Best Hot Dogs/Beef Franks available to public?

Joined May 2, 2003
Hey is starting to maintain is warmth and I have made my first batches of chili for the year.  But now, I need the perfect hot dogs to go with it.  What are your favorites?

I normally buy Farmer John (beef or pork weiners), Farmer John Dodger dogs (official dog of the LA Dodgers-footlongs), Hebrew National, and when I am lucky enough to find them, I absolutely LOVE Caspers.  But  I really want to find something new that I haven't tried before...especially BIG DOGS...quarter pounders or bigger.  What are your suggestions? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif
Joined Apr 3, 2009
I am a huge fan of Sabrett hot dogs but I cannot find them here in Seattle (born and raised in NY and CT) so now I buy Boars Head. I would recommend Sabrett but you have to have them shipped in. If I am buying a dog it has to have a real casing or no go for me.

Oh aslo I used to buy Red Hots in CT but can no longer find them, they are great too.
Joined Mar 21, 2008
Local store used to make coarse ground all beef that were killer. Haven't been able to find anything as good since they went out of business.
Joined Jan 30, 2002
Usingers, Usingers, and more Usingers (no, I'm not an emploee, owner or in any way, shape, manner or form connected with them - - just a consumer).  They're good (although I gotta admit that for my tastes, the skins can be a bit "chewy").
Joined Feb 13, 2008
A few thoughts:

If you like your dogs in casings with plenty of garlic and can deal with pork...  Ralph's (local Los Angeles supermarket chain), has some their own brand of "old fashioned" franks.  Not all Ralph's -- just some.  They're usually in the meat section, rather than the deli.  If you don't mind garlic, Ralph's are the mother lode.  Reasonably priced too.  Pork dogs.

Most of the Armenian markets and meat markets in "East Hollywood" have very good dogs.  Jon's which is probably the easiest for you to find, has good, but not great.  More mother lode and cheap cheap cheap.  It's worth driving into "East Hollywood" for a lot of grocery shopping.  "K-Town" adjacent, too.  FWIW, Armenian style dogs are very garlicky. stuffed in casings, and either pure pork or a mix of pork and veal. 

Dogs destined to be jochos are usually pretty good.  Check in a few carnecerias.

If you've got a favorite hot dog stand, they'll usually sell dogs in bulk.  Don't expect any fantastic bargains though.  Buying bulk that way usually isn't a lot different from retail.  There are a few good stands in the SFV.

A few delis sell Vienna Beef dogs -- those are pretty good.  I don't know if you can still get Wilno.  I can't recall seeing them in years.  I'm not sure where in the South Bay you are, but you might try calling one of the Santa Monica Delis or Juniors to see what they have and for how much.  Yes, Jerry's sucks but that doesn't mean they sell bad hot dogs (or does it?).    Otherwise, just wait until you make a trip to Art's, Brent's, Canter's or Langer's  and see what they've got in the case.  All beef.

Joined Apr 3, 2008
if you don't know, Hebrew National makes a foot long. I used to get my old chef to order them for me through the country club. A case of 30 would cost me about 36.00. Even wholesale they were over a buck a piece, you mentioned a family favorite with Caspers. We came out of San Francisco when I was a kid, but whenever we go visit, we track down a Caspers Hot Dog just a great dog with a good snappy skin. I hear Pinks is supposed to be good, they are down in LA, I know they use a natural casing and have a formula made just for them as far as the ingreients.I have heard people compare them to Caspers and vice versa. never had one though and don't know if they will sell em in bulk or not. best of luck
Joined Jun 10, 2012
Trader Joe's All Natural Uncured Chicken Dogs

If you like the idea of a low-cal, low-fat hot dog with plenty of protein, chicken dogs can be a great choice. 

You won't find any mystery meat in Trader Joe's Uncured Chicken Hot Dogs—just boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs. 

These dogs also contain flavorings like garlic, onion, and paprika. Each one has 60 calories, fewer than a medium-size apple. They've got 250 milligrams of sodium, 2.5 grams of fat, less than 1 gram of saturated fat, and 9 grams of protein.
Joined Feb 4, 2005
I found these on line while searching for bagel dogs,​ I was very angry at BJs this Christmas because they stopped selling Nathan's Bagel Dogs for their own pigs in a blanket which I hate. These are supposed to be Chicago hot dogs what ever that means but can they beat NY. they also have bagel dogs
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Joined Dec 23, 2000
"...supposed to be Chicago hot dogs what ever that means" 

Well, that means a lot!

The Chicago hot dog is a Vienna Beef all-beef, natural casing dog on a steamed poppy-seed bun which is combined with a very specific list of toppings to make The Chicago Hot Dog.  If any are omitted, it ain't a Chicago Hot Dog.  If you ask for Ketchup you will be asked to leave the store.

We take this matter very seriously.

Joined Feb 4, 2005
how about mayo, see it on king of queens. poopy seed rolls might be hard to find and they said to use a sweet onion everything else seams easy. I read the relish is just relish with some food coloring added but the only thing I never had is sport peppers? Received my order from Vienna today very nicely packaged, big cooler inside cardboard box
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
Chicago dogs - there is a Weinerschnitzel down in Midvale. They have Chicago dogs on the menu. A few blocks away is a place called Johnie Beef's. Someday I should buy a Chicago dog from each place and post a side by side photo, see if folks can tell which is which. Not only does Johnie Beef's have the best dogs in the valley, they have a killer Italian beef sandwich. Hot, wet, cheese and onions is the way to go. Wish it wasn't so far away.

Joined Apr 4, 2012
@MikeLM  --I think Emeril is overdoing it a bit on the yellow mustard. 2 TABLESPOONS? On each dog?

Also, there is the very special nature of that pickle relish Vienna makes. It's tasty but those very vivid, bright green flecks are a bit disconcerting. That color does not occur in nature and how it survives the pickling process doesn't bear much thinking about.

Still, a Vienna beef Chicago dog is the only dog for this former 30 year vegetarian. Unless we're talking (the gone and lamented) Hot Doug's. One of Doug's former employees has opened a hot dog place near me. Haven't been there yet. I can't think why. His fancy dogs (Kangaroo. Snake. Jack Daniels. Bison) actually interest me less than the Guiness brats.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Portillo's in Chicago is my go to place when I hit the city. It covers me for an Italian beef with peppers dipped. My wife and kids have good choices. And you can't beat the chocolate cake with frozen custard for dessert....... They sell a ton of Chicago dogs.......
Joined Dec 23, 2000

If you're a sausage enthusiast you have probably heard of or been to Randy Ream's Elburn Market; Elburn is about 45 miles east of the city, out Roosevelt Road if you want a nice drive in the  country, or out I-88 to Spring Green and up Illinois 47 if you are in more of a hurry.

His store walls are literally covered with framed awards for his sausages, especially his bratwurst. He does several varities of hot dogs, too.Absolutely everything he makes, though, is delicious!  We've been going out there to stock the freezer for 30 or so years.

Of course I realize  Gene's is very good too, and  a lot closer. I like his Andouille and have some of his "Alpine" double-garlic, double-smoked sausage but haven't tried them yet.

Joined Apr 4, 2012
Mike--Have heard of but never been to Rudy's. I live on the far north side of the city and don't own a car. Rarely make it out to any suburb. Gene's is a little less than 2 miles from my apartment and on a very convenient bus route, so I do go there. It smells like heaven.

There is also a very multi-ethnic market a block or so from the house of friends of mine, further along that same bus route. There is a large Bosnian population in the area as a result of the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. They have brought with them all kinds of smoked, mostly dried, meats and sausages which we enjoy often. Shamefully, I have never made it to the Romanian Kosher sausage place up in Rogers Park. it's not far but I never seem to be in the area when they are open. People I know rave about their meats.

I just ordered Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie book from Edward R Hamilton booksellers. They have (or had--not sure) it on sale for $9.95 a few days ago. They offer books at their sale prices until they run out, so if anyone is interested, it's worth checking their website.
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