10 Best Hot Dogs in Metro Phoenix

Enjoy your Carolina Dog within view of Agritopia on the patio at Joe's Farm Grill.EXPAND
Enjoy your Carolina Dog within view of Agritopia on the patio at Joe's Farm Grill.
Cal Faber

There seems to be no end to the number of ways you can dress up a simple hot dog. A plain frank in a soft bun has the potential to become a masterpiece when loaded with toppings like macaroni and cheese, BBQ pork, chipped ham, or even peanut butter. For some vendors, the competition to add surprising and strange toppings is serious business. 

Fortunately for us, there's no need to travel to Chicago or New York City for the perfect dog: There are plenty of them right here in the Valley. From Gilbert to Downtown Phoenix, we've sussed out the top 10 hot dogs that are the most delicious, creative, or delightfully classic in the Valley. Some come decked out with all the dressings, while others are best topped at do-it-yourself condiment bars. 

Carolina Dog at Joe's Farm Grill

It should come as no surprise that our list of best 10 hot dogs starts with a stunner from veteran hot dog maker Joe's Farm Grill. Joe's rolls out its "Dog Days of Summer" menu every September, featuring nearly a dozen hot dogs guaranteed to please. For the remaining eleven months of the year, the grill keeps a few dogs permanently on the menu, including the Carolina Dog. Made by loading pulled pork, Joe's Real BBQ sauce, and cole slaw atop an all-beef, natural casing hot dog from Schreiner's Fine Sausage, the Carolina Dog makes eating on the back patio of the farm-to-table eatery feel even more like a neighborhood picnic. The pulled pork is juicy and expertly seasoned with Joe's in-house BBQ sauce, and the natural casing hot dog — which lends a satisfying crunch to each bite — tastes like a relic of days gone by.

The Great Dane serves up a tasty Chicago-style hot dog slathered in sauerkraut.EXPAND
The Great Dane serves up a tasty Chicago-style hot dog slathered in sauerkraut.
Cal Faber

Bull Dog at The Great Dane Restaurant

The Great Dane Restaurant has been a fixture of north Central Phoenix for nearly four decades. Tucked away in a magnificent mid-century, stand-alone building on 7th Street just south of Maryland Avenue, The Great Dane serves up a variety of Chicago-style hot dogs. The Bull Dog, a thick Vienna sausage loaded with mustard, relish, onions, tomato, sauerkraut, cucumbers, a pickle spear, and hot pepper, is a satisfying Bavarian twist on the Windy City classic. While hot dogs from The Great Dane are available to-go, we enjoy the Bull Dog best inside the restaurant, which is filled with wooden tables and German-style decorations, completed by a counter-top statuette of the namesake Great Dane dog.  

Beneath those layers of cracker jacks, BBQ sauce, and peanut butter hides one of Downtown's best hot dogs.EXPAND
Beneath those layers of cracker jacks, BBQ sauce, and peanut butter hides one of Downtown's best hot dogs.
Cal Faber

The Bear at Short Leash Hot Dogs

Short Leash Hot Dogs has been a Valley staple for unique hot dogs since 2011, back when it was just a roving food truck. The Bear — arguably Short Leash's most zany offering — is our favorite at the restaurant, which is now installed on Roosevelt Row and inside Union at the Biltmore. Choose your meat from selections including bratwurst, regular, all-beef, spicy beer hot, chicken, and vegetarian, and The Bear comes slathered in peanut butter, smoked gouda, bacon, BBQ sauce, and Cracker Jack and wrapped in naan bread. The result is a sweet, smokey, and nutty treat that satisfies from the first bite to the last. While the combination may seem a bit weird, discovering the deliciousness of the combo is half of what makes The Bear so enjoyable. Pair it with a side salad or potato chips — and don't let a single one of those Cracker Jack go unattended.

Take us out to the ball game... because we need another DBacks DogEXPAND
Take us out to the ball game... because we need another DBacks Dog
Cal Faber

DBacks Dog at Chase Field

While this hot dog is delicious and satisfying, enjoying the classic DBacks Dog at Chase Field is more about ambiance and nostalgia than culinary prowess. Few things scream "USA!" more than eating a hot dog at the ball park while watching the home team slug it out against their rivals at bat. Order your all-beef DBacks dog at one of the many concession stands circling Chase Field, and load it up with mustard, ketchup, onions, and relish yourself. Once you make it back to the stands, hold on tight as fly balls and rousing cheers for the home team threaten to topple your creation. It doesn't get any more all-American than that. 

Lenny's Burger serves up a chili dog that we just can't quit.EXPAND
Lenny's Burger serves up a chili dog that we just can't quit.
Cal Faber

Chili Dog at Lenny's Burgers

Call it what you want — a Coney or chili dog — but the combination of hot dogs and chili is one of the greatest guilty pleasures in the hot dog world. Lenny's Burgers, a local, family-owned diner with locations Valley wide, serves up a tasty chili dog in an atmosphere replete with 1950s-style booths and checkered tile floors. Deceptively simple, Lenny's chili dog includes a beef hot dog slathered in rich, chunky chili in a traditional sesame bun. The chili is lightly seasoned and perfectly tomato-y, and the hot dog provides a salty base that makes the dog a delicious treat. Enjoy it with a milkshake and a side of fries, and don't be surprised when the whole thing disappears in three gratifying bites.

The Pittsburgher from Wimpy's Paradise is everything you've heard and more.
The Pittsburgher from Wimpy's Paradise is everything you've heard and more.
Lauren Saria

The Pittsburgher at Wimpy's Paradise

There's a reason this dog received a nod for Best Hot Dog in our 2015 Best of Phoenix awards, as well as a spot on our 100 Best Dishes of 2015. And after those accolades, what's left to say about The Pittsburgher from Wimpy's Paradise? Well, for starters, it's a quarter-pound hot dog loaded with chipped ham sauteed in butter, and topped with cheddar cheese — which means you can bet you're going to want a nap after taking down this dish. Some might call it a guilty pleasure, but it's so good we don't feel guilty at all. 

Get to Nogales Hot Dogs for a taste of why Sonoran hot dogs are so popular here in Arizona.EXPAND
Get to Nogales Hot Dogs for a taste of why Sonoran hot dogs are so popular here in Arizona.
Cal Faber

Sonoran Hot Dog at Nogales Hot Dogs

While we wait for Apple to add the Sonoran Hot Dog emoji to our iPhones, we'll have to content ourselves with the real thing, made to perfection at Nogales Hot Dogs. Now with three locations across the Valley, Nogales Hot Dogs has attained cult-status among locals for a very good reason — and despite only being open from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). The Sonoran Dog comes mesquite-smoked and tucked inside a fluffy bun, then covered in bacon, beans, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and with helpings of guacamole, spicy peppers, and your choice of hot sauce. Each Sonoran Dog is made to order and best enjoyed piping hot on the spot. Oh, and Nogales Hot Dogs is cash only, so bring a large supply of bills — you're guaranteed to want more than one. 

Johnny's serves up what might be Metro Phoenix's best Chicago-style hot dog to date.
Johnny's serves up what might be Metro Phoenix's best Chicago-style hot dog to date.
Johnny's Burgers & Dogs / Facebook

Chicago Style Hot Dog at Johnny's Burgers & Dogs

While it's not hard to approximate the construction of a good Chicago-style hot dog, Johnny's Burgers & Dogs in Tempe does as good a job as we've seen outside the Second City. Snag a Vienna beef Chicago Dog with everything: bright green relish, onions, mustard, sliced tomatoes, pickle spear, peppers, and a pinch of celery salt, packed into a poppy seed bun. While Phoenix is a long way from Illinois, those who finish Johnny's formidable Chicago Dog might leave the burger joint temporarily rooting for the Chicago Bears — but don't worry, the effect wears off.

Costco's Kosher frank hot dogs: try one and you'll be a fan, too.EXPAND
Costco's Kosher frank hot dogs: try one and you'll be a fan, too.
Cal Faber

Hot Dog at Costco Food Court

What you've heard is true: Costco's food court has amazing hot dogs. For a mere $1.50, you can grab a giant Kosher beef frank, a fountain drink, and load up on all the dressings your heart desires (hint: ask for sauerkraut, it's not at the condiment bar). Costco sells the same hot dogs inside their stores, but we prefer them hot and served up immediately after being ordered. In fact, the dogs are so popular that the food court employees are constantly turning them out, ensuring maximum freshness. Enjoy your hot dog on the run, or hang out in the food court and be entertained by squabbling siblings, bargain shoppers, teens glued to their iPhones, and the myriad characters that come out of the woodwork to frequent this big box store. We'll even let you in on a little secret: Costco members can order their hot dogs while checking out inside the store, bypassing the sometimes long lines that pile up at the food court counter.

Portillo's chili cheese dog is a great guilty pleasure.EXPAND
Portillo's chili cheese dog is a great guilty pleasure.
Cal Faber

Chili Cheese Dog at Portillo's 

There are chili dogs, and then there are chili cheese dogs. Tapping into nostalgia for good old American heartland values, Portillo's has come a long way from its early roots in Chicago. With Scottsdale and Tempe locations, there are plenty of reasons to stop by either decorous restaurant for Portillo's scrumptious chili cheese dogs. The boiled hot dog — which can be grilled upon request — is firm and hearty. Topped with smokey-sweet chili, onions, and creamy melted cheese, Portillo's chili cheese dog can be eaten quickly by twos or threes.


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