Grillist

The 41 Most Important Hot Dog Styles in America

Various American hot dogs
Jeremy Woodhouse/Carl Kravats/Collections/Getty Images

Burgers, step aside. Corn on the cob, stay in your lane. Apple pie? Nice try. No, there is no food more American, more essential to our national identity, than the almighty hot dog.

Call them wieners, bangers, franks, or dogs: this is the cuisine that makes us proud to call ourselves bloated, oily skinned, and ever-thirsty Americans. They're handheld snacks that animate childhood camping trips and Sunday afternoon ball games alike. A shared love for this national dish unites folks from sea to shining sea, and yet each US region reps its own unique take on this special meal on-the-go, reflecting the same fiercely independent spirit exhibited by our sausage-loving forefathers. By our count, there are 41 different regional hot dog varieties. Here they are, in all their natural-cased glory.

Papaya dog

Place of origin: A fast-disappearing assortment of storefront locations around New York City (Papaya King, Gray's Papaya, etc.)
The dog: An all-beef Sabrett frank in a natural casing, griddled and served on a toasted bun with deli-style mustard, tart sauerkraut, and each vendor's signature version of the ubiquitous red onion sauce (a mix of onions, tomato paste, and vinegar).

Dirty-water dog

Place of origin: The mean streets (and takeout joints) of New York City
The dog: A skinless, all-beef, kosher dog (usually Hebrew National or Sabrett), boiled in a deep tank of questionably sanitary water, topped with a stripe of spicy, pale yellow, deli-style mustard, a spoonful of red onion mystery sauce (optional), and handed over in a soft white bun.

Italian dog

Place of origin: North Jersey, son
The dog: A hangover-curing, calzone-like mess comprised of a skinny, all-beef, deep-fried dog, crammed into a half-round of pizza bread and topped with fried or sauteed onions, greasy red peppers, and fried potatoes.

Half smoke

Place of origin: Washington DC metro area
The dog: A coarse pork and/or beef banger smoked and served in a traditional soft white bun with tons and tons of chili on top. Ben's Chili Bowl is the most famous. But whether it's the best is worth exploring to find out for yourself.

Texas Tommy

Place of origin: Philadelphia, PA, a good 1,700 miles from the Texas border
The dog: An all-beef dog sliced down the middle and stuffed with Cheez Whiz and crispy bacon, then grilled and served on a toasted bun. Philly does not mess around when it comes to bunned meat.

NY System wiener

Place of origin: Rhode Island (pretty much the entire state, which is unbelievably tiny) (still love you, Rhody!)
The dog: A griddled, all-beef dog in natural casing, garnished with meat sauce, mustard, chopped raw onion, and celery salt and sheathed in a steamed, side-cut roll. Olneyville New York System in Providence is the gold standard.

Fenway Frank

Place of origin: Beantown, Mass
The dog: A fat, boiled & grilled all-beef or beef-and-pork frank, shoved into a New England-style bun and dressed with mustard, relish, and, in some cases, a scoop of Boston baked beans (Green Monster sold separately).

Philly Combo

Place of origin: The City of Brotherly Love
The dog: A grilled all-beef hot dog, split down the middle and laid upon a wide steamed or toasted bun, layered with sweet, vinegar-based coleslaw and a stripe of spicy mustard, and completed -- curiously enough -- with a fish cake

Baltimore bologna dog

Place of origin: Charming Bal'more, MD
The dog: 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

Ripper

Place of origin: Clifton, NJ (and surrounding areas)
The dog: A deep-fried pork-and-beef dog in natural casing that tears and crinkles (i.e., "rips") when it's cooked, dressed with mustard and/or spicy-sweet relish and served in either a regular or toasted hot dog bun. Rutt's Hut claims to have been the first to rip these suckers out back in 1928. They haven't changed in the intervening decades.

Texas wiener

Place of origin: The surprisingly un-Texas-like town of Paterson, NJ (& parts of CT along I-95)
The dog: 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

Salami dog

Place of origin: Philly. Again. Hell yeah, Philly!
The dog: A char-grilled kosher all-beef wrapped in fried kosher salami, stuffed inside a toasted bun, and garnished with mustard and a sliced kosher dill pickle

Crab mac n' cheese dog

Place of origin: Good ol’'Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD
The dog: An all-beef hot dog, grilled and nestled into a soft, chewy bun, then loaded with lump crab meat, hot, gooey macaroni & cheese, and a generous dusting of Maryland’s all-time favorite sodium source: Old Bay

Maine Red Snapper

Place of origin: Maine, of course
The dog: A grilled or griddled, violently red (thanks to food coloring) beef or pork frank in an extra-snappy natural lamb casing, stuffed into a toasted top-loading hot dog roll (i.e., a lobster roll minus the lobster), and topped with a spoonful of Maine's own Raye's "Down East Schooner" classic yellow mustard

Michigan Red Hot

Place of origin: Upstate New York (strangely enough *not* Michigan)
The dog: An all-beef frank steamed in a natural casing, doused in minced meat chili (no tomatoes, no beans, no problem), garnished with chopped raw onion and mustard, and loaded into a steamed split-top bun. Reminiscent of the coney dog, which, confusingly, isn't actually from Coney Island (more on that later).

Troy mini hot dog

Place of origin: Upstate New York
The dog: A tiny hot dog link put out by area butcher shops, nestled in specially made 3in bun, and topped with spicy meat sauce, yellow mustard, and raw onion (generally eaten by the dozen)

Slaw dog/West Virginia dog/Carolina dog

Place of origin: The entire South, apparently
The dog: An all-beef dog smothered in either creamy or BBQ homemade coleslaw, meaty chili, raw Vidalia onion, and optional yellow mustard, and served in a traditional soft bun

Scrambled dog

Place of origin: Columbus, GA
The dog: A 50-plus-year-old recipe that includes chopped hot dog pieces floating in a bowl of chili, raw onion, pickles, and a smattering of oyster crackers. That, friends, is surf and turf, Georgia-style.

Texas dog (actually from Texas this time)

Place of origin: Texas, forever
The dog: A thick frank either grilled or griddled and loaded with salsa, shredded Monterey Jack, sliced jalapeños, and (occasionally) chili and served in a soft bun

Memphis dog

Place of origin: Memphis, TN, the home of both the blues and this artery-crushing monstrosity
The dog: A grilled pork sausage wrapped in bacon, then drenched in BBQ sauce, chopped onions, diced scallions, and shredded cheddar cheese and squeezed into a grilled bun

Chicago dog

Place of origin: Windy City, USA
The dog: A classic Vienna Beef frank in natural casing, simmered in water until plump or charred to order, cradled in a steamed poppy seed bun, and "dragged through the garden" (i.e., artfully decorated with fresh tomato slices, chopped white onions, sweet neon-green relish, sport peppers, bright-yellow mustard, a dill pickle spear or two, and a few good shakes of celery salt). Basically, this is a form of currency on the left shore of Lake Michigan.

Kansas City-style dogs

Place of origin: Kansas City, MO
The dog: An all-beef dog or pork sausage, griddled and tucked into a sesame seed bun, covered in melted Swiss cheese and a massive dose of sauerkraut, and finished (if desired) with a squirt of tangy Thousand Island dressing or spicy mustard

Bagel dog
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Bagel dog

Place of origin: Perhaps the only thing NYC, Cincinnati & Chicago have in common
The dog: A regular or mini hot dog wrapped pigs-in-a-blanket-style in everything or poppy seed bagel dough, then baked in a high-heat oven and served with a side of yellow mustard.

Polish Boy 

Place of origin: Cleveland, OH
The dog: A juicy grilled kielbasa sausage on a hefty roll, dressed with coleslaw, BBQ sauce, and hot sauce, and finished with a steaming-hot pile of fries on top. Seti's is the best. Or is it?

Francheezie

Place of origin: Broad-shouldered Chicago
The dog: A lot like a Chicago dog for heart-attack enthusiasts, it starts  with an all-beef, bacon-wrapped dog, split and stuffed with soft Velveeta cheese. Then it's deep-fried, crammed inside the requisite Chicago-style poppy seed bun, and then often (but not always) "dragged through the garden." You know. For your health.

detroit coney
Laura Hayes/Thrillist

Detroit coney

Place of origin: MoTown
The dog: Small-ish all-beef or beef & pork combo wieners, plopped into a steamed bun and drenched in coney sauce (a salty, beanless chili made from beef heart and spices), mustard, chopped raw onion, and a big handful of shredded cheddar cheese. Common knowledge dictates you claim loyalty between Lafayette and American.

Flint-style coney

Place of origin: Vehicle City, MI
The dog: Another small all-beef or beef/pork dog in a steamed bun, with a dry, fine-ground beef heart-based topping instead of Detroit’s soupier chili. The best is at Angelo's. If it's not made from a Koegel's Vienna, it's fake.

Jackson-style coney

The place: Jackson, MI (not Jackson, MS)
The dog: A small all-beef or beef/pork dog, this time served with a thicker sauce made from either ground beef or ground beef heart, onions, and spices

Cincinnati cheese coney 

Place of origin: Cincy, O-H
The dog: An all-beef dog, covered in a boatload of Cincinnati chili (ground beef and pork blend, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cocoa powder), plus mustard, chopped raw onion, shredded cheddar, and loaded into a steamed bun

Minnesota corn dog

Place of origin: The only state in which one can purify themselves in the waters of Lake Minnetonka
The dog: A proclaimed Minnesota State Fair original involving any kind of skinless hot dog encased in a sweet-and-savory cornmeal batter and deep-fried to golden-brown perfection (also, definitely served on a stick)

Sonoran

Place of origin: Arizona (all over)
The dog: A grilled, bacon-wrapped hot dog popped into a hearty, round, steamed bolillo roll, and covered in pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, diced raw onion, creamy avocado, a blast of mayo, a handful of fiery jalapeños, and shredded cheese (optional). Like a burrito. But with a hot dog instead of carnitas. And a bun instead of a tortilla.

Nevada naked dog

Place of origin: Sin City, NV
The dog: A char-grilled Vienna Beef hot dog served in a simple bun with nary a condiment. Basically, the least Nevada-like of all the dogs on this list.

seattle dog
Chona Kasinger/Thrillist

Seattle-style dog

Place of origin: Seattle, WA
The dog: A frank or brat, first grilled, split in half, and rested on a toasted bun, then covered in cream cheese, grilled onions, jalapeños, and grilled cabbage, with optional additions of Sriracha, BBQ sauce, or salsa

Denver dog

Place of origin: Mile-high Denver, CO
The dog: A grilled all-beef dog, flush with chopped red onion, green chili sauce, sour cream, and sliced jalapeños and nestled in a steamed or toasted bun. Best paired with Maureen Dowd jokes.

tijuana dog
Laura Hayes/Thrillist

Tijuana dog/danger dog

Place of origin: Los Angeles & San Francisco, CA
The dog: A hot dog made of unidentified meat, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, then tossed into a soft bun and topped with any number of condiments, including (but not limited to) fried onions, mayo, mustard, ketchup, and grilled jalapeños. Essential: must be served by an unlicensed vendor, preferably on a sketchy California side street.

Montana Tater Pig/Idaho Super Tuber

Place of origin: Bozeman, MT... though Idaho also claims it for obvious reasons
Place of origin: A skinless hot dog baked inside a hollowed-out potato, then split open and stacked high with sour cream, chives, and bacon bits

Dodger Dog

Place of origin: A baseball lover's Los Angeles
The dog: A skinless, foot-long pork hot dog, steamed or grilled and cradled in a foot-long steamed bun, then topped with relish, mustard, ketchup, and chopped raw onion. Insert your own joke here.

Doyer Dog

Place of origin: Fanáticos de béisbol en Los Ángeles
The dog: A steamed or grilled, skinless, foot-long pork dog in a foot-long bun, smothered in chili, nacho cheese, chopped tomatoes, raw onion, and spicy jalapeños

Puka Dog

Place of origin: Honolulu, HI
The dog: A grilled Polish sausage stuffed into large, hollow, toasted bun, served with a choice of mild-to-spicy secret sauces and/or tropical relishes (like guava mustard)

Reindeer hot dog/sausage

Place of origin: Alaska/the North Pole
The dog: A sausage made of caribou (not actually reindeer) meat, presented on a steamed bun and finished with onions that are often sauteed in Coca-Cola and Rudolph's nightmares

Rockie Dog

Place of origin: The great Rocky Mountain state of Colorado
The dog: A foot-long frank, loaded with grilled peppers, sauerkraut, and onions and served in a matching foot-long bun. Coors optional.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Meredith Heil is a staff writer for Thrillist. She got more franks than a hot dog man. Tell her she forgot your state’s dog at @mereditto.