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?
RELATED: For More Regional Food Guides Around the World, Check out Eat Your World
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.
Footlong (Long Branch, New Jersey)
Regular hot dogs are great, but sometimes they're just not big enough! Enter the footlong, America's favorite type of hot dog.
Where to Get It: Long Branch, New Jersey, is hot dog central on the Jersey Shore, home to two beloved spots that have sold their franks a stone's throw from the beach for decades. Max's, established in 1928, does footlongs right, using a quarter-pound beef-pork Shickhaus slow-cooked on a flat griddle until nice and crispy. 25 Matilda Terrace, Long Branch, NJ