Battle of the Food Truck Hot Dogs: Epic vs. Short Leash

You've seen gourmet food trucks all over town. Each one has its own different spin, giving a unique twist to casual street eats. For the most part, each better-known truck has its own specialty... except two of them. There is a pair of trucks prowling the Valley offering gourmet hot dogs. Since the menus differ a bit, we decided to try each truck's take on the regional favorite Sonoran dog. Let's take a bite and find out who is top dog.

In This Corner: Epic Hot Dogs's Sonoran Dog

Epic is the newer of the two hot dog trucks in town. One day, owner Paul Cioczyk got tired of the daily 9-to-5 grind. He got himself a truck, painted it bright blue, and hasn't looked back. Epic's Sonoran Dog is a Schreiner's hot dog wrapped in bacon, topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, mustard, jalapeño sauce, and mayo.

The Good: The Schreiner's dog had its classic snap, showed good char from the grill, and got a nice smoky hit from the bacon wrapping. The dog mostly showed a good balance between meat and toppings; unlike the skinny wieners that get lost under the mountain of toppings at the Nogales Hot Dogs locations, this thicker frank stood up to the pile of toppings nicely.

The Bad: The generous drizzle of yellow mustard looked dazzling, but dominated the other toppings; it was hard to tell if there was any jalapeño sauce on there. A more substantial bun would have been appreciated. It got the job done, but it was a meek foil to the assertive toppings.

And In This Corner: Short Leash Hotdogs's Moki While Epic is but a young pup in the Phoenix food truck world, Short Leash is arguably the alpha dog of the whole scene. When owners Brad and Katherine Moore aren't slinging tube steaks to hungry diners at food truck gatherings, they're busy heading up the Phoenix Street Food Coalition. Their Moki dog comes topped with roasted green chiles, sauteed onions, chopped tomatoes, pinto beans, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise.

The Good: Short Leash's unique bun approach of naan-style flatbread does an impressive job of keeping toppings contained. Short Leash also uses dogs from Schreiner's, and is therefore equally delicious.

The Bad: I love the taste of the flatbread, but felt like there was a little too much of it compared to toppings. The only topping that really stood out were the green chiles; everything else faded into the background, much like the Epic dog.

And The Wiener Winner Is: This was a close battle. Much came down to personal preference of buns, giving Short Leash's flatbread the edge. That, combined with too much mustard on Epic's dog, gives the nod to Short Leash. If you're a hot dog purist who thinks that wrapping a frankfurter in flatbread is heresy, you'll give your own medal to Epic.

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