Chef Mike DeCamp spends his nights leading the ultra fine dining kitchen at La Belle Vie — and his days off sampling the Twin Cities best encased meats. He contributed a fantastic, personal top hot dog list to Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s June issue, our Best of Summer. There are some great things in the magazine, including Steph March and my insider’s look at Tiki Bars, Pizza Farms, and exotic ice-creams, but DeCamp’s list was so compelling it compelled me to rush out and sample his suggestions—and then keep going. So here’s my own top hot dog list in the Twin Cities: 1). Butcher & the Boar Monstrously good! A foot-long, covered with tiny shoestring potatoes, mustard, peppers, pickles, cilantro—it’s a hot mess and so gooey good. Meaty, salty, tangy, spicy, diversely textural, this foot-long hot dog contains worlds! If you say you care about hot dogs but have not had Butcher & the Boar’s hot dog, you are leading a life of delusion! Go! But don’t wear a clean white shirt. Whatever you do. Just don’t. Also: Good news! Butcher & the Boar will be selling some of its sausages, including the smoked cheddarwurst and the beautiful jalapeño summer sausages with cheese, in grocery stores. They debut at Lunds and Byerly’s some time in June. Nice! 1121 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-238-8888, butcherandtheboar.com [caption id="attachment_1954" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Monstrously good foot-long hot dog from Butcher & the Boar!"]
[/caption] 2). Eli’s Food & Cocktails - Downtown Have you had the truffle dog? I am the metro’s number one detractor on stinky truffle oil—but the truffle salt use on this dog is judicious and smart. Mushroom leek confit, provolone, truffle salt—this is the weirdest, fanciest, great hot dog in town. Great wings and nachos too—Eli’s downtown might be the crown-holder for best dude food in the metro. 815 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-331-0031, elisfoodandcocktails.com 3). The Wienery If you care about hot dogs, you have to know about the U of M-adjacent spot The Wienery, which makes legendary Minnesota hot dogs, from the Hairy Brain (with mayo, cheese, and sauerkraut) to the classic Chicago, and beyond! But—did you know you can get any and all of these with a vegan tofu-dog as the star? Vegetarians, you are not left out of the hot-dog madness—and please note, the fries are the stuff of legend as well. 414 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-333-5798, wienery.com 4). The Depot Tavern, First Ave A hot-dog spiral wrapped with bacon, and then deep fried, is a Los Angeles classic—but do we have this hot pork-on-pork action in Minnesota? You betcha! The best is inside First Avenue, the legendary rock 'n roll club, and it's made with pepper bacon, served on a pretzel bun. Goes with a beer, and rawk! 17 N. 7th St., Mpls., 612-338-1828, thedepottavern.com 5). Chris and Rob’s No hot dog list would be complete without the classic Chicago dog, with sport peppers, green relish, and the works. The best in town? At Chris and Rob’s with three locations, in Fridley, St. Paul, and South Minneapolis. It’s just absolutely what it’s supposed to be, sweet, spicy, meaty—crazy. Chef DeCamp’s tip: Get a fire-Polish instead of the standard dog. That’s feisty! 7429 E. River Rd., Fridley, 763-571-0288; 603 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-228-9347; 3101 E. 42nd St., Mpls., 612-729-5507, chrisandrobs.com [caption id="attachment_1962" align="aligncenter" width="425" caption="Chris and Rob's Chicago dog."]
[/caption] So, what did I miss? I’ll confess that number six on my list was Natedogs, the dog so good it’s good plain . . . but I think I’ve been in a maximalist hot dog frame of mind. Check the magazine to find out where Mike DeCamp and I agree, and consider summer officially underway!