Sonoran Hot Dogs in Tucson

I’ve been to Tucson, Arizona probably twenty times, but only had my first Sonoran hot dog this year. And then I had another.

The Sonoran style hot dog is wrapped in bacon, placed in a soft and sweet Mexican bolillo roll, and topped with chopped tomatoes, onions, pinto beans, shredded cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and sometimes jalapeno sauce.  The roll is not cut all the way to the ends, and the hot dog is small enough to fit entirely inside, making a perfect container for the numerous toppings.

Our first was from El Guero Canelo, which started out in 1993 as a hot dog cart. Their building reminded us of an airplane hangar – spacious, lots of metal, very clean. We loved the fixings buffet, which featured giant grilled spring onions and grilled hot peppers, jalapenos maybe, that had our mouths on fire.

Sonoran Hot Dogs
Photo by Jeremy May

Our second was from BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs. It was a nice day so we took advantage of their outdoor seating.  Our order came with grilled peppers on the side. They also had a fixings bar which had an interesting roasted pepper salsa.

Sonoran Hot Dogs
Photo by Jeremy May

We washed down each of these hot dogs with horchata, which J cleverly noted is the Arizona equivalent of the classic Rhode Island gaggers / coffee milk combination.

Which was better? It was a close call! I very slightly favored the BK dog because the bun was sweeter and softer, and the dog was grilled perfectly – maybe it’s the mesquite they use. But I preferred the fixings and horchata at El Guero Canelo, and my dining companions preferred their hot dog. I recommend trying both and deciding for yourself.

2 thoughts on “Sonoran Hot Dogs in Tucson”

  1. Nicely done. I love a good Sonoran dog, those were one of the many joys of my work trips to Yuma.

    Also, if you ever find yourself mid-day on Highway 238 between Maricopa and Gila Bend, in the middle of nowhere (Mobile, AZ) is a woman who runs a hot dog cart. Bizarre (she apparently sells to people at the nearby railyard, otherwise, it’s a good 30 minute drive to anywhere), but really good hot dogs.

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