From Arizona, the fast-food star of the 21st century
Western Essential: The Sonoran Hot Dog
Alex Farnum
The Sonoran hot dog

Talk about tweaking the classics. The hot dog basics are here, starting with the beef frankfurter. But the bun is bigger, denser, swaddling the dog in a doughy embrace.

There’s bacon, and pinto beans and grilled onions, and a fireworks-burst of condiments: chopped fresh onions, chopped fresh tomatoes, jalapeño sauce, mayonnaise, mustard. Add a grilled yellow chile on the side and voilà, the Sonoran Hot Dog―aka the Mexican Hot Dog―which has risen to cult status in the Southwest.

It traces its ancestry to northern Mexico but attains perfection at joints like Tucson’s El Güero Canelo and Phoenix’s Nogales Hot Dogs.

“The idea makes you go, Oh my God,” says Pamela Hamilton, editor and publisher of Edible Phoenix. “But when I took visitors around Phoenix, at the end they begged me to FedEx them hot dogs in Cape Cod.”

Follow that dog

In Tucson: El Güero Canelo, 5201 S. 12th Ave. ($; 520/295-9005) and 2480 N. Oracle Rd. ($; 520/882-8977).

In Phoenix: Nogales Hot Dogs, 1945 E. Indian School Rd. ($; 602/527-0208).

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