Looking back at all the hot dogs I've eaten this year, I'm not sure what's more intense: the insane amount of time I've spent traveling, drawing, and devouring encased meats, or the staggering number of fascinating regional hot dog variations and famous joints around the country (and world) I have yet to try.
Over the year I tried Colombian hot dogs covered in crushed potato chips and raspberry mayonnaise to a smoked kielbasa "Polish Boy" loaded with fries, cole slaw and syrupy sweet barbecue sauce. Then there were deep-fried hot dogs in New Jersey, artisanal hot dogs basted in lard and delicately garnished by professional chefs, and countless old-fashioned hot dog counters full of locals screaming at the TV, drinking coffee and downing chili dogs.
What's really striking is how remarkably different they all are, from town to town, one hot dog joint to another. Every area, every variation has its own fanatically passionate army of loyal customers. Hot dogs, more so than most of other foods, have remained stubbornly attached to their regional roots. Even the most popular new hot dogs stem from an accidental fusion of street foods, or some cart vendor's crazy idea that happens to resonate with customers and slowly spreads to other cities.
So enjoy our look back at our 12 favorite dogs from the last year's Hot Dog of the Week column. What were your favorite dogs this year? Did you notice any trends?
2010 Highlights from Hot Dog of the Week
- Jersey Style Italian Hot Dogs
- Deep fried dogs from Rutt's Hut in New Jersey
- Blackie's Hot Dog Stand in Connecticut
- Mini Dogs with Zippy Sauce from Famous Lunch
- Nicky and Pete's Famous Hot Dogs in Philadelphia
- Locavore hot dogs from Fat Franks in Vermont
- Bark's lard-basted boutique hot dogs
- Hot dog Torta from Puebla Mini Mart in Brooklyn
- Crazy Colombian hot dogs in Queens
- Street Meat dogs in Toronto
- Cleveland's Polish Boy
- Alligator Coney from Dixie Chili in Kentucky
2011 Hot Dog Trend Predictions?
Get ready for another year of generations-old family run small town hot dog counters, wild street fusion Mexi-Asian wiener carts, and whatever else the world of hot doggery throws our way in 2011.
About the author: Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.