Barbecues, ball games and camp-outs—these popular summertime activities wouldn’t be the same without hot dogs! From east coast to west, each city has its own take on the best dog, inspiring intense, fan-like devotion. These hot dogs are as diverse as the cities they represent, demonstrating a combination of culinary creativity and civic pride.
Born out of classic hot dog vendor one-upmanship, the Chicago dog features a steamed poppy seed bun, an all-beef frank, mustard, raw white onion, relish, tomato wedges, a pickle spear, spicy pickled green peppers (a.k.a. sport peppers) and a sprinkling of celery salt. And no, ketchup isn’t an option.
New Jersey Dog
Jersey is home to a variety of hot dog styles, but the Italian Dog is their signature. It’s a hot dog in thick pizza bread topped with onions, peppers and deep fried potatoes.
New York Dog
The Big Apple and hot dog carts go hand in hand. Simple and to the point, the classic New York hot dog is served in a plain bun and comes with steamed or stewed onions and deli-style mustard. It’s not uncommon for the onions to be cooked with tomato paste or swapped out for sauerkraut.
Philly’s not just for cheesesteaks! The City of Brotherly Love is also the origin of this all-beef hot dog featuring a fish cake inside the bun. Often topped with a sweet, vinegary slaw and spicy mustard, it’s a party for the senses.
Life south of the Mason-Dixon is a little different, so it’s no surprise that the hot dogs are, too. Pick up a dog down south and it’ll be served in a classic white bun “dragged through the garden,” meaning topped with crunchy coleslaw. Slaw-topped dogs are a common Southern treat.
It may be called the “Reindeer Dog,” but surprisingly it’s not actually made from reindeer meet, but rather typically caribou. It’s sometimes served in a steamed bun with grilled onions sautéed in cola. Yum!
The toppings on this dog vary from vendor to vendor, but they all start with a grilled Polish sausage or wiener atop a toasted, cream cheese–covered bun. Once the base is built, toppings can include any combination of caramelized onions, jalapeños, cabbage or sauerkraut, hot sauce, barbecue sauce and ketchup.
While many different hot dog varieties are sold throughout the country’s most populous state, the one most unique to California is a bacon-wrapped hot dog served with grilled onions and peppers. Because doesn’t bacon (or turkey-bacon, if you prefer) make everything better?
Kansas City Dog
Part Reuben sandwich, part hot dog, Kansas City dogs are served on a sesame seed bun and topped with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese.
Whether you’re barbecuing outdoors or entertaining indoors, accidents can happen. Visit geico.com for tips and advice on how to stay protected no matter where you are.