Sigmund's Classic at Sigmund's
The folks at this Alphabet City storefront leave their franks in trusted hands—UES butchers Schaller & Weber—and focus instead on their own strengths, crafting a beautifully doughy, yeasty pretzel bun to complement the extra-juicy dog. House-made spiced sauerkraut and zippy Dijon mustard complete the tidy package. 29 Ave B between 2nd and 3rd Sts (646-410-0333). $4.
Vinh at Asiadog
This flea-market star opened its first brick-and-mortar shop in 2011, hawking Asian-inflected franks. The most successful of the bunch is the Vinh, which gives a Schaller & Weber wiener the banh mi treatment: The bun is smeared with pâté on one side and sriracha aioli on the other, then topped with a flurry of cucumber, pickled carrot and daikon, diced jalapeños and cilantro. 66 Kenmare St between Mott and Mulberry Sts (212-226-8861). $4.50, two for $8.
Classic at Bark Hot Dogs
Josh Sharkey is a trailblazer in the artisanal-wiener boom, and the simple Classic is the best showcase of his secret weapon: a snappy beef-and-pork dog made in Rochester, New York. Griddled, basted in smoked lard butter and nestled into a Pepperidge Farm bun, it doesn't need any extra flourishes to shine. 474 Bergen St at Flatbush Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-789-1939). $4.25.
15 Bite Brooklyn Diner All-Beef Hot Dog at Brooklyn Diner
You may need a friend to help you tackle this eye-catching behemoth. The oversize all-beef frank—it measures a whopping 15 inches—is griddled on the flattop and stuffed inside a massive bun, which you can pile high with sides of handcut fries and homemade slaw. 212 W 57th St between Broadway and Seventh Ave (212-977-1957). $19.95.
Van Dog at PDT
Phillip Kirschen-Clark (formerly of Vandaag) is the latest boldfaced-name toque to make his mark on this cocktail den's haute-dog menu. His Scandinavian-inflected creation is built around an all-beef wiener that's been pickled in apple cider vinegar. The tangy frank is balanced by coriander-scented sauerkraut, mustard greens and piccalilli (an English-style relish). 113 St. Marks Pl between First Ave and Ave A (212-614-0386). $6.
Andouille Corn Dogs at Peels
The state-fair staple gets an upgrade in this shareable snack. House-made andouille sausages are smoked and quartered, then deep-fried in a cornbread-like batter that traps the spicy juices of the meat. Grab the minidogs by their sticks and dunk them in zippy Zatarain's Creole Mustard from New Orleans. 325 Bowery at 2nd St (646-602-7015). $10.25.
Ditch Dog at Ditch Plains
A pair of classic comfort foods—hot dogs and mac and cheese—join forces to create this tasty monstrosity. Each order comes with two Sabrett dogs tucked into potato rolls and covered by a generous helping of mac and cheese, made with a gooey blend of Parmesan, Gruyère and American cheeses. The whole thing’s served atop a mound of fries. 29 Bedford St at Downing St (212-633-0202). $14.
Hoyt Dog at Mile End
This nouveau Jewish deli is best known for bringing Montreal-style smoked meat to the city, but it also makes its mark on a New York classic with its from-scratch hot dog. The griddled all-beef frank and the tangy sauerkraut are made in-house, while the thick, poppy-seed-studded bun is courtesy of Hot Bread Kitchen. Weekday lunchers can get the dog solo; at night, it comes with pickle relish. 97A Hoyt St between Atlantic Ave and Pacific St, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (718-852-7510). Hot dog $7, dinner dog $9
Chili Hot Dog at Old Town Bar & Restaurant
The unfussy specimens at this venerable tavern still hold their own against the city's artisanal upstarts. Get the chili dog: A grilled and scored all-beef Sabrett is deposited on a butter-toasted bun along with spicy homemade beef-and-red-kidney-bean chili, diced onions and shredded cheddar, as well as a side of fries. 45 E 18th St between Broadway and Park Ave South (212-529-6732). $11.25.
Black Angus Dog with Pulled Pork at The Smoke Joint
The all-Angus hot dog at this Brooklyn barbecue house is deep-fried, grilled and stuffed into a toasted bun slicked with drawn butter. Swine-lovers can take it to the next level with a topping of pulled pork butt that's been smoked for 12 hours over maple and hickory. 87 South Elliott Pl between Fulton St and Lafayette Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718-797-1011). $5.
Original Hot Dog at Nathan's Famous
Tourists and tube-steak zealots make the trek to this Brooklyn landmark for a taste of hot-dog history. Established in 1916, the former 5¢ stand still does a roaring trade. The bun is flimsy, but in the end, it's just a vehicle for the chain-spawning wiener, which has a tight casing that gives way to a juicy interior. 1310 Surf Ave at Stillwell Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-333-2202). $2.95.
Recession Special at Gray's Papaya
Since 1982, this two-dog deal has served as the city's unofficial economic barometer, fluctuating in price through booms and busts. Currently pegged at $4.95, it's still a steal for the satisfying combo of two all-beef griddled dogs and buns—topped to your liking with gratis condiments like spicy mustard and sweet onion sauce—and a 14-ounce drink. Choose from Gray's iconic tropical quaffs, like papaya juice or a virgin banana daiquiri. 402 Sixth Ave at 8th St (212-260-3532). $4.95.
Spicy Redneck at Crif Dogs
The stoner-friendly offerings at Crif Dogs include this perennial top seller, featuring a bacon-wrapped dog, chili, coleslaw and pickled jalapeños. The crunch of deep-fried bacon gives way to a soft interior, and the mild chili sauce soaks into the bun, giving each bite an extra hit of meaty flavor. 555 Driggs Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-302-3200). $4.75.
DBGB Dog at DBGB Kitchen and Bar
The charcutiers at Daniel Boulud's downtown bistro work their meat-molding magic on this all-American frank, which is smoked, then poached until its skin is ready to burst. Pickles veggies and julienned radish add crunch, sauteed onions contribute a sweet-savory note, and a creamy sauce made with ketchup and Dijon is good enough to bottle. 299 Bowery at E Houston St (212-933-5300). Lunch $11, dinner $12, bar $10 (with beer).
Hot Dog at Dominick's Hot Dog Truck
Since 1959, Queens lunchers have been lining up for the old-school franks at this food truck outside St. John Cemetery. Get the boiled natural-casing Sabrett on a steamed bun with homemade spiced and sauted onions or punchy sauerkraut, and wash it down with a soda, in flavors like black cherry and cream, from 140-year-old White Rock. Woodhaven Blvd between 65th Dr and 65th Rd, Rego Park, Queens (no phone). $2.75.
Perro Mexicano at La Perrada de Chalo
This Colombian joint turns out Latin American--style hot dogs (with outr toppings like diced pineapple). Our favorite is the zesty Mexican, loaded with salsa verde, melted cheese, crushed potato chips and squiggles of ketchup, mustard and spicy mayo. 83-12 Northern Blvd between 83rd and 84th Sts, Jackson Heights, Queens (718-360-0977). Regular $3.35, super $4.25.
Shack-cago Dog at Shake Shack
Danny Meyer's fast-food joint brings Gothamites a taste of the Midwest with this Chicago-style snack. The Vienna beef dog is split and griddled on a flattop, then nestled in a pillowy potato bun. It comes fully loaded with toppings, such as pickled green sport peppers and relish from Lower East Side pickle-maker Rick's Picks. Various locations; visit shakeshack.com. $4.
Meat Hook Hot Dog at Smorgasburg
Williamburg's meat-cleaving all-stars fire up the grill on Saturdays to serve their superbly spiced beef-and-pork frankfurters, sheathed in lamb casing. You can add homemade coleslaw for an extra buck, but we think the plump sausages are best with nothing more than a warmed potato bun and a dash of hot sauce. 27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and the East River, Williamsbsurg, Brooklyn (718-349-5033). Saturdays only. $5.
Vegan Hot Dog at Westville
Vegans in the know get their soybean dogs at Westville, where the grilled faux franks pack a serious hit of smoke and spice. Order a single, or ante up for the special: two dogs with thick-cut pickle chips, fries, salad or one of the eatery's seasonally driven sides, like sauted kale with shallots. 173 Ave A at 11th St (212-677-2033) * 210 W 10th St at Bleecker St (212-741-7971) * Single $3.50, special $11.
Coneys at The Whiskey Brooklyn
There's nothing artisanal about these sloppy Coney dogs, smothered in mustard, pork-and-beef chili, sweet onions and nacho cheese sauce. Available nightly until 2am, they're the type of junky indulgence that's best enjoyed with a few jars already sloshing in your belly. 44 Berry St at North 11th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-8444). Two for $7.