Wrap it in bacon, smother it with chili, or simmer it in beer; whichever way you choose, our hot takes on iconic dogs from across the country are always incredible.

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How many hot dogs will be eaten at cookouts all across the country this summer? We're not sure but we know it's a very big number. The hot dog is a staple at gatherings large and small. It's easy to make (ahem, grill) and has wide appeal. Maybe you're a purist, favoring the hot dog with mustard on a bun? Or perhaps your preferred hot dog is a regional style? If you're ready to take it to the max this year, try one of these three dogs, which are our takes on the classic California, Cincinnati, and Wisconsin styles. Another good idea? Try all three and have your friends and family vote on their favorite.

three ways to work a hot dog
Credit: Armando Rafael

California-Style Bacon-Wrapped Dogs

First made in Mexico (where the deep-fried version is known as the danger dog), the California Bacon-Wrapped Dog made with a grilled or griddled wiener is a street-vendor staple in Los Angeles. The bacon wrapping is essential, other toppings optional, but we love it with piquant pico de gallo that's quick to put together—just cherry tomatoes, red onion, and cilantro—and grilled poblano pepper, which balance out the smoky bacon.

Cincinnati Chili Dogs

They say if you can see more than the tips of this frank, you're skimping on the beef chili—a signature version flavored with chocolate and cinnamon. Finish a Cincinnati Chili Dog with yellow mustard, diced white onion, and lots of finely shredded cheddar on an untoasted potato roll.

Wisconsin Beer Brats

In Wisconsin, the only thing cheeseheads love as much as the Packers is bratwurst. For our take on the Wisconsin Beer Brats, bratwurst is simmered in beer, sweet onions, and caraway seeds; charred on a grill; then served on a sturdy hoagie roll, loaded with sauerkraut; and topped with spicy brown mustard.

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