Hot dogs are as American as apple pie. Fitting, then, that the Fourth of July is not only our nation's most patriotic holiday, it's also when, according to www.hot-dog.org, we'll consume around 150 million of the comestible the Yale Record once poeticized thusly: "Tis dogs' delight to bark and bite, thus does the adage run. But I delight to bite the dog, when placed inside a bun."
The snap of the casing, the juicy mystery meat, the seasonings — thankfully, the mighty hot dog makes its home not just in ballparks and backyard barbecues, but at plenty of wiener stands across the Valley. With so many places to choose from and always a new hot dog to try, we at Chow Bella came up with a few of our favorites. Read through our list to see what we recommend, and if we don't have your favorite listed, let us know.
Anything from Maui Dog
Maui Dog owner John Stamatakis says you won't find anything like his Maui dogs elsewhere on the mainland — and he may be right. Homemade sauces and toppings with a tropical flair and a signature bun recipe give his dogs a "sweet-meets-meat" kick, island-style. Like the Hana — an all-beef dog slathered with sweet, spicy, and garlicky "Maui Mayo," then topped with avocado, "Maui Pico" (a fresh creation of chopped pineapple, mango, tomato, and onion drizzled in lime juice), cilantro, shredded jack cheese, and bits of turkey bacon. Devour deliciously as is or turn up the heat with Stamatakis' "Volcanic" sauce. — Laura Hahnefeld
The East Coast American style from Costco
It contains a quarter-pound of 100 percent beef — no fillers, binders, phosphates, corn syrup, or artificial anything. The price hasn't changed since its introduction in the '80s: a buck fifty with a 20-ounce refillable soda. The Costco food court hot dog satisfies a craving for the hot dog like the one served on Sundays, a.k.a. Deli Lunch Day, at my house when I was a kid. Reminiscent of the taste of a German-style knockwurst, my family's preference, Costco's dog has a hint of garlic seasoning and an almost-crisp skin. The warm sauerkraut topping is de rigueur (request it when you order) along with chopped raw onion, pickle relish and spicy brown mustard. My tactic for dealing with a bun (soft, squishy white bread) shorter than its dog is to nibble the ends first. — Carol Blonder
BWDFHD from Monkey Pants Bar and Grill
My favorite hot dog can be summed up by six little words to still your beating heart: Bacon. Wrapped. Deep. Fried. Hot. Dog.
Quite literally, your heart will skip a beat when you bite into this sinfully delicious hot dog from Monkey Pants. You may be thinking, bacon-wrapped hot dogs? Been there. Done that. Not quite, my friend. There's only one way to improve upon the classic deep-fried, pork-fat bonanza: Smother it in nacho cheese sauce and make sure to serve them in duos, because one BWDFHD is mere child's play. This is a meal to die for. — Erica O'Neil
The Aioko from Short Leash Hot Dogs
In my humble opinion, hot dog buns are the worst. They can barely contain the dog/brat/wiener. Toppings? Forget about it. Luckily Short Leash uses a delicious naan to contain the entire wiener and all its toppings. The Aioko, specifically, rivals the best of spicy and sweet combinations in a hot dog. It's loaded with mango chutney, jalapeños and a touch of that taboo white stuff, mayonnaise. Short Leash is a mobile establishment, so you have to stay updated via Facebook and Twitter, if you're hoping to find new wiener pics of where they might pop up next. — Nicole Whittington
The Big Unit from Cooper'stown
Ballpark dogs are all well and good if you're looking for a light aperitif, but I'm of the conviction that bigger is better, especially when it comes to wieners. And it doesn't get much bigger than Alice Cooper'stown's Big Unit Hot Dog. Named after former D-Backs hurler Randy Johnson, the Big Unit features a 22-inch log of Vienna Beef nestled inside a whole baguette and topped with chili, cheese sauce, sauerkraut, jalapeño, diced tomato and onion, sweet relish, shredded cheddar and bacon! Weighing in at three pounds, it's enough to feed me and my Frankenstein. — Zachary Fowle
The Maxwell Street Polish at Great Dane's Doghouse
The Maxwell Street Polish at Great Dane's Doghouse is a Vienna Beef grilled sausage, topped with savory grilled onions, tomatoes, a pickle, hot peppers, and spicy deli mustard. I call it a classic Chicago-style dog done right. The Polish sausage is made to perfection[ the grilling creates a crisp outside and tender, juicy center. The grilled onions and deli mustard accentuate the smoky flavor of the dog, and it's all served on a poppyseed bun that manages to stay relatively intact 'til the very end. — David Sydiongco
The Chicago Dog at the Chicago Hamburger Company
I'm in love with the Chicago dog at the Chicago Hamburger Company. Not only is it the perfect size for a non-food-coma-inducing lunch, but the meat is juicy, the toppings are crisp and fresh, and the service is quick. Made-to-order, the dog rests between a crunchy pickle spear, hot tomato slices, and sport peppers that are nicely spicy but tolerable. To be honest, I might cheat on the Chicago dog sometimes with the Medley, which is layered beneath neon green relish and chopped onions, wrapped in a poppyseed bun, and christened with a generous smattering of savory celery salt. — Hannah Hayes
The BBQ Dog from Dave's Doghouse
With shaded tables scattered about outside and silly phrases written with marker on newspaper decorating the inside, Dave's Doghouse is a counter-service hot dog stand, conveniently located on ASU's Tempe campus. The dogs are distinctly Boston-style, with custom-ordered, hand-stuffed, all-beef links imported straight from Beantown and the buttered and grilled New England style-bun (the sides look and taste like the outside of a perfect toasted cheese sandwich). Dave's offers only a few dogs: The Beantown comes with beans, the Mac and Cheese dog is topped with mac and cheese and bacon, and the Reuben has the fixins of a Reuben sandwich: Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut. The dog I can not get enough of is the BBQ Dog. It started with that toasted buttered bun, and then that delicious secret-recipe handmade all-beef hot dog, a stripe of tangy BBQ sauce, and a cool coleslaw topping. Yum. We will take this lunch anytime we are on campus. — Michelle Martinez
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The Sonoran Hot Dog from Nogales Hot Dogs
Don't go looking for the Nogales Hot Dogs restaurant. It doesn't exist. No, Nogales Hot Dogs in all their bacon-wrapped, mayo-slathered, bejeweled-by-diced tomato glory come straight from a truck surrounded by a makeshift, outdoor dining room of plastic tables and folding chairs that doesn't open 'til 6 in the evening. These dogs are so good that they caught the attention of Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern when he came through the Valley. But you need not make afternoon snacks of dung beetles and pig ears to appreciate this decadent dog. Each one comes equipped with bacon armor, topped with beans, mayo, tomatoes, and onions. Add some crumbly queso fresco and guacamole on top, then drown the tasty bastard in a wave of hot sauce. The cleanliness of your shirt will be compromised, but doggone it, you won't care a bit. — Jonathan McNamara
The #4 at Two Hippies Beach House
Phoenix may not have a sandy beach (at least not a real one), but it does have a cool surfside beach shack in Two Hippies. The menu features a handful of tasty wieners including Sonoran and chili dogs, but my favorite is the #4, a Greek-inspired version slapped on a tasty egg bun. The dog itself is a plump and pink jumbo beef frank that's boiled rather than grilled, making for less char and more focus on the natural juiciness of the meat. Pungent feta and bacon provide a salty base, while chopped tomato adds an acidic sweetness that lightens up the topping combo. Pesto mayo boosts the creamy texture and brings the whole dish together for a Mediterranean-style dog that goes down easy. — Wynter Holden