Summer is hot dog season in the United States, the time of year when the portable protein appears on backyard grills and ballpark concession stands across the country. Hot dogs are serious business. According to "Forbes," Americans consume billions of hot dogs each year between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays. No matter where you go, you'll find a variety of ways to cook and top hot dogs with local ingredients that reflect the people and culture of the region. Whether you prefer to toss it on a grill, boil it on the stove, or roast it on a stick, give your hot dogs some personality this summer and try these regional favorites.
The Northeast states from Pennsylvania to Maine have some of the greatest hot dog variations in the country, which is no surprise coming from the region where a hot dog with baked beans is a Saturday night staple. A classic New York hot dog is a simple combination of a grilled hot dog typically topped with mustard and sauerkraut. Cross the border into New Jersey, though, and you find the Newark-style Italian dog. This deep-fried hot dog is stuffed in pizza bread instead of a bun, and topped with sautéed onions, peppers, and potatoes.
Two of the most iconic hot dogs in the country hail from the Midwest. The first is the Chicago-style hot dog dragged "through the Garden" and overflowing with sliced tomatoes, pickles, white onions, sport peppers, mustard, and relish. A steamed poppy seed bun completes the sandwich. In Michigan, the Detroit Coney packs plenty of flavor with fewer ingredients. Load up the hot dog with mustard, beanless chili, chopped onions, and shredded cheddar cheese for a gooey, savory treat.
Kansas City Royals fans love to devour Reuben dogs while watching games. This take on the Reuben sandwich has an all-beef hot dog smothered in sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, caraway seeds, and Thousand Island dressing. Arizona, on the other hand, takes hot dogs to another level with bacon-wrapped hot dogs topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, and jalapenos. Stuff everything in a steamed bolillo roll for a hearty Sonoran dog.
In the South, hot dog toppings typically include some combination of chili and slaw made from either red or green cabbage. Another local favorite in northern Georgia is a scrambled dog. This dish, made from chopped hot dogs topped with chili, onions, pickles, and oyster crackers, requires a knife and fork to eat.