Ever since a German gentleman named Charles Feltman debuted a “red hot” cart on the Coney Island boardwalk back in 1867 (and was eventually, enduringly succeeded by one-time apprentice, Nathan Handwerker), Brooklyn has been inextricably linked with hot dogs. And come summer, demand increases exponentially for the borough’s signature, beach and ballfield-friendly dish, which is why we’ve rounded up 10 of our very favorite franks.
Back in Brooklyn after 62 years, Nathan’s predecessor, Feltman’s, has been revived, recipe and all. They definitely threw down the gauntlet to their old adversary on Memorial Day, selling their Coney Island red hots at nearby Luna Park for a dime. But until they’re able to raise funds on Kickstarter for an actual brick-and-mortar, you can regularly find the grilled, mustard-slathered dogs (peddled for a more sustainable $2) in the backyard of Ditmas Park’s Sycamore.
Styling themselves as a (much) finer diner, the Hail Mary team sanitizes classic, greasy spoon fare like hot dogs (which they refer to as Porky’s Panchito) by stuffing a Bolivian-style sausage with corn salsa, inserting it in a house-made bun, and enveloping the whole shebang in shredded cheese. 68 Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint
The Hop Shop
If you intend to make a dent in Hop Shop’s roster of 100+ bottles and 14 drafts, you’ll want to steel your stomach with a couple of Brooklyn Hot Dog Company-sourced franks, such as smoked and uncured beef, pork, anise and fennel-infused “pepperoni,” and spicy chicken “buffalo,” flavored with vinegar, paprika and cayenne. 121 Columbia St, Columbia Waterfront District
Parked inside of Williamsburg’s Over The Eight Bar, this colorful truck serves up over-the-top, Venezuelan hot dogs like the Perro con Todo (a kosher frank topped with cabbage, cheddar, salsa, potato chips and optional avocado or bacon), the Zanahoria (a bun piled with pan-fried and seasoned carrot wedges, as well as the aforementioned condiments), and the Pan con Queso; featuring a stick of marinated white cheese, smeared with mustard and green guasacaca sauce. 594 Union Ave, Williamsburg
Brooklyn Hot Dogs
Have you ever caught a glimpse of this green-signed storefront, hunkered (for the last 16 years!) under Smith and 9th Street’s elevated F-line, and vowed that one day, you’d actually check it out? Here’s a tip; check it out. The husband-and-wife-owned spot dishes out smoky griddled dogs or hot Italian sausage, which can be drowned in chili and/or cheese, and enjoyed in the tranquil comfort of their secluded backyard. 14 9th St, Gowanus
Hard Times Sundaes
Media acclaim and interest in this Mill Basin-based truck (which we’d like to think was generated here) set it on the fast track to Manhattan; where it’s currently positioned inside of UrbanSpace Vanderbilt’s flashy food hall (not to worry, it also frequently makes pit stops throughout Brooklyn). And thankfully, owner Andrew Zurica is looking for a new home base in the borough as well, from which to serve not just stacked, smashed patty burgers, but deep-fried, natural-casing, bacon-wrapped hot dogs. 630 Flushing Ave, Williamsburg
2nd City Beef
We New Yorkers are justifiably proud of our position as America’s hot dog capital. Which means we’re confident enough to accept this Chicago-style, dragged through the garden entry from 2nd City Beef, featuring tomato, onion, pickles, yellow mustard and relish on a poppyseed bun. That said, the Windy City better not get any funny ideas when it comes to pizza. Smorgasburg — 90 Kent Ave, Williamsburg
Pescatarians will undoubtedly endorse the corn dogs at Bushwick’s boat-to-Brooklyn Sea Wolf; crafted from lobster, entombed in deep-fried breading, and striped with honey mustard. 19 Wyckoff Ave, Bushwick
This immense, al fresco BBQ joint makes use of a wood-burning grill as well as a smoker, to sear Karl Ehmer’s Queens-made, all-beef hot dogs, topped with pickled peppers, mac n’ cheese sauce, or ropes of hatch vinegar-drizzled pulled pork. 480 Union St, Gowanus
Corner of Vermont
There’s no better coupling for a maple creemee at Park Slope’s cozy corner of Vermont than a grass-fed beef, pork and bacon hot dog, deposited inside of a specially baked bun from By Brooklyn. And while they’re noteworthy enough to be ordered unadorned, they can be gussied up a la the Vermonter (with maple mustard, maple caramelized onions and maple sugar), or the German (mounded with hot or cold sauerkraut and celery salt), or smothered in house-made all-beef chili, and year-old Grafton cheddar cheese. 374 5th Ave, Park Slope
Feltman’s photo by Josh Cohen, Hail Mary and Santa Salsa photos by Kelsey Mitchell, Pig Beach photo by Louise Palmberg, 2nd City Beef photo courtesy of 2nd City Beef. All other photos by Jane Bruce.