« Please keep your agenda off my blog | Main | The Comment of the Week »

September 5, 2009

The top hot dog-consuming cities

hotdogimage2.jpgIn honor of Labor Day, I guess, Ball Park Franks sent me a list of the Top 10 Hot Dog-Consuming Cities. A weaker person than I would save it for next Tuesday, but I'm better than that. I'm going to use it today. (It helps that Shallow Thought John sent me an excellent Top 10 that I can use so I don't have to be working on one on Labor Day.)

Anyway, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, an organization I didn't even know existed, Americans consume some seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I'm too lazy to look up how many people live in the United States, but that figure seems high to me.

I feel like I personally would have had to have eaten more than seven hot dogs this summer, and I haven't.

Anyway, Baltimore is quite high up on the hot dog-consuming list, which also came with the recipes that made them so consumable in each city. I have issues with that part, too, and I think you'll agree with me when you see the list. ...

There's not much more to say about hot dogs that we haven't already said earlier on this blog. Except maybe about the buns, whether they should be grilled or not. (I vote yes.)

Here's the list: 

"Based on data from Information Resources Inc., here's a look at the top 10 hot dog consuming cities and the recipes that make them hometown favorites:

1.  New York (NY) - Considered the hot dog capital of the nation by many Americans, New York City's infamous street cart dog is boiled and then served with a special onion sauce and deli-style yellow mustard or in some cases, sauerkraut

2.  Los Angeles (CA) - This west coast wiener is wrapped with Mexican style bacon and includes grilled onions, jalapeño or bell peppers and salsa

3.  Baltimore (MD)/Washington, D.C. - Popular within the nation's capital, the Monumental Dog is typically an all-beef frank topped with banana peppers, onions, diced red peppers, sliced pickles and served on a steamed potato hot dog bun that has been spread with mayonnaise

4. Philadelphia (PA) - One of the most unique recipes in the nation, the Philly Combo consists of an all-beef hot dog and a potato dish cake topped with mustard and onions

5. Chicago (IL) - Widely known for its "Classic Chicago Dog," this elaborate dog is served in a poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, green relish, chopped raw onion, fresh tomato, a pickle spear and topped with a touch of celery salt

6.  San Antonio/Corpus Christi (TX) - A popular hot dog in the Lone Star state, the Tex-Mex dog is topped with salsa, Monterrey Jack cheese and chopped jalapeños   

7.  Boston (MA) - One of the nation's most famous franks, the Fenway Frank is boiled and grilled, then served in a New England-style bun topped with mustard and relish

8.  Harrisburg/Scranton (PA) - Home to the Texas Weiner, which contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with Texas.  Although there have been debates in the past on whether this hot dog originated in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, one thing is certain - this misnomer of a dog is deep fried and served with Greek sauce consisting of a smooth, slow cooked meat sauce spiced with cayenne, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cumin

9.  Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (FL) - Known for its spicy flavor and hot temperatures, this city's "hot" dog is modeled after a Cuban recipe, which calls for lettuce, avocado, mojo sauce (a sauce combining garlic and olive oil) and pineapple   

10.  Charleston (SC) - So popular it spans both North and South Carolina, the Carolina dog is served with chili, coleslaw, mustard and onions"

(Photo courtesy of Ball Park Franks)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 11:29 AM | | Comments (46)


We always have a pack of hot dogs in our house, but we're grilling chicken this weekend. Hot dogs always seem to taste so much better when they're purchased (ball games, street carts), rather than cooking them at home.

There are about 3.07 million people in the U.S., so that's about 23 per person, if I did the math right. Over an entire summer.

Entirely plausible, from where I sit.

Oh...and I agrre with NotableM...they taste better when you eat out than they do when you cook them at home.

My theory: Hot dogs you buy at the grocery store to cook at home are U.S.D.A. Choice, but when you eat out, you are getting U.S.D.A. Prime.

We just returned from a trip to Chicago - home of the best hot dog I've ever eaten. Poppy seed roll, vienna beef dog, celery salt, tomatoes, neon green relish, chopped onions, mustard (NO Ketchup), a dill pickle and 2 hot peppers. As they say in Chicago, "Dragged through the garden."
I recommend Hot Doug's and Superdawgs.

I believe it was that great philosopher Charlie Brown who said that a hot dog always tastes better with a ball game in front of it. Amen!
Mayonnaise? Really? I've never seen that...don't want to either!

Is that really how people eat hot dogs here? I've only had 5 Guy's dogs, so I haven't a clue.

They left off the Detroit coney dog. Of course, everyone forgets about Detroit.

Is that really how people eat hot dogs here?

No, I've never seen that around here.

Mayo is good on a dog if you are eating it on bread. If it is on a bun, Chicago style is best. Years ago when I lived in NW Indiana, there was a chain called Bozo's that served great Chicago dogs. Of course, hot dogs at the ball park are great no matter what you put on them.

Ooops..typo...307 million people in U.S.

I will not leave this earth until I've had a Chicago dog.

I always thought mayo was a Latin American thing. Maybe they do this in DC.

I do not consider Baltimore much of a hot dog town (any more) unless everyone is making them at home. Where do you go for a hot dog around here now-a-days other than Home Depot (Meh)?

The only way I would call Baltimore-style is wrapped in bologna.

Baltimore/DC way???
I've never even heard of it much less had it.
I'm a Potato Roll, Mustard, Raw red onion, and sauerkraut
when avaiable kind a guy.

I'm kinda surprised New Orleans didn't make the list. I have never been to New Orleans without having a Lucky Dog!

I have never seen a hot dog served like that in this town. I think you have three choices here--mustard, mustard and onion and mustard and sauerkraut. That's about it.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is an arm of the American Meat Institute. Its mission -- to keep hot dogs uppermost in our minds, on our lips and eventually in our gullets. No better way than a fun-and-fact-filled press release identifying the hot dog culture of American cities. That's PR 101. What's surprising is that being based locally in Washington, D.C., the Council came up with a hot dog recipe that none of the hot dog enthusiasts I know has ever tried. Or would. Banana chips? Sliced red peppers? Mayonnaise? C'mon. Then again,during all the years I lived in Santa Monica, Ca., I never encountered a hot dog wrapped in Mexican style bacon -- whatever that is. I think they got in right for NY and Chicago but that's easy. Now that I've said my piece, please pass the French's mustard, relish and sauerkraut and open another can of Bush's Baked Beans.

MAG, the off-the-wall PR release said banana peppers, not banana chips. Other than that, I agree with everything you said,

how can Baltimore lose the damned DC thing? We HATE DC! Doesn't anybody realize that?

If they're eating hotdogs, then we're not, by god!

G and A in Highlandtown. They were featured on 3D's with Guy Fiere. Also Harry's in Westrminster has great dogs. The best are Nathan's authentic skin on hot dogs, grilled on a potato bun with plenty of mustard. I think I might go make my self one right now!

A kosher dog with melted swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Yum!

kosher dog with melted swiss cheese

Now, that is just passive aggressive.

Point to Lissa.

"Monumental" dog? REALLY!?!?

We have hot dogs about once a month -- with mustard, minced Vidalia onions and relish, and sauerkraut if I have any. But mayo!? Banana peppers?? Diced red peppers??? Absurd!

We haven't eaten hot dogs in decades. Someone out there must be eating our share. Oink.

From Wikipedia:

"Another variation of the DC hotdog is the monumental dog. Legend has this variation originating from a small local establishment located inside of the borders of Washington, DC called either World of Hotdogs and Pizza or Continental Hotdogs and Pizza. The Hotdog consist of a steamed or grilled rectangular all beef hotdog on a steamed potato hotdog bun, with a spread of mayonnaise on the bun, topped with banana peppers, onions, tangy diced red peppers, and sliced pickles."

Any idiot can put something in wikipedia, and probably has. Which is why it is great for looking up obscure Star Trek characters, but obviously not a great resource for hot dog toppings.

Fun to see the Harrisburg area on the list, but Texas weiners aren't deep fried. Go to the Texas Hot Weiner Lunch in Hanover - the dogs are sitting there on the grill right in front of the window.

I think Lissa nailed the problem. Wikipedia had to precede the "hot dog variations" article with caveats that the article relies largely on a single source, and that it may be too subjective and not impartial. The only Google entries on the alleged creators of the monumental dog just refer back to the same Wikipedia article. The monumental dog sounds pretty bogus under those circumstances.

We are obviously in agreement. When it comes to Baltimore/Washington weiners, the Council made a Monumental mistake.

What no fried bologna???

First, I spent six years in suburban Philadelphia through middle and high school, and never once saw anything like the recipe described above -- not even at Connie Mack Stadium!

Second, I have spent many years building up an immunity to Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks (think the "iocaine powder" scene in The Princess Bride). I can get the neon green relish from a supermarket just west of Wildwood, NJ, and the little yellow chiles from the salsa bar at Baja Fresh are a pretty good substitute for the "sport peppers" of Chicago dog fame. So I can put together a pretty good imitation of a Windy City wiener with much less guilt than might otherwise obtain. One major departure from the cannus receptus: I use Dijon rather than yellow mustard.

How about the kosher dogs with fired bologna that used to be served at Jack's on Lombard Street. They were the best. I tried to get one at Katz's Deli in Manhattan and they refused to make it, something about mixing meats.

Is Jack's still there?

In New Jersey (West Orange) there's a place called Jimmy Buffs that makes an Italian Hot Dog:
Two deep fried dogs
Fried potatoes
Fried onions
Fried peppers
served in a hollowed out Italian roll

They are delicious, greasy, but delicious!

JZ - Yes, Jack's is still on Lombard Street as well as another location on Reisterstown Road. Good Stuff, I agree...

There's a Travel Channel show called "Hot Dog Paradise" that features hot dogs all over the country--Jimmy Buff's, Superdawg, Hot Doug's, The Varsity (Atlanta), Pink's (L.A.), etc. It's fun to watch.

Jack's hasn't been on Lombard St. for ages. Lenny's is where Jack's used to be.

Hal - You're correct, I knew that as you can see from previous posts on the subject. It's been a long weekend, I guess...

Where can you get a hot dog around here? Well, Ann's Dairy Creme in Glen Burnie comes to mind. And they deep fry their dogs, to boot!

As for volume... my son eats his share as well as my husband and my share. He probably eats my neighbor on either side shares as well. That kid loves Hebrew National reduced fat dogs. Oh, and Costco Hot dogs. At age 5, he fancies himself a hot dog connoisseur.

Thanks for telling me about Jack's or Lenny's. After reading this blog I've got a hankering for a couple of those bologna dogs!

As somebody noted, the "Chicago" recipee neglected the "sport peppers". It's the "Sacred Seven" condiments, not Sacred Six! And yes, asking for ketchup is the easiest way to trigger a "You're not from around here, are you?" reaction. There's one hot dog stand that is semi-famous for a policy where if you ask for ketchup, they will give you a "to go" packet of ketchup with your dog, and ask you to immediately leave the premises.

As for the Bozo's chain in the south suburbs and NW IN, it's actually not "Bozo's" anymore, due to a lawsuit from Larry Harmon or whoever owns the rights to "Bozo the Clown" these days. The hotdog chain changed for a short time to "Bozoo's" but then hit upon making it look like "Bozo's", but changing one of the "o"s to a modified smiley face (they couldn't use the "usual" yellow smiley, as that's also copyrighted for commercial purposes!), and for legal purposes, they are "Boz's". Or at least that was the story circulating many years ago, a few years after they opened, and a quick web search confirms that the corporation is using the name "Boz's". Everybody still calls them Bozo's, though.

I'll have to try a Texas Weiner. That meat sauce sounds like a description of the sauce used in Rochester, NY, though in Rochester, it's primarily used on a "white hot" by one particular vendor (Zweigle's, IIRC), rather than a traditional hot dog. The "white hot" is similar to a Weiswurst, and the meat sauce is an indescribable flavor mystery, but oddly habit-forming.

Having previously been berated into submission on the ketchup question, now I wonder on what food DOES ketchup properly belong?

40 comments about hot dogs in Baltimore (and other cities, of course) and not one mention of Pollock Johnny's - how can that be?

Bucky, IMHO, it belongs on burgers, dogs, french fries, onion rings, scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese, (if there's no stewed tomatoes to go with it). I subscribe to the more is more school for hotdogs.

It does Not belong on steak and that's about it.

Bucky - French fries (unless in the mood for Old Bay and vinegar) and cocktail sauce for shrimp


Ketchup was made for "rubber" eggs, with hot sauce....

I could go for a couple of coney's from Capital Coney Island in Flint, Michigan right about now.

Monumental Dog? I've never even heard of that and I lived in Baltimore for 30 years. I also would not eat something like that.

For those of you who like the hot dogs at Lenny's, step it up a notch and go to Edmart Delicatessen in Pikesville. Their hot dogs are, in my humble opinion, the best kosher hotdogs around. And, they sell the rolls which are actually the right size for the dogs. So, you can buy the dogs and kosher bologna and make your bologna dog at home. I don't eat hot dogs more than once or twice a year, but when we grill them, it has to be from Edmart.

Plus, their "Hamisha" mustard is great. Putting ketchup on a hot dog is sacreligious by my standpoint.

P.S. I have no relationship to the deli. I just like their hot dogs.

Post a comment

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected