10 Hot Dog Styles to Try While Traveling

Chicago Style Hot Dog10 Regional Hot Dog Styles You Have to Try

Like apple pie, hot dogs are a food icon when it comes to Americans. So, it seems fitting that the U.S. celebrates National Hot Dog Day on July 21 every year. To honor National Hot Dog Day, we’re highlighting 10 regional hot dog styles in the U.S. that have found fame. Try them for yourself as you travel across America!

1. Chicago Dog

We’ll start with the Midwest, where hot dogs are as common as cornfields. Their popularity is most evident in Chicago, where locals passionately defend their unique preference in toppings.

A Chicago dog (pictured above) begins with an all-beef hot dog and a poppy seed bun. But it’s really the toppings that set this “dog” apart:

  • Yellow mustard
  • Neon green relish
  • Chopped onions
  • Pickle spears
  • Sport peppers
  • Tomato slices
  • Celery salt

If you’re visiting Chicago, don’t make the mistake of dissing their local delicacy. And never, ever ask for a Chicago dog with ketchup!

2. Detroit Coney

Like Chicagoans, Detroiters have a fierce pride for their favorite hot dog style. Called a Coney dog, this snack is simple, but delicious. A proper Detroit Coney is made with an all-beef hot dog and a steamed white bun topped with bean-free chili, diced white onion, and yellow mustard.

Metro-Detroit is also famous for their Coney Island restaurants, which all stem from the originals of Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island in downtown Detroit. These diners were founded by the Keros brothers, who hailed from Greece, and their 80-year sibling rivalry still exists to this day. Both restaurants, which sits side-by-side from each other, claim to be Detroit’s best Coney dog, so you can always try both and decide which one you like better.

3. Cincinnati Coney

Michigan and Ohio are long-time rivals that extend beyond college sports. Cincinnati has its own Coney style that’s distinct from a Detroit Coney. A Cincinnati Coney uses a pork-beef hot dog topped with:

  • Cincinnati chili (spiced with cinnamon and cocoa)
  • Diced white onion
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

These toppings are similar to Skyline Chili, another Cincinnati favorite. Say what you will about Cincinnati, but its taste is unique if nothing else.

4. Kansas City Hot Dog

Our final featured hot dog style from the Midwest hails from Kansas City. The KC dog pairs a pork-beef hot dog and a sesame seed bun with melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and mustard. Some also add Thousand Island dressing to create a hot dog that’s akin to a Reuben sandwich.

5. New York Hot Dog

Moving along to the East Coast brings us to the famous New York hot dog. You’ll find these dogs served at push carts around the city and they’re great for snacking on the go.

A New York hot dog begins with a Kosher beef hot dog and a white bun. Then, you add mustard, sauerkraut and onions cooked in tomato paste. Ketchup alone is usually a no-no, so stick with the standard toppings unless you want to be pegged as a tourist.

New Jersey Style Hot Dog6. Jersey-Style Hot Dog

Across the Hudson River, New Jersey has its own style of hot dog. Sometimes called an Italian dog, a Jersey-style hot dog is all-beef and is served on an Italian roll with fried peppers, onions, and potatoes. This is more substantial than your average sausage, so come hungry and make it a meal!

7. D.C. Half-Smoke

The nation’s capital is home to the half-smoke, a spicy, smoked sausage that’s made of 50-50 pork and beef. Ben’s Chili Bowl serves up the classic half-smoke with spicy chili, diced white onion, and mustard, but you’ll find variants around Washington, D.C.

8. Atlanta Dog

If you’re visiting the South, they do hot dogs a bit differently. In Atlanta, Georgia, the meat and bun aren’t specified, but the toppings sure are. ATL serves its hot dogs topped with chili, mustard, and creamy coleslaw. The cool slaw is a novel twist that helps beat the sweltering Southern heat!

9. Southwest Sonoran Dog

In the Southwest, the Sonoran dog reigns supreme in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. A Sonoran dog is wrapped in bacon and topped with pinto beans, tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and variety of condiments. The most popular sauces include mayo, mustard, and salsa verde, but no one will judge you for trying something new.

Seattle Style Hot Dog10. Seattle-style Hot Dog

Wrapping up our list is the Seattle-style hot dog. Reportedly created by a bagel cart, a Seattle hot dog is topped with cream cheese, sautéed onions, and jalapenos. Notably, the hot dogs themselves are split open and seared, and Polish sausage is often substituted in a Seattle dog. Some residents of the Emerald City add spicy brown mustard or Sriracha for extra zip.

Some of the greatest stories stem from sampling new foods. As you travel across the U.S., try regional dishes like the many hot dog styles that reflect America’s diverse population. You’ll enjoy new taste sensations and perhaps find a new favorite you can try at home.

We all have that one friend who LOVES hot dogs. Share this post with them and ask how many styles they’ve tried!

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