Whether it’s smoke-kissed brisket or perfectly pink ribeyes, Houstonians know how to treat their meat right. And the same can be said for even the most humble, tubular of meats: America’s darling, the hot dog. From sloppy dogs smothered in chili to Vietnamese Frankenweenies, here are 10 crave-worthy dogs you need to get acquainted with:
The 10 Best Hot Dogs in Houston
Good Dog Houston (address and info)
This food truck turned brick-and-mortar dog joint is a powerhouse in the weiner scene. That’s because every big and beefy Texas frank gets stuffed inside fresh, locally-made buns and stacked with addicting housemade condiments and outside-the-box accoutrements. Case in point: The Picnic Dog, where beef chili gets an extra kick from spicy chorizo, and potato salad is served ON (not on the side of) the dog.
The Hay Merchant (address and info)
If you’re going to eat a tube of meat loaded with even more meat, let it be this craftsmen-style monstrosity, where a fat and juicy 44 Farms jalapeño cheddar dog gets absolutely smothered with HM’s heat-packing chili. Not enough pizzazz for you yet? The extra helping of cheddar and pickled jalapeño should help with that.
LKHH Hot Dog
Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar (address and info)
This King Kong of hot dogs is probably not something you want to attempt with your hands (unless you totally don’t want that second Tinder date). As if smashing a duo of Wimmer's weenies was a bit too tame, the kitchen stacks on spicy and beefy lager chili, pickled onion and ‘peño, chile con queso, white cheddar, and a fried egg. Then, because they’re really just trying to kill you at this point, they serve the dog alongside chili cheese fries.
JCI Grill (address and info)
While akaushi beef and artisan creole mustard are awesome, sometimes you just want an old-school, messy-as-all-hell chili dog. And they don’t get messier or more old-school than the cheesy and meaty, whiz, mustard, and chili coated Cheese Coneys. The grill has been serving ‘em sloppy since 1923.
The Nobi Dog
Nobi Public House (address and info)
Ever have trouble choosing between a sandwich and a hot dog, then stare blankly at the server’s face for a minute before panic-ordering something you totally didn’t want at the buzzer? Well, hit up this Pearland beer house and you’ll never have that problem again – because your fat all-beef frank comes stuffed right into buttery French bread and loaded with alllll the banh mi foodstuffs, including chargrilled pork, pickled carrots, jalapeño, and sriracha mayo.
Slaw Dog Millionaire
Happy Fatz (address and info)
Fact: Eat this quarter-pound Hebrew National wiener -- blanketed with creamy slaw and bacon and nestled inside a grilled artisan bun crib -- and you’ll be leaving the specialty dog and dessert shop both happy and fat.
Build Your Own Dog
JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers (address and info)
Because when you can stack your Texas-sized Angus beef tube with house angus chili, fried egg, and jalapeño cream cheese -- all inside a fluffy and buttery house-made bun -- you do exactly that. Then you finish it with a hand-spun chocolate milkshake and exploding fist bump yourself for being a BOSS.
Wild Game Dog
Moon Tower Inn (address and info)
Houston’s coolest and weirdest weenie shack makes some serious jaw-stretchers. Packed in outlandish combos -- think wild boar with marsala and provolone; and duck with a two fingers splash of apple brandy -- the wild game dogs get stuffed inside local pretzel buns and dressed to your liking. Our advice? Trust the tatted guys to hook you up properly...
Koagie Hots (address and info)
ICYMI, kimchi is the new bacon. Try the hot & sour family-secret kimchi coming out this Korean food truck to see why. Then get said kimchi atop one of their juicy beef dogs alongside spicy mayo and Asian slaw. Bonus points if you add it to the Koagie Dog, which is also loaded with marinated ribeye and a fried egg.
Sammy’s Wild Game Grill (address and info)
Trust us when we say a dog spiked with cognac is a dog you want to try. Load the pheasant frank your way with toppings like fried onion strings, dill relish, and bacon bits; then pick a fiery sauce to drizzle across the top. Warning: The ghost pepper is most definitely not a joke.
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1. Good Dog Houston903 Studewood St, Houston
2. The Hay Merchant / Underbelly1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston
3. Liberty Kitchen & Oysterette1050 Studewood St, Houston
4. Nobi Public House241 E NASA Pkwy, Houston
5. Happy Fatz3510 White Oak Dr, Houston
6. JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers3501 W. Holcombe Blvd, Houston
7. Moon Tower Inn3004 Canal St, Houston
8. Sammy's Wild Game Grill3715 Washington Ave, Houston
This food truck turned storefront knows hot dogs, serving them up with traditionally favored condiments as well as some surprises. The must try is the Picnic Dog topped with beef chili, spicy chorizo, and potato salad.
A joint venture, The Hay Merchant and Underbelly operate separately but are attached via a butchering room that’s fit to hold a whole hog, a cow, and other large, meat-bearing animals. Hay Merchant, a craft beer bar, boasts 75 draft beers that range in style from cask-conditioned American porters to sour and funky wild ales. Underbelly, the more upscale of the two, is a restaurant and wine bar serving up juicy burgers and meats, like roasted pig’s head and smoked brisket. No matter how adventurous your palette, consider pairing your dish with one of the aged barleywines on tap.
The bright blue of the cursive neon is enough of a beacon, but the '50s-diner-meets-five-star-hotel interior and fish-centric menu call to the Greater Heights like a seafood siren. Serving up fish every which way, Liberty offers big platters of East Coast oysters, pan-seared fresh fish on their own or on a po boy, and a whole slew of sides like creamy mashed potato and garlic-y sauteed spinach.
Hardcore connoisseurs know that this brewhouse -- complete with Vietnamese-fusion pub fare (think char siu pork nachos and butter garlic wings) and a 200+ bottle & draft beer program that is on par with any top beer bar in the loop -- is well worth the trip to Clear Lake. But the best part, besides drinking a snifter, tulip, or pint while downing a Vietnamese hot dog in a chill-as-hell atmosphere, is that you can also grab a growler of awesomeness to go on the way out.
Happy Fatz serves up specialty dogs and dessert. The must try is the Slum Dog Millionaire which is topped with slaw and bacon. It all sits inside a grilled artisan bun. Yum.
This sleek, industrial-style spot serves up burgers and dogs that are Texas-sized and made with all-natural, humanely raised beef. A must-try is the build-your-own-dog, which adventurous eaters can top with add-ons like chili, fried egg, and jalapeño cream cheese. Or, go with the house cheeseburger, grilled over an open flame and topped with American cheese, griddled onions, and Ernie’s sauce (mayo, ketchup, and relish). Another fresh pick? The bacon avocado burger. No matter what, pair your choice with a thick, hand-spun milkshake.
Awesome events like horror movie nights and growler giveaways, tons of craft brews from their wall of taps, and exotic hot dogs like a wild game sausage make Moon Tower Inn a unique and enjoyable hangout. Oh, and they have a backyard, too.