What’s your go-to hot dog topping? Are you a chili-cheese dog fan? Or a staunch believer that mustard is the only condiment that belongs on a hot dog? Well, no matter your preference, there’s plenty of hot dog styles to choose from!
In honor of National Hot Dog Month, we’d love to introduce you to some hot dog variations from around the U.S.A. Celebrate food history by learning more about these famous styles below. From street vendors to ball park stadiums, the American hot dog sure has an interesting (and tasty) history!
If you’re planning an upcoming trip, be sure to look for these regional styles on your travels! Otherwise, fire up the grill at home and try your hand at some of the recipes below to find your new favorite.
Place of Origin: Rhode Island
Primary Toppings: Meat sauce, mustard, onion, and celery salt
Don’t let the name confuse you! This style of hot dog actually originated in Providence, Rhode Island. In the early 1900’s, hot dogs were still primarily only popular in New York, near Coney Island, where they were first introduced by German immigrants. When brought to Rhode Island, the term “New York System” was used as a marketing term to promote the authentic nature of the dish, however the term is now used to describe the particular style of preparation that is unique to Rhode Island.
You can find these hot dogs (or hot wieners, as they are commonly called) topped with meat sauce, mustard, onions, and celery salt all across the state, and also in numerous dining establishments, the most famous of which is called Olneyville New York System.
Try it for yourself: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/new-york-system-wiener
Place of Origin: Texas
Primary Toppings: Salsa, shredded Monterey Jack, sliced jalapeños; optional: chili
Head to the southern state of Texas and you’ll find that Mexican-inspired (or “Tex Mex”) cuisine influences nearly every category of food—hot dogs included! Order one, and you may find toppings such as salsa, Monterey jack cheese, and jalapeños, (and sometimes chili!), in a delicious fusion food creation.
Get the recipe: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/texas-dog
Place of Origin: Seattle, WA
Primary Toppings: Cream cheese, grilled onions; optional: sriracha, jalapeños
This unique style of hot dog originated in Seattle in the late 1980s. Legend has it that the concept originally began as a late-night bagel cart. Due to high demand, the vendor began offering hot dogs served on bialy rolls topped with cream cheese—a pairing which has since become ubiquitous with Seattle.
Today, a Seattle Dog always consists of a hot dog topped with cream cheese and grilled onions, but can also be found with a variety of additional toppings, such as jalapeños, grilled cabbage, sriracha, BBQ sauce, and mustard.
Give it a try: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/seattle-dog/
Place of Origin: Various: Cincinnati, OH; Detroit, MI; and others
Primary Toppings: Chili, mustard, onion, shredded cheddar
This famous style of hot dog also gets its name from New York City’s Coney Island, however it is most popular in the Midwest and other areas of the country, many of which had large Greek or Macedonian immigrants in the early 1900s.
Each region has its own unique variation of the Coney Island Dog, but the primary dish consists of a hot dog covered with a savory chili sauce, commonly topped with mustard and chopped onions, with the additional option of shredded cheese (A.K.A. a “Cheese Coney”). You can find two of the most famous variations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan.
Make it yourself: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/cincinnati-coney-dog/
Place of Origin: Southern Arizona (Phoenix, Tucson, etc.)
Primary Toppings: Bacon-wrapped hot dog, pinto beans, pico de gallo (tomatoes, raw onion, jalapenos), avocado, mayo; shredded cheese (optional)
Another hot dog with a Tex-Mex twist, the Sonoran Dog, is a very popular style throughout Arizona. Originating from Sonora, Mexico, this style consists of a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with fresh salsa, pinto beans, avocado, and mayonnaise, with other optional accompaniments.
Try the recipe: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/sonoran-dog/
Place of Origin: Washington, D.C.
Primary Toppings: Half beef/half pork sausage, chili, onions, mustard (optional)
Head to the nation’s capital and you’ll likely find a style of hot dogs called “half smokes.” Made from a half-pork, half-beef blend, these slightly spicy sausages are smoked and grilled, then topped with a meaty chili sauce, onions, and mustard. Sample them at iconic locations such as Ben’s Chili Bowl or National’s Park.
Make them at home: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/chili-half-smokes/
Place of Origin: Southern U.S.: Carolinas; West Virginia; Atlanta, GA
Primary Toppings: Creamy coleslaw, beef chili, raw onion, yellow mustard
All throughout the southern United States, you’ll see hot dogs served with coleslaw as a topping. This fun variation is particularly popular in the Carolinas, West Virginia, and Atlanta, GA, and often includes the additional ingredient of beef chili, with accompaniments like raw onion and yellow mustard.
Check it out: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/carolina-slaw-dogs/
Place of Origin: Chicago, IL
Primary Toppings: Tomato, chopped white onion, sweet pickle relish, sport peppers, yellow mustard, dill pickle spear, celery salt, (traditionally) poppy seed bun
Visit any Chicago hot dog stand, and chances are you’ll see an option for “the works.” Sometimes described as being “dragged through the garden,” this iconic hot dog variation includes a whole slew of veggies and other toppings including tomato slices, chopped white onion, sweet relish, sport peppers, a dill pickle spear, celery salt, and yellow mustard—but never ketchup!
Give it a try: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/chicago-dog/
Place of Origin: Kansas City, MO
Primary Toppings: Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, sesame bun (optional)
This lesser-known style is a cross between a hot dog and a Reuben sandwich—with ingredients like Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing! You may find it being served at Kauffman Stadium (home of the MLB Kansas City Royals) and other food service locations around Kansas City.
Taste it for yourself: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/reuben-dog/
Place of Origin: New York City, NY
Primary Toppings: Sauerkraut, deli-style mustard, onions (optional)
Last but not least…We couldn’t forget about New York City—birthplace of the American-style hotdog. New York has been serving up this classic dish since the late 1800s. As the story goes, around 1870, a German immigrant named Charles Feltman opened up the first hot dog stand on Coney Island. Soon after, hot dogs grew in popularity as a street food and ball park offering, as they are to this day.
Walk the streets of New York, and you’ll see dozens of hot dog stands serving up this classic dish, typically served with a simple spread of deli-style mustard and sometimes sauerkraut or steamed onions in a ketchup sauce.
Enjoy on your own: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/new-york-street-dogs/
Which of these styles is your favorite? Let us know on social media!
Find more hot dog recipes at: https://potatorolls.com/recipes/?dish-type=hot-dogs
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