Thursday, April 7, 2011

Best Hot Dogs in Utah / Top 10 Hog Dogs in Utah

Best Hot Dogs in Utah

- Revised 11 June 2015

Check out "Best Burgers in Utah," "Best Sandwiches in Utah," "Best Cheesesteaks in Utah," "Best Fish and Chips in Utah," and our OTHER FOOD REVIEWS at 

First, TOP 8 HOT DOG PLACES in Utah 
(followed by the next 7 best).

We've tried close to two dozen places that sell hot dogs, including gas stations, and these were the top ones by far.

HINT: For places that serve jumbo-size, quarter-pound dogs, we strongly recommend you have them slice the hot dogs down the middle, length-wise, and spread the two halves apart. That way, you don't have to eat it with too much meat in each bite for the amount of bun/bread around it. For that reason, we actually prefer eighth-pound, regular size hot dogs; but if you get them at Sportsdogz, J Dawgs, or Coneys (plus other jumbo-sized dog places further down the list, we recommend you slice them so the meat is not over-powering. Mooya Burgers ALREADY slices them per this recommendation.

1. (tie) Mooya Burgers, international chain. They now serve Nathans, so the beef dog alone jumped from a B- to higher. The in-house, fresh baked bun (our favorite around) and condiments that we always get make it sing: sauteed mushrooms, fresh onions, tomato, a little lettuce, their Mooya (fry) sauce, and sometimes, optionally, cheddar - that's it. (Without cheese is better for most of us.) They split the dog in half and make it like a sandwich, which works best so theirs is not too much meat in the bite, unlike most places that are too meaty with a jumbo dog. A

1. (tie) Sportz Dogs food truck, Utah Valley. Call them at 801-764-0463 to learn their schedule - usually at events and farmers markets and lunch weekdays outside companies like Vivent. They make a killer BBQ/teriyaki sauce (similar to J Dawgs, not as sweet, and better to some, plus a mustard garlic ranch sauce (we prefer the BBQ/teriyaki but it's worth trying both). They wrap their all beef dogs in a fresh scone! We recommend raw onions only at one end, and coleslaw at the other half, for the two best options. (We have found that for places not having tomato/onion/pickle/mushroom (like Mooya Burgers), just onions or just coleslaw make the best dogs, with either fry sauce - like Mooya's - consisting of half ketchup and half mayo - or brown sweet sauce like this place, J Dawgs, and Rocco's uses. They serve Nathans dogs. HINT: Have them slice the dog in half length-wise and spread the two halves apart, per the "Hint" above, so each bite does not have so much hotdog meat. A

3. J Dawgs, at 9th North and 7th East, Provo; in Orem across from Barnes & Noble, and now at A.F. and Alpine and soon to be SLC. It's an institution that got its birth at a small hut a few yards north of its current Provo location, with lines winding outside. (See the Review for Best Chessesteaks in Utah for a fascinating story on the guy behind the location of the original Italian Place at the current J Dawgs site in Provo.) The quality of the meat doesn't hold up (they really should use Nathans), but the sauce is amazing, and it's becoming an iconic dog because of it. Their buns are very good also, specially made by a local bakery just to their specifications. HINT: As with Sportsdogz above, have them slice the jumbo dog in half length-wise, and spread the two halves apart, so each bite is not overpowering with too much hotdog meat compared to the amount of the bun in each bite.
GRADES: The hot dog alone B, bun alone B+ (4th best after the above two and the one below): polish dog alone (spicy, but flavor not great) C+. We tested with kraut and banana peppers also.
a. dog with sauce in bun A-, plus raw onions A-/A
b. dog with sauce and kraut B+
c. polish dog with sauce in bun B-

4. Rocco's, Provo. the original Gandolphos. Their top dog rates this place #4, but only two other dogs are very good of the 7 we tried. They are now served on hoagi rolls - at least the night we tried them - rather than standard buns, and it works that way pretty well. Their "secret sauce" on several of their dogs is similar to J Dawgs.
a. Snoop Dog (tomato, pickle, onion, secret sauce) A-
b. Hound Dog (American cheese, secret sauce, eggs, bacon - although they served up ham, perhaps out of bacon or too lazy to cook it up; bacon would be better) B+/A-
c. Deputy Dawg (slaw, secret sauce) B+
d. Chicago Dog (relish, onion, tomato, pickle, peppers, salt, mustard; this could be better with fry sauce or only a hint of mustard, not as much as they or most places add) B+
e. The Mookie Dawg (kraut, onion, secret sauce) B-/B
f. Provo Bulldog (bacon - but the night we went it was ham, which is not as good - cheddar, onion, secret sauce) C+
g. Lucky Dog (pastrami, kraut, onions, mustard) C
h. they also have a chili dog and a giant breakfast dog, not tried yet.

5. Coney's, in Orem and American Fork and elsewhere perhaps. (In Orem it's west of Barnes and Noble.) Their secret greatness used to be they toasted the bun using real butter! But since early 2015 they switched to canola oil, which is one of the three most tasteless cooking oils. THEY WILL CUSTOMIZE IT IF YOU ASK THEM - BY GRILLING THE BUNS IN MAYO, rather than butter, which some chefs prefer over butter as you get a flavor that's good and a higher smoking point than butter (however real butter still tastes better). Nevertheless, grilled buns with mayo tastes much better than grilled buns with canola oil. Add a little ketchup or tiny amount of mustard to make it better. They now use Nathan's dogs - the best! However, if the dogs were reg. size instead of their current jumbo dogs, they would be better, in our opinion, as there is too much meat per amount of bun. HINT: have them cut their jumbo dog length-wise in half, and open it up butterflied style, like Mooya Burgers does their dogs. That way you get the right amount of meat per bite, along with the bun. Seems the dogs used to be smaller and, with the real butter they used, the overall ranking was higher. Now, it's a B. If customized per these suggestions, it's an A- and tied for 3rd or higher.

6. Salt Lake Bee's baseball park, SLC.  don't get the house dogs, get the ones from the privately owned stands.  They were there in 2009, and the Chicago Dog was amazing. B+

7. BYU stadiums. They too use Nathans. Buns are just OK. B+
Note: The closest actual Nathans hot dog stand to Utah we know of is at Sky Harbor Airport, Las Vegas.


8. Der Wienerstchnel, national chain. Only the new Chicago Big City angus all beef dog garners a B+ there.
The other two Big City Dogs get decent grades: L.A. gets a B and N.Y. a B-, while the beef dogs themselves get a B-/B. Their other dogs all get Cs and lower. Their regular dog gets a D. All the non-beef dogs rate a D. The polish sandwich gets a B- and the meat itself a B-.

9. Gandolphos, national chain started in Provo. They use the best meat - Nathans - but their buns need upgrading and they use too many condiments. Check out Mooya Burger for the right amount of condiments served. Rating on their 4 dogs:
a. Second City (a Chicago-style dog) B/B+
b. Traffic Jam (condiments plus cream cheese) B
c. Pastrami C
d. Coney Island (kraut) C-

10. O'Shucks, Park City (only the location at Gorgozia Pines Rd.) for hot dog with peanut butter. B

11. A & W, national chain. The taste of their dog seems to be Oscar Mayer Classic - a superior-tasting beef dog. However, they microwave it and the bun to prepare it. We prefer it with raw onions and ketchup among their limited condiments. B

12. Maverick stations, state-wide (also among better polish dogs, as well as BYU Stadiums/arenas, Mavericks and J. Dogs. B

The lower grade ones:

13. Crest stations C

14. Walkers stations C-

15. Sonic Drive-In. C+. Not bad in 2012. In 2013 they had gone downhill.

16. Chevron stations, reg. dog C

Polish Dogs
1. Sportzdogs B+
2. BYU Stadiums/arenas B+
3. Maverick convenience stores B
4. J Dawgs B-
5. der Wienerschnitzel B-
6. Chevron spicy Polish C
7. 7-11 Bahama Mama (polish) C

Best hot dog sauces
1. Sportzdogs
2. J Dawgs
3. Mooya Burger
4. Rocco's


a. Historical note about Der Wienerschnitzel: It was first on 1230 North (now called Bulldog Blvd) in Provo, across from the old Fox Theatre way back in the 60's, for old-timers who would remember it.

b. None of the gas stations we tried had great dogs; a couple were OK, a couple were horrible. We tried all we could find.


We've tested all 60 brands and varieties we've found in Utah stores since our dog tests began in 1995.  We've had parties of up to 18 people testing them, and these are the winners:
In our 30 Sep 2014 test, the order changed from Nathan'as as number one for over two decades to the following (these companies keep changing their spices apparently) as the top 2 have improved!

1. Oscar Mayer Select PREMIUM (free of nitrates!). Taste-wise, #1 easily with the added benefit it's the only one free of nitrates! (cancer-causing in many studies)

2.  Oscar Mayer Classic. all beef. Unfortunately, as with Nathans, it has nitrates (which are carcinogenic).

3.  Nathans.  The word has spread - so they're now everywhere.  Very pricey.  Retails for 6 bucks a pack but sometimes on sale for far less.  

4. Ball Park Angus.


1. Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa
2. Hillshire Farms Knockworst

These were the top two in the mid-90's when we first tested. But Nathans, Hebrew National, and certain Johnsonville's are great now too.

We've tried EVERY BRAND and EVERY TYPE we've ever seen sold in Utah grocery stores - about 60 in all, counting polish, knockworst, brats, and smoked sausages.

Top 3 Dog places now out of business; plus one other very good one:
The best 3 in Utah went out of business in 2014:

Curbside Chile Dogs, Provo
a. #1 chile dogs in state
b. #1 chile. (this one is really subjective, but this chile sings to us, and is very mild)
c. chile with corn chips
d. kraut dog with best kraut ever (homemade, very mild) (A -)
Note: Best chile dogs we've ever tried, and best kraut dogs ever - they make their own chile and kraut!. Their dogs are made to order for them out of state - the pork ones and the beef ones. Their pork ones are the best pork dogs we've ever had. Their beef dogs are not as good as the top 4 store-bought dogs listed below.

Their buns are steamed and are our favorites. While you're there, check out their chile-covered nacho chips! NOTE: Chile is subjective, and it happens to be the best for dogs we've ever had.

Kranky Franks, Springville
a. hot dogs, using Nathans A
b. polish dogs B

Hot Dog King, Provo
a. hot dogs B+
b. polish dog B

Also very very good, now gone:
The Joe Dog at Joe's Gourmet Burgers, Provo, 500 N. Freedom Blvd. Only $4. Comes with bacon, high quality cheese, and their secret caramel apple mustard sauce with all-beef frank. (Don't bother with their Hawaii Dog.) Their Chicago Dog is better than most. Their dog would rate an A+ if they used Nathan's commercial size dogs, the best of 60 brands we've tested in large parties, or Oscar Mayer premium or classic, which is a virtual tie with Nathans.

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