Omnivore - Best Bets: Where to eat hot dogs in Atlanta right now
Wrecking Bar Brewpub, Doggy Dogg weiner cart, and more
- Courtesy Terry Koval
- MEAT POP: Wrecking Bar Brewpub's cheddarwurst corn pups
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yep, this exists) estimates that from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs - about 818 hot dogs per second. Another fun fact from the council: In 2013, Atlanta ranked among the top five U.S. cities with the highest overall hot dog and sausage consumption. Eating meat in tube form on a bun is a cornerstone of American culture. Now, at the peak of grilling season, it's a big part of Atlanta culture, too:
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Saying the phrase "best hot dog in Atlanta" in a group of food nerds is just asking for debates on things like natural casings versus skinless hot dogs, the merits of Chicago-style or New York's dirty-water dogs, and whether one should use ketchup or not. (Hot dog etiquette from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council mandates no ketchup after the age of 18!) But here in Atlanta, the acclaimed Barkers Red Hots in Marietta is always showered with praise. (Ahem: Barkers' Original Red Hot with slaw and Hot Texan sauce was named among CL's 100 Dishes to Eat in Atlanta Before You Die.) For 30 years Barkers has been grilling to order a mixture of beef and pork in natural casing over hardwood charcoal and topping them with hot sauce, chopped onion, and a dill spear. You can also opt to have your dog steamed, and there's a vegetarian version on the menu, too. Don't leave without trying crinkle fries washed in vinegar and fresh-cut sweet onion rings. 3000 Windy Hill Road, Suite B-6, Marietta. 770-272-0407. www.barkersredhots.com.
Over the last three years, former bartender James Hammerl has gained local fame thanks to his Doggy Dogg wiener cart, which can be found at Piedmont Park Green Market, Orpheus and Monday Night breweries, the Decatur Farmer's Market, food festivals, and events like ICE Atlanta. While every aspect of the dogs is sourced locally - from the all-beef Spotted Trotter sausages to the H&F Bread Co. buns to the pickled veggie toppings from chef Nick Melvin's Doux South Organic Pickles - Hammerl includes a few clever nods to global cuisine, as well. The German-inspired Doxie frankfurter is a luscious combination of smoky meat, crunchy and tart Spotted Trotter kraut, and dark ale mustard. For an out-of-the-box experience try building your own Asian-inspired dog with an all-beef frank, a sliver of pork belly, Simply Seoul kimchi, and yellow mustard. Follow Hammerl on Twitter @DoggyDoggAtl to find out where his clever wiener cart is headed next. www.doggydoggatl.com.
To quench your thirst for kitsch, quirk, and eccentricity - and egg creams and sodas and milk shakes - head to the Tudor revival building at the corner of N. Avondale and N. Clarendon roads in Avondale Estates. At Pallookaville Fine Foods, co-owner and Atlanta street food legend Jim Stacy has perfected the corn dog. The restaurant uses fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, and everything is cooked to order. First, pick your link (beef Corndogula, Italian Cornleone, or Kielbasa Corndogski). Next pick your batter: crispy cornbread, pepper, or cheesy corn dog. If you want to get real crazy, order a Fryinstein, a 14-inch monster corn dog made with three different meats. Pallookaville's nostalgia-inducing carnival food pairs well with the wacky decorations, including a signed Eddie Munster photo, a case full of Wacky Wobblers (Atom Ant!), and a wall that reads "RIP Creature From The Black Lagoon." 17 N. Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates. 404-500-1785. www.pallookaville.com.
Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Little Five Points is known for its superb craft beer, but this summer we're addicted to the corn pups. Three house-made cheddarwurst dogs on sticks are lightly battered in cornbread and served standing up, stuck in a board reminiscent of a frat boy paddle. The trio comes with the cutest, tiniest version of a Solo cup you ever saw, filled with swirls of curry ketchup and yellow mustard. Wrecking Bar chef Terry Koval recommends washing them down with the pub's new La Flama Blanca White IPA. The citrus and acidity from the hops cuts through the fat from the cheddar, while the fruity notes and yeast play well with the curry ketchup's sweetness. 292 Moreland Ave. 404-221-2600. www.wreckingbarbrewpub.com.
King of Pops' Hot Dog Days of Summer series is in full swing. Head over to the King of Pops HQ walk-up window in Inman Park Mondays, 5-7 p.m. (or until they sell out), for grilled sausages from local sausage maker Dingalinks. For 8 bucks you get your choice of sausage (pork, chicken, beef, or veg), a drink, chips, and, of course a K.O.P. pop. The menu changes weekly, but Dingalinks' dressed-up dogs are totally worth it. Keep an eye out for the curry-flavored Hip-Hip Curray; the Hot and Bothered, spiced with ghost chilis and scotch bonnets; and the Emperor, a classic pork sausage link served naked (with no clothes, get it?). For dessert, try an Earl Grey Plum pop or, if your mouth is still on fire from eating the Hot and Bothered, perhaps a cool, creamy avocado pop to mellow out the heat. 337 Elizabeth St. 678-732-9321. atlanta.kingofpops.net.