If you’re looking for a deep-fried hot dog on a stick, there are a handful of chains worth trying.
While corn dogs—aka, hot dogs (or sausages) wrapped in a thick cornmeal-based batter and deep-fried on a stick—are often thought of as a treat reserved for the beach or county fair, there are some fast-food chains that carry stellar versions of the deep-fried treat. And while we don’t recommend eating corn dogs regularly as part of a healthy diet, we do recommend treating yourself to whatever you’re craving once in a while. And if you’re craving a corn dog, you’re going to want to keep reading.
The exact origins of this cornmeal-battered dog are a mystery, according to most reports. Several patents were filed for contraptions that were intended to cook something similar looking to the iconic sweet and savory treat, according to The Daily Meal, but there’s no definitive evidence. It appears that the first corn dog-like food appeared on the scene in 1930, but it was called a Pronto Pup.
What makes a corndog so good is the subtle sweet outside with the smoky hot dog interior. Plus, it stays super hot—and who doesn’t love a treat that comes on a stick.? Still, while many national chains do not offer corn dogs (Sonic is the only major exception). But depending on where you live, you can find a few excellent examples of the fair food. If you’re looking for a dose of fun with lunch, here are seven spots to get a great corn dog.
If you’re looking for a corn dog nearby, Sonic is probably your best bet. The chain has over 3,500 locations across 47 states. The corn dog at Sonic is a perfect example of the meaty treat. A simple hot dog is wrapped in slightly sweet corn meal batter and deep fried.
The chain also carries several hot dogs with different toppings. The Chili Cheese Coney is topped with warm chili and melty cheddar and can also be had in a foot-long size. The All-America Dog has ketchup, yellow mustard, relish, and diced onions—which is a fresh combo you really should try! Of course, you can always get your favorite toppings too.
Culver’s is one of the premier fast-food chains in the U.S. in terms of sourcing fresh ingredients—the 100% beef burgers are cooked from fresh-never-frozen beef and the chain churns out frozen custard all day long. Culver’s corn dogs are made from pork franks and double-coated in a sweet honey cornmeal batter and then deep-fried.
If you want to find a Culver’s location, look to the Midwest and Florida, though the chain can be found in 26 states, and more are always being planned.
With a name like Wienerschnitzel, you know you’re in for some seriously good hot dogs—and more innovative options, including a great corn dog. The chain started with a single location in Southern California in 1961 and has grown to over 320 locations in 11 states.
The hot dog creations at Wienerschnitzel are made with the chain’s original, all-beef, or Polish hot dog. Like Culver’s, this corn dog is double-dipped in sweet honey batter and deep-fried. The Mini Corn Dogs are made with miniature franks that are dipped in the same sweetened batter and fried. The chain also serves burgers, desserts, and various breakfast items.
4. Hot Dog on a Stick
It’s not really a surprise that a place called Hot Dog on a Stick serves up delicious corn dogs. The chain, which has 45 locations, also offers up cheese on a stick, french fries, funnel cake sticks, and “hand-stomped” lemonade. The corn dogs come in turkey, veggie, or with a Nathan’s Famous frank tucked inside—the winner of our exclusive hot dog taste test. For the cheese on a stick, you can choose from American, Pepper Jack, or Mozzarella Cheese. You can even order 25-stick Party Packs that you mix and match that will really make a crowd happy.
5. James Coney Island
While James Coney Island sounds like a spot that should be in New York’s famous Coney Island area, all of its seven locations are currently in Houston, Texas. The chain, while smaller now than it once was, serves up different types of hot dogs, burgers, and several sides. It has traditional corn dogs for less than $3. This spot has quite a history, having just celebrated its 100th year in business. Presidents and famous actors like John Wayne have dined at the establishment for out-of-this-world coney dogs, chili cheese dogs, and, of course, a corn dog or two.
6. Ted’s Hot Dogs
What began in 1927 as a horse-drawn hot dog cart in a park on Buffalo’s West Side selling charcoal-broiled hot dogs, homemade onion rings, and real milkshakes has grown (slowly) to nine locations. You can find Ted’s Hot Dogs in Western New York, plus there’s a single location in Tempe, AZ. The chain is known for its unique franks cooked on a cast iron pan over hot coals. The chain also carries corn dogs if you’re looking for an easy-to-eat frank on a stick. The chain serves up local faves Sahlen’s franks and Mineo & Sapio sausages.
7. The Original Hot Dog Factory
If you want hot dogs every single way you can possibly imagine, The Original Hot Dog Factory delivers. You can get everything from classic combos—like a Chicago dog with whole pickles, sweet relish, onions, mustard, and celery seed—to wild creations like a Surf & Turf Dog with jumbo lump crabmeat. And, yes, you can also get an all-beef hot dog battered in the iconic sweet cornmeal crust, or a dozen poppable corn dog nuggets. There are 15 locations to choose from across the country, with the most in Atlanta.
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