Hot dogs are near and dear to many Americans' hearts – particularly this time of year, when warm nights beg for a couple of franks of the grill. But how you define a hot dog may differ vastly depending on whether you're in, say, New Jersey, West Virginia, or Chicago: The brand of dog, the type of bun, and everything that goes on top is likely to vary. Is the hot dog steamed or grilled? Are the buns toasted?
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We are all products of our hometowns, adopted and otherwise, and America happens to be home to an incredible range of hot dog varietals. These dogs are a far cry from the cheap boiled specimens some of us grew up with, incorporating everything from celery salt and secret sauces to tropical fruit relishes and cream cheese. Location matters, too: Boardwalk dogs and ballpark dogs are somehow elevated above the rest, in a class of their own. From Rhode Island to Arizona, Colorado to Hawaii, our list travels across the country to uncover our favorite styles of hot dog, and the best places to find them.
Coney Island Dog (Detroit)
The signature hot dog of Michigan, the Coney Island is a grilled frank blanketed in beef chili – beanless and usually made with beef hearts – chopped raw onions, and yellow mustard, wrapped in a steamed bun. It has nothing to do with Coney Island, New York, other than being a shout-out to that iconic birthplace of hot dogs in America – the name was likely a marketing ploy that came about shortly after the first Coney dogs appeared, in Jackson, MI, in 1914. Coney variations exist elsewhere in the Midwest.
Where to Get It: In downtown Detroit, divey Lafayette Coney Island is where you go for your Coney dog fix – often after a long night of drinking. Snappy wieners – a natural-casing pork-and-beef mix from Dearborn Sausage Company – and crunchy onions add nice texture to the soupy chili, while tangy yellow mustard enlivens every bite. 118 W. Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI
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