No longer just a thing of questionable meat byproducts and discarded parts, hot dogs have gone gourmet, and the results are as delicious as the meat choices are surprising.
As home of the Sonoran dog, Arizona is an inventive place for hot dog toppings. Needless to say, you won't find salsa or avocado on this list. Instead, these dogs feature foie gras, peanut butter, turducken, poached egg, potato pierogi, and more. Here are 10 truly delicious yet totally bizarre hot dogs you'll want to track down.
The Dog: Jackalope Where to Get It: Frank Restaurant (Austin)
You'll think the mythical creature really exists after one bite of this in-house blend of smoked antelope, rabbit, and pork sausage. It's served with cherry compote, Sriracha aioli, and cheddar cheese. Enjoy it along with sides like Reuben fries, loaded baked potato salad, Frito pie, and sweet Southern slaw.
The Dog: Shrimpy Chili Where to Get It: Japadog (New York and Vancouver)
The all-American food gets a Japanese makeover at this Canadian restaurant -- talk about global flavors. Try shrimp sausage topped with more shrimp and a signature chili sauce. Or, get shrimp tempura served on rice and a hot dog bun. Other unique toppings include bonito flakes, tonkatsu sauce, yakisoba noodles, kimchi, tobiko caviar, and Japanese croquette (fried mashed potatoes). And for dessert have a deep-fried bun with black sesame ice cream.
The Dog: Duck and Foie Gras Where to Get It: Hot Doug's (Chicago)
This Chicago "Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium" has so many strange options, it's hard to pick just one. But Hot Doug's takes the duck dog, which has been popping up on menus all over the country, to new levels. For $10, you can enjoy a foie gras and sauternes duck sausage topped with truffle aioli, a generous amount of foie gras mousse, and fleur de sel. Stop by on Friday and Saturday, and you can get duck fat French fries, too.
This Phoenix food truck (now with a permanent downtown location) is famous for making bizarrely delicious hot dogs, wrapped in naan (Indian flatbread) instead of served in a standard bun. But of all the unique options, The Bear is the biggest standout. The idea was conceived for an Arizona Diamondbacks-themed hot dog competition, and believe it or not, The Bear won. Yes, those are Cracker Jacks on top -- along with peanut butter, BBQ sauce, crumbled bacon, and shredded Gouda.
The Dog: Alaskan Reindeer Where to Get It: Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs (Denver)
Not only does this restaurant offer a lot of out-there meats, but the kitchen knows how to use them. On his show No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain said, "The elk [jalapeño cheddar] was excellent, the wild boar was extraordinary, and the reindeer was perfect, really awesome, and probably my favorite." Other options include rattlesnake and pheasant, Southwest buffalo and German veal. Toppings -- like Biker Jim's Classic (cream cheese and caramelized onions) or The Desert (harissa-roasted cactus, Malaysian curry jam scallions, cilantro) -- are ordered separately.
The Dog: Turducken Where to Get It: Dat Dog (New Orleans)
It isn't just the turducken sausage that makes this hot dog outrageous. The New Orleans eatery will also dress it in creole sauce and seasonings, if you choose. You'll also find Cajun specialties like crawfish "from the swamp" and alligator sausage, which "originally lives in the Bayou but now lives at the Dog."
The Dog: Polish Hill Dog Where to Get It: General Robinson Grill (Pittsburgh) Inspired by a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, this Polish twist on the hot dog is actually topped with mini potato pierogies. The all-beef, foot-long frank is served on a soft potato roll with fresh-cut fried onion straws. But it's only available at General Robinson Grill at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
We've seen plenty of brunch burgers, but a brunch dog? Sounds like a good way to cure a wicked hangover -- especially since it's wrapped in duck bacon, dwarfed by fat fried poblano rings, and topped with a perfectly poached egg. Somewhere underneath all the fixings is a smoked beef sausage with jalapeno, and it's all tucked in a soft pretzel roll. That's one hot dog definitely worth the $10 price tag.
The Dog: Dragon Dog Where to Get It: DougieDog (Vancouver)
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There's really a hot dog that'll set you back $100 -- but that's Canadian dollars. And you'll have to it hand over at a food truck window. DougieDog creates the most expensive foot-long dog in the world by infusing Kobe beef with century-old cognac. It's topped with fresh lobster, truffle oil and a secret picante sauce. But you don't need to have a bursting bank account to eat here. Most options are $6.95, including the Dave Grohl Special (whiskey infused-frank with coleslaw and hot peppers), or $7.95, like the Poutine dog.
Okay, so maybe you won't make the trek to Japan to order this one, but plenty of people in Tokyo want to get their hands on this footlong hot dog. Although most blackened food gets its off-putting color from squid ink, Vegas Premium Hot Dogs uses bamboo charcoal powder. It's flavorless and is even beneficial to health, detoxifying the digestive system.