With over 7.6 billion dollars being spent on hot dogs annually, it means our options are endless. Los Angeles residents alone outpace every other city across America by consuming a whopping 95 million hot dogs and sausages each year.
That’s a lot of hot dogs!
Who could’ve imagined that such a simple yet affordable frankfurter imported from Germany would gain such popularity and become a staple in our everyday cuisine?
It’s rather impressive that a working-class street food from the 1860s sold in street carts and stands has evolved into a multi-dimensional, cult-favorite that transcends socioeconomics.
Simply put, there’s a hot dog for everybody.
So, in case you’ve been living under a rock and have never eaten a hot dog, you might be wondering what it actually is.
In the most basic terms, a hot dog is either a sausage or an all-beef (or mixture of pork and beef) ground meat weiner in a casing that’s either grilled, boiled, or deep fried and nestled in a bun and topped with your favorite condiments.
A hot dog just might be the funnest food experience you’ll ever have!
We’re here to answer all of your steaming hot dog questions such as:
- What are the different types of franks?
- What are the best hot dog variations?
- What type of bread makes the best hot dog bun?
Let’s get started!
What Are the Different Types of Hot Dog Franks?
The most popular type of hot dog frankfurter is the all-beef variety. Hot dogs used to get a bad wrap because they were made with a lot of fillers and additives, but they’ve come a long way.
As consumers demanded a higher-quality product without nitrates or nitrates, hot dog makers rose to the occasion and provided healthier options.
The following hot dog brands are free of ingredients that would make you second guess eating a hot dog:
- Nathan’s Famous All Beef Franks
- Hebrew National Franks
- Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs
Are There Vegan Options?
Many people are opting for plant-based protein as opposed to their animal protein counterparts. Whether it’s based on nutrition or ethical choices, there are some great options for those choosing vegan hot dogs.
While plant-based hot dogs typically have the same protein as traditional hot dogs, they usually contain fewer calories and have less fat.
The following are great vegan hot dog options:
- Lightlife Smart Dogs are made from pea and soy protein and only have 50 calories.
- Field Roast Frankfurters are made of wheat gluten and have 190 calories with 120g of protein. They’re also plumper in comparison to other skinnier plant-based options.
- Be Leaf Hot Dogs are made of non-GMO soy and wheat proteins. They grill beautifully and only have 45 calories.
What Are the 10 Best Hot Dog Varieties?
No matter your personal hot dog preference, there are probably many you haven’t tried yet. So what are you waiting for?
Most major cities across the country have their signature style hot dog or have put their twist on the old classic. So let’s take a look at all of the scrumptious choices out there.
New York City is home to the New Yorker hot dog. The toppings include spicy brown mustard slathered on an all-beef frank and covered with sauerkraut and, or sauteed onions in tomato paste in a steamed or toasted bun.
Straight out of New Jersey, this dog makes you want to say, “Fuggedaboutit!” What you won’t forget is the taste. These dogs are fried in oil and topped with potatoes, onions, and peppers wrapped in pizza bread.
Chicagoans are crazy for their Chicago-style hot dogs. It’s an all-beef frankfurter nestled in a poppy seed bun and topped with tomato slices, yellow mustard, dill pickle spears, sport peppers, sweet relish, and celery salt.
Cincinnati Coney Dog
It might be simple, but it’s good! A grilled all-beef frank is drenched in Cincinnati chili, covered in mustard, and wrapped up in a white steamed bun. It’ll take you back to the boardwalk on Coney Island.
It’s a relatively simple name for a grilled or boiled weiner nestled in a steamed sesame seed bun and covered in meat sauce. It’s often garnished with yellow mustard, cheddar cheese, and raw onion. Perfection on a plate.
Named after the MLB team, The Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s a 10-inch hot dog soaked in beer and grilled to perfection. It’s finished with yellow mustard, onions, ketchup, and sweet relish.
Cleveland Polish Boy
This sausage sandwich hails from Ohio and is actually a link of kielbasa, which rests in a bun and is covered in french fries, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce, and finished off with coleslaw.
A Ripper dog is an all-beef frank that’s been deep fried to the preferred desired color of caramelization that actually causes the casing to burst open and give it an intense flavor profile. It’s often dressed in mustard, onions, chili, and cheese. An explosion in your mouth for sure!
Popular in the Southwest, this bacon-wrapped hot dog is served on a bolillo bread roll. It’s topped with tomatoes, pinto beans, mustard, jalapeno sauce, and onion. Perfecto!
Perhaps one of the most whimsical of dogs is the corn dog. It’s a weiner on a stick that’s coated in a thick cornmeal batter and deep fried to a golden brown. It’s a Texas State Fair staple.
If you’re adventurous enough to try it at home, follow this simple recipe:
1C yellow cornmeal
1C all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ C granulated sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1qt vegetable oil (for frying)
2 pkgs of frankfurters
16 wooden skewers or popsicle sticks
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, sugar, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add eggs and milk and stir until blended well.
Preheat your oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Place wooden sticks into the frankfurters. Dip frankfurters into batter until well coated.
Place 2 or 3 corn dogs into the fryer at a time until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Serve with mustard and enjoy!
What Bread Makes the Best Hot Dog Bun?
The type of bun you choose for a hot dog largely depends on the frankfurter along with the toppings you choose. You’ll want bread that’s hearty enough to stand up to everything you layer on your hot dog without falling apart.
Below are some examples of a variety of hot dog bun options:
- Kaiser roll
- Pizza bread
- Pretzel roll
- Steamed white bun
- Poppyseed roll
So as you can see, the only limit to the types of hot dogs available to you is in your imagination. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavor combinations.
Whether you’re into Mexican tastes, German flair, or the plain ole chili dog, it’s a fun and exciting journey. You can incorporate both savory and sweet to make the perfect hot dog for any occasion.
Wherever you travel to, make sure to check out the local hot dog hangout. You’re guaranteed to find not only great food, but unique tastes.
We’re excited to be able to answer all things hot dog-related.