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.
Italian Hot Dog (Newark)
Invented in Newark, New Jersey, in 1932, the Italian hot dog is more a hot dog sandwich than anything else, the (often deep-fried) franks stuffed into a half-moon pocket of chewy "pizza bread" along with onions, peppers, and slices of fried potato. The all-beef franks typically hail from Newark-based Best Provisions, or Sabrett.
Where to Get It: The alleged birthplace of the Italian hot dog, Jimmy Buff's, remains a great place to give this gut bomb a whirl: a deep-fried frank and oil-slicked veggies served with your choice of ketchup, mustard, or onion relish. 60 Washington St., West Orange, NJ