The Guilty Pleasure: The Big Texas BBQ Dog
Where to Get It: Doglicious Hot Dogs
What it Really Costs: Your "cheat" day for the week, so you may as well double-down on calories and get a couple of hot dogs while you're here.
Is there a more quintessential summer food than the humble hot dog? Inexpensive and blissfully uncomplicated to prepare, hot dogs are as indispensable at barbecues and outdoor festivals as cold beer. You can generally measure the quality of your summer by the number of good hot dogs you've managed to consume by the Fourth of July, which is, of course, the unofficial food of this particular federal holiday.
Still, the world is filled with mediocre hot dogs, bloated tubes of mystery meat stuffed into skimpy, flavorless buns. Lucky for us, these are not the sort of hot dogs being made at Doglicious Hot Dogs, a relatively new hot-dog restaurant located near 51st Avenue and Bell Road in Glendale.
Doglicious is attached to BJ's Food Market, but from the inside, you might never guess you were in close proximity to a gas-station convenience store. The Doglicious interior boasts a bright, modern, all-white interior and sleek cement floors, plus the friendly presence of husband-and-wife team Vincent and Dahiana Sowa, who own and run the restaurant together. Along with running their small hot-dog empire, the Sowas somehow also manage to find time to own and manage a fitness center, DS Fitness Studio in north Phoenix, where both teach group fitness classes.
You may very well be tempted to sign up for a fitness class after you eat your way through the Doglicious menu, which features more than 20 signature gourmet hot dogs, many of which are piled high with ingredients like bacon and cheese. Most of the hot dogs here are made with Vienna Beef and Hoffy brand franks, although some feature locally made Schreiner's sausages. As for buns, the restaurant uses a variety of rolls, including big, fluffy split-top bollilos, East Coast-style Coney buns, and brioche buns.
Pretty much every hot dog on the Doglicious menu is a guilty pleasure of some kind. There is a Mac 'n' Cheese dog, for instance, which comes topped with the cheesy noodles, plus bacon crumbles and something called Doggy sauce, which tastes an awful lot like ketchup. There is also a pepperoni pizza dog made with bratwurst and layered with pepperoni slices, marinara sauce, and Italian spices.
Doglicious also offers many regional hot dog varieties, including a Chicago-style dog loaded with green relish, Vidalia onions, tomatoes, a pickle spear and the requisite dash of celery salt. There are also harder-to-find hot dogs, such as a Vietnamese-inspired Bahn Mi dog, which is lavished with purple cabbage and other veggies and topped with a peanut sauce. And there's a memorably sweet and tangy Hawaiian dog, which features a unique house-made pineapple relish.
If you're looking for a truly hearty and indulgent dog, though, look no further than the meaty Big Texas BBQ Dog. It's loaded with pinto beans, grilled onions, and pulled pork that's been marinated and cooked in Dr. Pepper. Drippy, flavorful squiggles of Mexican crema and barbecue sauce, plus a few pickled jalapeños, add a few more layers of flavor to the whole thing.
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This is a hefty, drippy, two-napkin type of hot dog. The frank hangs out of the bun by at least a half-inch, and you'll notice it has a nice, snappy texture when you bite into it. The flavor of the frank, thankfully, isn't lost under the muddle of slow-cooked pulled pork. Speaking of the pulled pork, it's hard to resist the tender, moist rendition offered here, which nicely evokes the dark, syrupy sweetness of Dr. Pepper. The crema and barbecue sauce, meanwhile, wrap the whole thing with even more rich, vaguely sweet flavor.
All signature dogs at Doglicious come with your choice of side, which means picking between kettle chips or the homemade coleslaw. If you have the willpower to resist potato chips, the thing to get with The Big Texas BBQ dog is the coleslaw, which is bright, fresh, and nicely seasoned.
For dessert, the restaurant offers Belgian liege waffles, which you can order with the usual assortment of sugary, fruity toppings. Belgian waffles may seem a little out of place at a hot-dog joint, but it only seems to add to the quirky appeal of Doglicious. Whether you plan on demolishing a couple of hot dogs or waffles on your visit, pack your appetite and you'll be ready either way.