This year in hot dog eating was a bit different, with more deli counters and meat-packing plants and homemade hot dogs, maybe partially to offset the onslaught of wild-topping gourmet dogs, a few of which I really love and you'll see represented here, while others just seem like sometimes interesting, sometimes awful exercises in ridiculousness.
The more I find local butcher shops making delicious old-school frankfurters—in supposedly "hot dog ignorant" regions, around Maryland and in Philadelphia—the more baffled I am that restaurants and hot dog stands aren't using them. Maybe it's the small scale production that keeps the quality high. Either way, if you're willing to travel a bit, most of these places offer their amazing dogs for as much as you would pay for cheapo national brands in the supermarket, usually along with all sorts of cured meats and regional specialties you've never even heard of.
Check out all of my favorite dogs in the slideshow!