The hotdog is one of the easiest foods to find, eat and enjoy. A hotdog makes a quick meal during an airport layover, a tasty snack with a few beers at the game, and a universally pleasing cookout option. The convenience store 7-Eleven sells about 100 million dogs a year. Wieners are prime for personal customization with a slather of ketchup, a dollop of relish, a sprinkling of onions, or any combination of the above.Lately, hotdogs have risen in the food world, dressing up in gourmet ingredients, wearing the cute label of “haute dog.” Celebrity chef and professional traveler Anthony Bourdain deliberately hits every possible hotdog stand on his extensive journeys; he’s sampled dogs in Japan, Iceland, Canada, Sweden and Chile. The versatility of the humble hotdog is kaleidoscopic and everlasting—from grilled to fried, steamed to broiled, it’s a blank canvas for the condiment-crazed.We discovered eight great takes on the dog in our own back yard, from comfortingly traditional to excitingly avant-garde. CHICAGO-STYLE HOTDOG Bruno's Chicago DogsChicago-style hotdogs have a righteous reputation, and any Windy City citizen will tell you that Chicago style is the best way to serve a dog—that is, with relish, onions, yellow mustard, dill pickle, tomatoes, peppers and celery salt. Adding ketchup is an unequivocal sin, punishable by extreme disdain. Bruno’s serves its eponymous Chicago dogs from a mobile cart and a makeshift seasonal stand. The dog is generously crowned with the appropriate condiments and nestled in a soft steamed poppy seed bun. Create total hotdog mayhem for a few extra coins and add a dollop of mild chili and cheese. This is a seasonal offering; you can find Bruno’s at the Edina farmers’ market Thursdays 3–7 p.m., or Saturday and Sunday noon–6 p.m. in Centennial Lakes Park. Grab a righteous dog and chill with the paddleboats and lawn bowlers. $3.50. 7499 France Ave. S.; 952.833.9580; centenniallakespark.com SAUSAGE ROLLS WITH MUSTARD CREAMGeorge & the Dragon PubA sausage roll surely counts as a hotdog, especially considering that the earliest versions of the hotdog were precisely that: sausages wrapped in some kind of bread. At George and the Dragon Pub, this configuration of dough-wrapped meat is served as a hearty appetizer. The sausage meat is finely ground, more hotdog than sausage in texture, and mixed with 2 Gingers whiskey-soaked Irish oats. The encasing pastry is admirably flaky; a warm and creamy whole-grain mustard dipper is a delicious, if superfluous, accompaniment. $7. 813 W. 50th St., 612.208.1047; ganddpub.com THE MUNICHPeoples Organic CaféHotdogs have been “discovered” by the foodie set; People’s Organic offers a sophisticated, novel spin on the dog with the Munich, a spot-on combination of grilled Schultz Organic Farm chicken sausage, tangy sauerkraut, stone-ground mustard and apples on toasted-to-order rye. Everything here is organic, local and fair trade; a gluten-free version also is available. Creative interpretations of old classics are both taste bud-tickling and conscience-friendly. $11. 3545 Galleria; 952.426.1856; peoplesorganic.com SMOKED CHEDDAR POLISH SAUSAGE Tollefson Family PorkYou can only get these at area farmers’ markets, so grab ’em while you can. Some happy, well-fed, drug-free pigs frolicked in Gaylord, Minn., before sacrificing themselves to the Tollefson’s for our gustatory pleasure. You can buy whole raw links to grill at home or get a cooked-to-order treat to munch on as you peruse the valleys of zucchini and sweet corn. Either way, we defy you to resist the smoky-porky aroma that graces the scene. Our favorite is the smoked cheddar polish sausage; it’s a bit sweet, nicely tangy and a hefty bronzed beauty to behold. We recommend pepper, pickles and brown mustard from the adjacent condiment bar. If you choose to eat it sans adornment, watch out for sizzling spurts of sausage juice. Edina farmers’ market, 3–7 p.m. Thursdays; $5.99 for a six-pack. Centennial Lakes Park, 7499 France Ave. S.; 952.833.9580; edinamn.gov SAUSAGES TO GOWhole Foods Market Step into Whole Foods for a veritable panoply of bun-worthy ground meats that await your deft cooking. Choose from 100 percent grass-fed beef, veal, chicken and turkey; tofu dogs are available in the packaged goods aisles. All meats are hormone-, preservative-, antibiotic- and nitrate-free. Whole Foods partners with the Global Animal Partnership, a nonprofit animal welfare program with its own rigorous rating standards; every dog and sausage at the market came from an animal raised in a stress-free, humane environment, which somehow makes each bite taste even better. Grill ’em up and lovingly snuggle them into a toasted buttered bun. $5.99–$8.99. 7401 France Ave. S.; 952.830.3500; wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/Edina CHILI DOGJason’s DeliIt is unfair that hotdogs are so often relegated to the kids’ menu; many a full-grown, red-blooded adult craves a tasty wiener too. Luckily, Jason’s Deli allows a bit of straying, so go ahead and order a hotdog off the kids’ menu here. We loved the no-nonsense, fresh and simple all-beef dog, served with apples, carrots, chips on the side and a drink to boot. We surrendered to nostalgia while gobbling up the soft white bun with lots and lots of ketchup. $2.99. 7565 France Ave. S.; $2.99. 952.358.9900; jasonsdeli.comCORN DOGConvention GrillOnce again you have to sneak onto the kids’ menu to get what you crave—in this case, an honest-to-goodness, state fair-worthy, toasty-hot corn dog. Those in the know cherish the corn dog’s mantle of golden-fried sweet corn batter; first-timers are in for a distinctive treat. The corn dog comes with piping-hot fresh fries; throw in a made-to-order creamy malted milkshake to complete the picture. The Convention Grill is a classic in its own right; founded in 1934, it’s a faithful embodiment of the quintessential American diner. Sit at the counter, watch the action in the open kitchen and pretend you’re in a time warp. $3.95; 3912 Sunnyside Rd.; 952.920.6881; conventiongrillmn.com SAUSAGE & PEPPERSBroder’s CucinaThe Tom and Molly Broder family learned how to cook in Italy with the revered chef Marcella Hazan in the 1980s, so you know that their fare is the real deal. They make their own Italian sausage, of course-both hot and mild-which figures in many of the menu's dishes. With sweet peppers, onions and pomodoro (tomato) sauce on rustic bread, the sausage makes a deliciously messy sandwich; consider it a hotdog via the Mediterranean Park. Park on the patio and eat it with a glass of vino and several extra napkins. $9. 2308 W. 50th St., Mpls.; 612.925.3113; broders.com
Review: Edina’s best franks, hotdogs and sausages
Summer’s best dogs, franks and sausages.