The chili half-smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl (Washington, DC)
Sure, it sounds like something you found in an ashtray, but the half-smoke is about as common in DC as a lobbyist getting busted for solicitation. And none are more beloved than those at Ben's, which opened its doors in 1958 to become an oasis for bipartisan gluttony in the Shaw neighborhood. Basically like a hot dog on HGH, the spicy beef/pork half-smoke here comes covered in Ben's namesake chili, plus mustard and raw onions. It's actually named after Bill Cosby on the menu, since the comedian's been spilling chili on his sweaters since the '60s. Get it split in half and grilled for extra oomph. The sausage, not the Cos.
Andy Kryza is Thrillist’s national food/drink senior editor, and often talks longingly about weird Michigan cuisine. Follow him to the Detroit airport at @apkryza.