Gallery: 2011 Minor League Baseball Hot Dog Roundup

Reno Aces - Envy Dog
Reno Aces - Envy Dog
This monster is a local, natural casing half pound hot dog, grilled and topped with onions, beer cheese and spicy mustard. Served in a metal trough with a side of hand cut fries and cole slaw. Also new this year is the Big Cheese, a 6 x 18 inch slab of garlic cheese bread served with a variety of dipping sauces.

[Photograph: Aramark]

Durham Bulls - The Bull Dog
Durham Bulls - The Bull Dog
For the 2011 season, North Carolina's Durham Bulls, an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, have rolled out the brand new Bull Dog, wrapped in bacon, cheese and soft pretzel dough. The dogs are Bright Leaf Brand, available in either classic Southern neon red or the new all-beef stadium frank. Bright Leaf is also the official hot dog of the nearby Carolina Mudcats.

[Photograph: Durham Bulls]

Sacramento River Cats - Dinger Dog
Sacramento River Cats - Dinger Dog
Out of all the dogs in this slideshow, this might be my first choice. They start out with a grilled, all-beef hardwood smoked frank from nearby Alpine Meats, also the official dog of the San Francisco Giants. The Dinger Dog is a jumbo version, this one topped with peppers, onions, pickles and kraut.

[Photograph: River Cats]

Sacramento River Cats - Sac Town Dog / Baked Potato Dog
Sacramento River Cats - Sac Town Dog / Baked Potato Dog
Other dog options at Raley Field include a Baked Potato Dog and the Sac Town Dog topped with golden brown onion rings, blue cheese and chipotle ranch sauce. Also new this year is the Donut Bacon Cheeseburger and the Walking Taco: chicken or steak with cabbage, tomato, grilled jalapenos, cilantro cream and salsa verde all piled into a "taco cone."

[Photograph: River Cats]

Lancaster Jethawks - Kaboom's Dog House
Lancaster Jethawks - Kaboom's Dog House
The Jethawks, an affiliate of the Houston Astros that are based outside of Los Angeles, are jumping into the crazy hot dog game with both feet this year. Kaboom's Dog House, a stand serving natural casing Hoffy dogs (the same brand served at Pink's) is offering a Greek Dog topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce, and a Mexican Dog buried underneath chili, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.

[Photograph: Lancaster Jethawks]

Lancaster Jethawks - Kaboom's Dog House
Lancaster Jethawks - Kaboom's Dog House
Also available at Kaboom's Dog House is a more standard Chicago-style dog dressed with pickles, onions, tomato, sport peppers and neon green relish. Or try the just announced, limited time only, contender for most ridiculous hot dog of 2011 Heartstopper: a natural casing dog split down the middle, served on biscuits and buried underneath sausage gravy, bacon and cheese.

[Photograph: Lancaster Jethawks]

Erie Sea Wolves - Smith's Hot Dogs
Erie Sea Wolves - Smith's Hot Dogs
The Sea Wolves of Erie, Pennsylvania, are keeping it local with smoked beef and pork hot dogs from Smith's Provisions, a company that began as a traditional German sausage shop in the 1930s.

[Photograph: Harry P. Hunt on Flickr]

Harrisburg Senators - The Spot
Harrisburg Senators - The Spot
The Spot was a legendary Harrisburg hot dog stand, opened in 1939 by Jimmy Kaldes. It closed in 2007, but was resurrected a year later at the Senators' ballpark by the Kaldes family. This year marks the Spot's first in the Senators' new Capitol Blue Cross Boardwalk ballpark.

The classic Spot Dog is grilled and covered in chili, still made with the original 1939 recipe. They're also doing the hot sauce, blue cheese, diced celery Heater Dog, and the Ollie Dog, pictured here and topped with bacon, fried onions, barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese, and ranch dressing.

[Photograph: The Spot]

Syracuse Chiefs - Hofmann German franks and Coneys
Syracuse Chiefs - Hofmann German franks and Coneys
At the Chief's Alliance Bank Stadium, and pretty much all of Syracuse, Hofmann's franks are the only way to go. The German Franks are beef, pork and veal, while the white Snappys, known as "Coneys" to locals, are mild veal and pork dogs, both with natural sheep casings, usually served grilled. Also the official hot dog of the nearby Auburn Doubledays.

[Photograph: Hofmann Sausage]

Iowa Cubs - Klement's Dog, Chicago Style
Iowa Cubs - Klement's Dog, Chicago Style
Des Moines' Iowa Cubs are bringing the best of both worlds together with their hot dogs, serving smoked beef and pork weiners from Klement's Sausage of Milwaukee (also the official dog of the Brewers) but dressed Chicago Cubs style, with tomatoes, pickles, onions, relish and mustard on a poppy seed bun.

[Photograph: Iowa Cubs]

Huntsville Stars - Beer Brat on Pretzel Roll
Huntsville Stars - Beer Brat on Pretzel Roll
Alabama's Huntsville Stars are an affiliate of the Brewers, and all about bringing a taste of Milwaukee to the South. The signature dog is a Johnsonville quarter-pound beer brat ("made with real Wisconsin beer!") grilled and served on a pretzel roll with peppers and onions.

Also new this year are brisket sandwiches and "ultimate" pulled pork nachos. When asked in an interview with Huntsville Times if the park was offering any vegetarian options, the manger's response was "Water." Amazing.

[Photograph: Huntsville Stars]

Toledo Mudhens - Koegel's Hot Dogs
Toledo Mudhens - Koegel's Hot Dogs
Ohio's Mudhens, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, are killing it with delicious Koegel's hot dogs from Detroit and Polish sausage from Stanley's Market in Toledo, a traditional Polish butcher shop that's been around since the 1930s.

The Mudhens' Fifth Third Field looks like it's one of the top Minor League food destinations in the country, with crazy new items like tzatziki covered Greek Nachos and Red Velvet Ice Cream from Toft's Dairy in nearby Sandusky.

[Artwork: Toledo Mud Hens]

Rochester Red Wings - Zweigle's Red Hots
Rochester Red Wings - Zweigle's Red Hots
Frontier Field offers a wide variety of dogs all made with Rochester's delicious natural casing Zweigle's "pop open" hots, including the plate dog (their version of the Garbage Plate). Zweigle's are also served at the nearby Batavia Muckdogs, and strangely enough, at the stadium of the Greenville Drive, a Red Sox affiliate in South Carolina.

[Photograph: Hawk Krall]

Brooklyn Cyclones - Nathan's Hot Dog
Brooklyn Cyclones - Nathan's Hot Dog
Since the stadium opened in 2001, Nathan's has been the official hot dog of the Brooklyn Cyclones, an affiliate of the New York Mets. Grab an all-beef dog at the ballpark or just walk a few blocks to Nathan's original Coney Island location after the game, and take note that you are devouring a frankfurter at the epicenter of American hot dog history.

[Photograph:antonia13 on Flickr]

Charleston River Dogs - River Dog
Charleston River Dogs - River Dog
Probably minor league baseball's most famous signature hot dogs thanks to Man VS Food, Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park is known for its massive half-pound Homewrecker dogs, as well as the signature grilled River Dog topped with cole slaw, pickled okra, and mustard barbecue sauce.

[Photograph: Charleston River Dogs]

Charleston River Dogs - Pickle Dog / Pig on a Stick
Charleston River Dogs - Pickle Dog / Pig on a Stick
Also available at River Dogs games this year is the Pig on a Stick (a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried corn dog) and the very strange Pickle Dog consisting of a grilled hot dog served on a hollowed out kosher pickle stuffed with cole slaw. I guess this is the park's gluten-free, low-carb option?

[Photograph: Charleston River Dogs]

Charleston River Dogs - Cheesesteak Brat
Charleston River Dogs - Cheesesteak Brat
Last but not least in the River Dogs' never-ending parade of ridiculous hot dogs is the Cheesesteak Brat topped with "Philly meat," onions, peppers and cheese. Also available at "The Joe" this year are gourmet cupcakes, and the delicious-sounding, brand new Monster Pimento Pickle Burger topped with pimento cheese and deep-fried pickle chips.

[Photograph: Charleston River Dogs]

Arkansas Naturals - Funnel Dog
Arkansas Naturals - Funnel Dog
The Naturals' super popular Funnel Dog has been around since 2008, and was invented by accident. A member of the grounds crew was celebrating his birthday and asked for a corn dog, but the closest thing they had to cornmeal was funnel cake batter, and history was made. A Tyson hot dog dipped in funnel cake batter, deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar, the Funnel Dog is a truly original salty and sweet creation, and at this point pretty minimalist compared to what's going on at the other ballparks.

New to Arvest Stadium this year is the In-And-Out inspired Out-N-Left-Field-Burger, serving up milkshakes and fast food style angus beef hamburgers.

[Photograph: Arkansas Naturals]

Michigan Whitecaps - Duck Hog Frog Dog
Michigan Whitecaps - Duck Hog Frog Dog
In previous years the Whitecaps have introduced the hilariously named Declaration of Indigestion cheesesteak and hot dog combo and the frightening Twinkie Cheese Dog which is, you got it, a hot dog served on a split Twinkie with cheese whiz.

This year they created 10 new ridiculous menu items voted on by fans, including this Duck Hog Frog Dog, a frankfurter jammed between slices of duck meat and garnished with a frog leg. Surprisingly enough this dish lost the contest, and it's doubtful anybody ever actually ate one of these things.

[Photograph: Michigan Whitecaps]

Lake Elsinore Storm - The Homewrecker
Lake Elsinore Storm - The Homewrecker
New this year to the arena of insane hot dogs is the Lake Elsinore Storm, an affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Their Homewrecker is a giant plate of food consisting of three half-pound Farmer John hot dogs, fries, two pounds of chili, and heaping piles of shredded cheese. It costs $26.95, but if you finish it in under 20 minutes it's free. And comes with a T-shirt.

[Photograph: Storm Catering]

Akron Aeros - Three Dog Night
Akron Aeros - Three Dog Night
One of many hot dog atrocities taking place at this stadium, the turducken inspired Three Dog Night was introduced last year: a hot dog stuffed inside a bratwurst, stuffed inside a kielbasa, on a hoagie roll covered in saurkraut and mustard. This is not a joke, and it's nothing compared to what else they're doing this year.

[Photograph: Akron Aeros]

Akron Aeros - Eighth Wonder Of The World
Akron Aeros - Eighth Wonder Of The World
Next on the list of obscene hot dogs at Akron, Ohio's Canal Park is a one pound, 16-inch long hot dog specially made by Five Star Meats and topped with any combination from a list of 40 eclectic toppings including chocolate chips, pineapple, pimento cheese, kimchi, steak sauce, peanut butter and jelly, hummus, and wasabi.

The same toppings (including 5 "secret" ones that change every month) are available on the smaller, half-pound Wonderdog. And don't forget the Nice 2 Meat You Burger, a two-pound hamburger stuffed with hot dogs and topped with cheese and bacon. Woof.

[Photograph: Akron Aeros]