Chicago has its celery salt and pickles, and New York has its sauerkraut and mustard, but here in the Southwest, we've got Sonoran dogs. The baconified dog (usually wrapped) is covered in mayo, tomatoes, beans, onions, and a variety of other sauces, typically served with a roasted pepper on the side. Though there are many variations of the Sonoran dog, this is what we've come to know and love about the local delicacy. Whether you find it roadside off of a food truck or in a more typical restaurant, there are several local joints that do the Sonoran dog right.
El Güero Canelo
5131 West McDowell Road
The Phoenix location of Tucson-based El Güero Canelo follows a familiar formula: Plump franks wrapped in bacon, then topped with chopped tomatoes, mayonnaise, beans, mustard, grilled onions, and jalapeño sauce, all of served on a slightly sweet, fluffy split-top roll. It's a humble dish, but also one that's become a delicious and unpretentious emblem of Sonoran-Arizona cuisine. It's a cross-cultural mashup, and a small feast, that costs less than $4.
Moreno's Mexican Grill
601 North Arizona Drive, plus other locations
While Moreno's is a more typical restaurant atmosphere outposted in Chandler and Mesa, the dogs are served solely from a food cart on the patio. For about $3.29 plus tax, you get your dog todo (with everything), which includes the basics. However, Moreno's piles bacon on top of its dog rather than wrapping it. Usually, this would be considered sacrilege, but in this case, it results in a more intense smoky bacon flavor.
Nogales Hot Dogs
1945 East Indian School Road
Nogales is somewhat of a staple when it comes to Sonoran dogs. The little stand and tent off of 20th Street and Indian School Road has won Best Of Phoenix from us, likely due to the polite and speedy service. If you get one and decide to spring for another, you'll have your second dog in hand in about a minute. Plus, the stand is reliably at that location serving dogs every night, which is a big deal in the Sonoran dog world.
4224 West Indian School Road, plus other locations
Just west on Indian School Road from El Exquisito you'll find the El Sabroso food truck. With its large circus-tent-like red-and-yellow awning, it's easy to spot from the road and more reliably open than its neighbor. We love to pair their dogs with a cold, refreshing Mexican Coke or Fanta on hot summer nights. Admittedly, El Sabroso uses bacon crumbles rather than wrapping the dog, but the generous heaping of toppings ensures a dog bursting at the bolillo with flavor.
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Red Hot Grill at Chase Field
Inside Chase Field at 401 East Jefferson Street
Uh-oh. You know the Sonoran dog craze has hit when you can even catch one at the ballpark. Recently, Red Hot Grill locations in Chase Field have begun offering Sonoran dogs wrapped in mesquite-smoked bacon and topped with pico de gallo, beans, and a drizzle of mayo. While it isn't the most authentic dog in town, it's a great alternative to typical ballpark fare — just be wary of its ballpark price.
108 West Broadway Road, Mesa
Micky's is well-known by Sonoran dog connoisseurs for its consistency in hours, location, and quality. Though we think their dog could use a bit more bacon (we had to check to make sure it actually had some after our first bite), we love to drop in anytime we're near downtown Mesa for a quick bite to eat.
La Pasadita/Taquifiesta Hot Dogs
8243 West Indian School Road and other locations
While the name has been either La Pasadita or Taquifiesta on any given visit, this west side hot doggery is always delicious. The fresh roasted chiles and strong bacon flavor along with tons of salsa options on the tables makes it one of our favorite Sonoran dogs in town. So we don't care what they call it, just so long as those dogs keep being tasty.