The Varsity: Atlanta, GA
Despite updating as a modern operation, chili dogs are still $1.83, or $2.22 for the Heavy Dog (pictured) covered in so much chili you need a knife and fork.
The Varsity: 61 North Avenue Northwest, Atlanta GA 30308; thevarsity.com
Ann's Dari-Creme: Glen Burnie, MD
Be sure not to miss the hand-cut fries and super thick milkshakes. Our first stop on the way down South and a great start to a trip full of incredible hot dogs.
Ann's Dari-Creme: 7918 Ritchie Hwy, Glen Burnie MD 21061
Photo courtesy of Mark Jonas on Flickr.
Ben's Chili Bowl: Washington, D.C.
Ben's Chili Bowl: 1213 U Street NW, Washington D.C. 20009; benschilibowl.com
Nu-Way Weiners: Macon, GA
Wash it down with sweet tea poured over Nu-Way's famous shaved "flaky ice" for the quintessential southern hot dog experience.
Nu-Way Weiners: 430 Cotton Avenue, Macon GA; nu-wayweiners.com
Pauly Dogs: Durham, NC
The dogs are high quality steamed Sabrett's natural casing beef hot dogs, the base for surprisingly well-balanced wild concoctions like the "Will" topped with chili, potato salad, sweet Thai chili sauce and crushed potato chips. Or the classic "Southern Belle" topped with chili, cole slaw, and a dash of Texas Pete hot sauce.
Pauly Dogs: Duke University, West Campus Plaza, 125 Science Drive, Durham NC 27705; Pauly Dogs on Facebook
Frank: Austin, TX
Things get even more intense with weekly specials like the cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped, deep-fried "Warehouse District" dog covered in Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce. Or the Muffaletta style "Bourbon Street" dog.
Frank: 407 Colorado Street, Austin TX 78701; hotdogscoldbeer.com/
Pete's Famous Hot Dogs: Birmingham, AL
Dropped into a mustard smeared bun, the "special" is topped generously with sauerkraut, seasoned ground beef, chopped onions and Gus's mysterious secret sauce. Add a dash of cayenne pepper from the shaker on the stainless steel ledge and the combination of flavors result in one of the most unique and delicious hot dogs in the country.
Pete's Famous Hot Dogs: 1925 2nd Avenue, North Birmingham AL 35203; Southern Foodways Alliance: Pete's Hot Dogs
Gus's Hot Dogs: Birmingham, AL
The rivalry between the two ancient stands is intense; picking a winner is a real challenge. They are both ridiculously good hot dogs, better to just eat both!
Gus's Hot Dogs: 1915 4th Ave N., Birmingham AL 35203; Southern Foodways Alliance: Gus's Hot Dogs
Sandy's: Columbia, SC
Sandy's Famous Hot Dogs: 612 St Andrews Rd, Columbia SC; Sandy's on Facebook
Rough Hous: Abbeville, SC
Wash a few dogs down with an ice cold Budweiser or Grape Nehi (in an old-fashioned glass bottle) and check out some of the local blues and country acts that play here regularly.
The Rough House: 116 Court Square, Abbeville SC 29620; Rough House on Facebook
Skeenies Hot Dogs: Charleston, WV
Skeenie's Hot Dogs: 2399 Sissonville Drive, Charleston WV 25312-1334
Photo courtesy of asimplehomecook.com
Morrison's Drive-Inn: Logan, WV
The dogs are buried in sweet and spicy chili, mustard, super finely chopped slaw and a small scattering of finely diced onions. Then the whole thing is wrapped in cellophane, enabling the flavors and ingredients to combine into the hot delicious mess that is a West Virginia hot dog.
Morrison's Drive-Inn: 126 Stollings Avenue, Logan WV
Photo courtesy of wvhotdogblog.blogspot.com
Roanoke Weiner Stand: Roanoke, VA
The dogs are super simple and delicious, grilled up in the front window, served with thick chili, mustard and fresh diced onion on steamed buns.
Roanoke Weiner Stand: 25 Campbell Avenue Southeast, Roanoke VA 24011
Skeeter's E.M. Umberger Store: Wytheville, VA
These are classic Southern slaw dogs, bright red steamed wieners buried underneath chili, creamy homemade slaw that's more sauce than salad, the standard mustard and onions as well as neon orange cheese sauce if ordered "all the way." And of course, bottles of hot sauce on every table.
Skeeter's World Famous Hot Dogs: 165 East Main Street, Wytheville VA 24382; Skeeter's on Facebook
Roast Grill: Raleigh, NC
The Roast Grill: 7 South West Street, Raleigh NC 27603; roastgrill.com
Pulliams Barbecue: Winston Salem, NC
The bun is toasted face-down on the grill in butter until it's golden brown, then gets topped with owner Big Ed's homemade hot sauce.
Pulliams Toasted Hot Dogs: 4358 Old Walkertown Road, Winston-Salem NC 27105