, often found at express takeout restaurants (such as "chicken shacks," Chinese restaurants, pizzerias, etc., and can also be requested at some lunch trucks and luncheonettes across the state) substitutes French fries for the traditional potato round, and in some spots a Portuguese or sub roll replaces the traditional round bread used.

New York

In New York City, the natural-casing all-beef hot dogs served at Katz's Delicatessen, Gray's Papaya, Papaya King, Papaya Dog and any Sabrett cart are all made by Sabrett's parent company, Marathon Enterprises, Inc.. Nathan's hot dogs, which are all-beef and come in both natural-casing and skinless, were also made by Marathon until several years ago. Local kosher brands—which are not permitted natural casings—include Hebrew National, Empire National. The usual condiments are mustard and sauerkraut, with optional sweet onions in a tomato based sauce invented by Alan Geisler, usually made by Sabrett. Hot dogs are available on street corners as well as at delicatessens. New York street vendors generally store their unsold dogs in warm-water baths, giving rise to the semi-affectionate moniker "dirty water dog." Bagel dogs are also sold in Manhattan.

The white hot or "porker" is a variation on the hot dog found mostly in the Rochester area. It is composed of some combination of uncured and unsmoked pork, beef, and veal; it is believed that the lack of smoking or curing allows the meat to retain a naturally white color. White hots are almost exclusively eaten with mustard, specifically spicy brown, and other spices, and often include a dairy component such as nonfat dry milk.

Zweigle's of Rochester, NY makes 'White Hots' or 'Porker' which is slang Rochester natives refer to the natural casing sausage. A flavor profile which is based off a German Weisswurst Sausage made of pork, beef and veal and is produced similarly to a Texas Hot Dog or 'Red Hots' but doesn't receive any nitrates for color, therefore retaining its natural coloring of 'white' after its cooked in the smokehouse.

In the Capital District surrounding Albany, smaller-than-usual wieners are served with a spicy meat sauce; the Capital District style is quite similar to the New York System or Hot Wieners of Rhode Island. In the mid-twentieth century, hot dog purveyors reportedly would carry the dogs to the table lined up on their bare forearms, giving rise to the term "the Hairy Arm"; today, health codes prohibit this practice. Further north, in three locations in and around Glens Falls, New Way Lunch has served similar hot dogs with meat sauce, mustard, and raw onions for nearly 100 years.

Buffalo, Rochester and Western New York state are known for charcoal-broiled hot dogs, cooked over real hardwood charcoal. Prominent purveyors include Ted's and Louie's.

Texas hots have a niche following in western New York, where the Rigas family (later of Adelphia Communications infamy) introduced the dish. A 2017 article in the Olean Times Herald made note of the dish's disappearance from the city of Olean.

Rutt's Hut in Clifton, NJ is famed for its rippers, hot dogs deep-fried to the point where the sausages burst open, resulting in a dense, caramelized outer casing. The rippers are served with Rutt's homemade relish, a blend of mustard, onions, carrots and cabbage.

The Texas Wiener was created in Paterson, New Jersey sometime before 1920. The "Texas" reference is to the chili sauce used on the dogs, which actually has a stronger Greek influence due to the ethnicity of the cooks who invented it. The wiener, also referred to as an all-the-way dog, consists of a hot dog covered in Düsseldorf mustard (as opposed to the Coney, which uses yellow mustard), diced onions, and chili sauce.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, hot dogs have a distinct red color and are prepared Carolina style which includes chili, cole slaw and onions; locally, mustard sometimes replaces slaw, or is added as a fourth item. Merritt's Burger House has been serving Carolina hot dogs since 1958.


In Cincinnati, a hot dog topped with Cincinnati chili is called a "coney," and when grated cheddar cheese is added, a "cheese coney." The default coney also includes mustard and diced onion.

In Cleveland, a kielbasa or hot dog served on a bun covered with a layer of french fries, a layer of sweet southern style barbecue sauce or hot sauce, and a layer of coleslaw is called a Polish Boy. Variations exist for the preparation of the sausage or hot dog, whether it is grilled or fried. Another Cleveland favorite found at any north-eastern Ohio sporting or entertainment venues, is a hot dog with "Stadium Mustard". Stadium Mustard is a type of Brown mustard with similar flavor to a spicy Dijon mustard.

Toledo is known for Tony Packo's Cafe. Their "Hungarian hot dog" is technically a Hungarian sausage called Kolbász, not unlike the Polish kielbasa, is about twice the diameter of a conventional hot dog, and is sliced in half before being grilled and topped with the restaurant's spicy chili sauce.


There are several variety of local dog recipes in Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, street vendors sell hot dogs that can be topped with one or more of several traditional Philadelphia toppings: ketchup, mustard (yellow and/or spicy brown), chopped onion (cooked/soft or raw), relish, and (without exception) sauerkraut. In Allentown, Pennsylvania there is regional Yocco's Hot Dogs. Various shops and butchers in Pennsylvania make traditional German natural casing franks. Altoona, Pennsylvania has two remaining Texas Hot Dog stands that claim a legacy going back to 1918. The Texas Tommy was invented in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and is prepared with bacon and cheese.

Rhode Island

The hot wiener or New York System wiener is a staple of the food culture of Rhode Island.It is typically made from a small, thin hot dog made of veal and pork, thus giving it a different taste from a traditional hot dog made of beef. Once placed in a steamed bun, the wiener is topped with a meat sauce seasoned with a myriad of spices like cumin, paprika, chili powder, and allspice, which is itself covered in finely chopped onions, celery salt, and yellow mustard.


The Texas Weiner is an all-beef dog, deep-fried and topped with spicy mustard, chopped raw onion, and "Greek sauce"... a smooth, chili-like sauce made with ground meat and seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cayenne.


In Seattle, hot dogs are served with cream cheese and grilled onions on a toasted bun. The sausages are split in half and grilled before being put in the bun. Stands offer a variety of condiments, such as Sriracha sauce and jalapeños.

West Virginia

A hot dog with a chili sauce made with finely ground meat, chopped fresh onions, coleslaw and yellow mustard.


​© 2020 Brian Beal Moore Catering, a division of Mendoza & Moore, LLC

Created by Gustavo A. Mendoza. All rights reserved.

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