8 Must-Try Hot Dogs in Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  June 9, 2015

They're a summer-day staple: hot dogs. And though they're not generally regarded as fine cuisine, we found dogs around town that have us howling with delight. From chef-driven spins to simple, shack-served classics, here are a few of our favorites.

  • Pigs in a Blanket at Bukowski Tavern

    Chef Brian Poe has slightly tweaked the game dog trio that greeted guests when he reopened Bukowski Tavern back in January with a new look and elevated menu. At the time, they were served in mini-buns (as originally pictured). Now they're encased in puff pastry (even better!), but inside you'll find the same three unique dogs: alligator smoked sausage with cilantro creamed corn sauce, bison with a Sriracha ketchup and jalapeño Dijon, and venison with a relish of chervil, basil, cucumber and tomato.  

    1281 Cambridge St., Cambridge; 617-497-7077

  • Brondog at Bronwyn

    Chef Tim Wiechmann recently added the smoked Brondog ($10) to the menu at his Somerville German restaurant, and it's already made a Travel + Leisure roundup of America's Best Hot Dogs. Made from pork and beef, it's nestled in a house-baked potato bread roll crusted with poppy seeds, slathered with sauerbraten (vinegar-marinated brisket, ground and stewed with paprika and tomatoes) and topped with sauerkraut and melty Emmenthaler. On the side: homemade paprika chips.

    255 Washington St., Somerville; 617-776-9900

  • G Dog at Griddler's

    ​In March the burgeoning local burger brand moved into a Boston Common-side spot and rebranded itself with a refreshed look and improved menu under former City Landing chef Bill Brodsky, now the chief culinary officer for Boston Nightlife Ventures (the same team behind Tap Trailhouse and Wink & Nod). It now has an A-grade G Dog, a quarter-pound all-beef frank inside a toasted bun — enjoyed on its own, or loaded with extras like chipotle beef chili, cheese sauce and jalapeños. Incidentally, don't miss Tap Trailhouse's Noble Dog either; that tasty beef dog is poached in brown sugar and the restaurant's house brew, Freedom Trail Ale, and served with a side of Boston baked beans. 

    204 Cambridge St.; 617-973-0480

  • Credit: Michael Piazza

    Kirkland Dog (and "Top Hot Dog" series) at The Kirkland Tap & Trotter

    Chef Tony Maws turned Craigie on Main's "Craigie Burger" into an off-menu legend that surveyors have ranked as Boston's best. So when he opened Kirkland, it was inevitable he'd do the same with a hot dog. Offered in limited "first come, first served" numbers, it's a delish dog of pork shoulder and grass-fed beef chuck, served on a pretzel bun and Maws-made mustard and relish. And this summer Maws gave us a new reason to try it: his "Top Hot Dog" series which will see different chefs stepping into the Kirkland kitchen to create a unique combination of toppings and condiments. Four dates and chefs have been set for the series; each chef will be present on one night, with their hot dog creations will continue to be available each Monday until the next chef’s appearance. Last week things kicked off with Ken Oringer (Clio, Toro) and his "Japanese Ball Park Street Dog," topped with kabayaki sauce, ramp kimchi, Kewpie mayo, bonito, sliced scallions and nori chiffonade; you can still find it on Monday, June 15 and 22. After that comes Matt Jennings of Townsman on June 29; Karen Akunowicz of Myers + Chang on August 3; Jody Adams of Rialto and Trade on August 31. Bonus: diners will receive a punch card, and those who eat all four dogs will be entered in a contest to create their own, which will be featured as the menu's October pick.  

    425 Washington St., Somerville; 857-259-6585

  • Credit: Wayne Chinnock

    Hot Dog & Champagne Pop-up at Menton

    This might be the greatest idea of the summer. (And it's one of 30 Things we think you should eat before the season is over.) Chef Scott Jones recently added a foie gras frankfurter to the menu at Menton, restaurateur Barbara Lynch's luxe Fort Point destination. But he's taking things to the next whimsical level on June 11, when starting at 9 PM Menton will host its first "Hot Dog & Champagne Pop-Up," pairing creative interpretations of the hot dog — including that foie gras frankfurter — with small-grower champagnes. File under: high-low happiness. 

    354 Congress St.; 617-737-0099

  • Sapporo-Soaked Ma Po Dogs at Shojo

    Think of these as chef Mark O'Leary's Asian-inspired spin on a typical summer-ready corn dog: a late-night offering of beef franks braised in Sapporo beer, ginger and garlic, then wrapped in nori and encased in a steamed buns. In the bowl? A spicy ma po tofu "chili" sauce.

    9 Tyler St.; 617-423-7888

  • Hot Dog at Sullivan's Castle Island

    There's nothing wild or fancy about the dogs ($1.80) served at this seasonal seaside shack, which opened back in 1951. The natural-casing dogs, made especially for Sully's by Kayem, are perfectly grilled and tossed into a toasty bun. Order it "all around" to get it topped with mustard, relish or onion.

    2080 William J Day Blvd., South Boston; 617-268-5685

  • Dog of the Day at Trina's Starlite Lounge

    Another day, a different dog at this Somerville spot, which never seems to run out of creative ways to make a good thing better; take one recent permutation seen here, which was topped with creamed corn, melted cheddar and chipotle aïoli.

    3 Beacon St., Somerville; 617-576-0006