The best hot dog must have an all beef wiener, and a natural casing; the beef for flavor, the natural casing for snap when you take a bite. Not much else is important. OK, a few things more; a fresh bun, lots of mustard (yellow, never the brown stuff) and diced onions, but nothing else, I promise. OK, OK, maybe a kosher beef wiener for even more flavor, but no more, I swear.
The reality is there are hundreds of places in the States that serve the best hot dog, just ask their customers, and that’s my point; it’s kind of what your use to.
James Coney Island in Houston, Gene and Jude’s in River Grove outside of Chicago, the Varsity in Atlanta are only a few places loyal fans swear are the very best. (Interesting, because James’ are served with chili and the Varsity does not claim to serve an all beef wiener.)
Some think that a James Coney Island is better than a Varsity. Some believe the hot dogs served at the Superdawg, in Chicago are hands down better than those at Gene & Jude's in River Grove. If for no other reason than a Gene & Jude's are not covered with the traditional Chicago salad that includes a jalapeño. Personally I like the "salad" dog. Its not what I grew up, but what the hey, even an old dog can learn new tricks. Sorry, I had to say that.
If you have ever worked or lived in Rhode Island your hot dog is called a Hot Wiener, and because they are small side, one is never enough. A steamed wiener, nestled in a freshly steamed bun, covered with slow cooked chili (no beans, ever) with a hint of all spice, finished with chopped onions, yellow mustard, and a sprinkling of celery salt, that's a dog. Rhode Islander's think there the best, and we (me and my coworkers at Marshall Construction in Rumford, RI) sure ate enough of them.
I love them all. What else did you expect?
When I worked in Detroit’s New Center I walked into a hot dog place humming with lunch time business, waited in line to order, and when it was my turn, ordered a Coney Island with chili. The guy behind the counter yelled, “You want a bowl of chili?” I stammered a bit and said, “No, I want a Coney Island with chili”. The guy behind the counter, now a little redder, repeated in a heavy Greek accent, “You want a bowl of chili or not?”
Fortunately, things got sorted out, and I enjoyed a delicious hot dog in a steamed bun covered with chili, and finely chopped onions.
But I ask you; how was I supposed to know that a Coney Island meant by definition a hot dog with chili? Give me a break, I was from Seattle.