A Hot Dog from Across The Border – Not to be Missed

What pops into your mind when you hear Mexican food?  Tacos? Nachos?  How about “hot dogs”?   Now the hot dogs that I am talking about are not like the ones you get at Nathan’s Famous or Pink’s.  Hot dogs from just across the border from Arizona are a new taste treat.
 
Over Spring Break earlier this year I decided to get some sunny, warm weather in Phoenix, Arizona. While there one of my goals was to attend a Cactus League baseball game in Phoenix, and eat a hot dog with the standard toppings.  I watched Seattle play Arizona, and had a fabulous time.  But, I had one other goal during my Arizona trip, and that was to try a “Sonoran Hot Dog”.  But for that adventure, I had to travel about 2 hours south of Phoenix to Tucson.  Some enterprising Mexicans brought their version of the hot dog to Tucson several years ago, where it has received rave reviews; check Yelp.  The restaurant, El Guero Canelo, who brought the hot dog to Tucson, was started by the Contreras family in 1993.  It is in a very unassuming building, and looks more like an outdoor concession stand that you would find at the PNE, except that it has a roof over the seating area.  People from all ages were lined up for their Sonoran Hotdog while I was there.  In fact a ladies baseball team just arrived after me, and they looked very hungry.
 
El Guero Canelo in Tucson

El Guero Canelo in Tucson

What makes this hot dog different from the one you can buy at a baseball game here in Vancouver, or elsewhere?  For El Guero Canelo there are 4 components: 1) they use a Mexican bolilo bun which is soft and has some sweetness to it, and makes a nice pocket for the hot dog and condiments, 2) the hot dog itself is wrapped in bacon then grilled or pan fried, 3) beans, mayonnaise and mustard are added by the cooks, to which you can add other condiments, and 4) it is accompanied by a grilled jalapeno pepper on the side.

 
The beans were boiled, but do not have any syrupy sauce as you may imagine from a can of pork and beans.  They are also not mashed or refried, but gives weight and texture to the hotdog.  The combination of the sweet bun, the crunch of the hotdog and bacon, the creaminess of the mayonnaise, and tartness of the mustard made a wonderful flavour combination and made me have to go back and order a second hot dog.  The jalapeno pepper, which you may think would be quite spicy was very delicately smoky flavoured, and not hot at all unless you decided to eat the seeds located at the stem of the pepper.
The Sonoran Hot Dog

The Sonoran Hot Dog

 
This Sonoran hot dog has inspired me to try making them this summer on my patio, introducing the South of the Border flavours to friends and family, and trying some condiments that I would not have thought of before, like beans and salsa.  I have not checked around Vancouver for bolilo buns, but I think Filipino Pan de Sal buns may work in a pinch, or use a regular hot dog bun.  Give these hotdogs a try.  It might be yours and your family’s new favourite summer treat.  Here is a recipe for Sonoran hotdogs from Food.com.  Enjoy!
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