Throw a hot dog on the grill, stick it in a bun, slather it with ketchup and mustard and relish and you’re golden, right? Not so fast. The best hot dogs in Austin aren’t your run-of-the-mill franks—there are endless incarnations of this delicious treat. Once you’ve finished making your way through the best burgers in Austin and have eaten at all of the best BBQ restaurants in town, continue your meaty travels through our list of favorite hot dogs (then follow it up with a trip to one of Austin’s best ice cream shops). With a creative variety of offerings in our gluttonous city, you’re certain to find one that’ll satisfy your cravings.
Best hot dogs in Austin
Nothing comes close to sitting in Wrigley Field watching the Cubs with a hot dog done-up Chicago style—an all-beef dog smothered in relish, mustard, onions, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and hot peppers. But if you can't make it to Chicago, Chi-Town works just as well, where we heartily recommend the Chi-Town Classic or the Georgia Slaw Dog (yellow mustard, chili, house slaw). Be sure to get the Italian ice for dessert.
From artisan sausages to an unbelievable chili cheese dog covered in Fritos to vegan and gluten-free options, Frank is an emporium devoted to all things hot dogs. You’ll find exotic offerings in their artisan section, like the Jackalope made with smoked antelope, rabbit and pork; more traditional picks exist with options like the chili cheese dog or Chicago dog. Check out the daily specials and try the Lil’ Smokie Corn Dog Bites—kids love ’em.
Food trucks abound in Austin, and T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs is one of our favorites. For a true Tucson-style hot dog (aka Sonoran), you can’t beat links wrapped in bacon, topped with beans, tomatoes and jalapeños. The chili cheese dogs with beef chili, sharp cheddar cheese and onions are also solid. Check out these flavorful Sonoran dogs at the Long Center on Trailer Food Tuesdays.
The Evil Wiener is devoted to cooking their dogs without rules. All of them are 100-percent beef, with playful names like La Revolucion and Colonel Klink. If you’re into heat, then The Green Dillo is the way to go—a jalapeño-spiced beef sausage, chicken fried and covered with poblano cream gravy, shredded cheese and green onions. Check the food trailer’s website for daily locations.
Raunchy jokes aside, Doggie Style has been described as a “vegan junk food heaven.” Located in the South First Food Court, this food trailer exclusively offers vegan hot dogs, all delicious and house-made. We recommend the Jon Stewart with sauerkraut and Russian dressing served on a sesame seed bun.
The hot dogs at Dai Due, a butcher shop and supper club on Manor Road, are for true connoisseurs who can appreciate venison links served with kimchi mayonnaise and fresh chilies, plus sausages made from wild boar and served with grilled onion, refried beans, radish, cilantro, queso and mayonnaise. Both of these unique variations are delicious and are served at breakfast and lunch. The menu changes daily, so call ahead to make sure they're available.
Although they’re more known for hamburgers, Shake Shack has some of the best hot dogs in town (and because their menu includes dog treats, you can enjoy your dog with, well, your dog). The kitchen is gluten-free and the franks are 100-percent, all-natural Vienna beef served on a healthy non-GMO potato bun. We recommend the Shack-cago dog with a side of cheese fries. Be sure not to miss their frozen custard—it’s the real deal.
This Austin pub reminds us of Cheers—a neighborhood bar and gathering place where everyone knows your name. If you love your hot dogs served alongside a cold beer, this spot is your jam—they have 30 beers on tap, so one will almost assuredly go with your Black Sheepdog, Chicago dog, chili cheese dog or even a vegetarian smart dog. Check their website for weekly specials.
Baseball and hot dogs go together like Rainey Street and bachelor parties, and the Dell Diamond has—count ’em—six restaurants serving a variety of dogs for everyone. Most feature owner Nolan Ryan’s all-beef franks, many served with a twist. We recommend checking out the signature grilled cheese dog at the Coop and Kennel Pub and the James Dean Dog with blue cheese slaw at Fairlane’s Diner.
Austin’s nod to the German beer garden offers more than 30 sausages and 100 beers—plus it’s canine friendly. Their classic hot dog is made of beef and veal and is mouthwateringly delicious. Check out the Sunday Brunch where you can sample the hot dog along with craft beer and other signature specials, including a selection of homemade sausages. Oh yeah, and the giant Manmosa made with orange juice and a liter of champagne.
The bacon-wrapped hot dogs at Mission Dogs combine two guilty pleasures (bacon! franks!) and are served with an Asian twist: exotic toppings that include papaya slaw, wasabi mayonnaise and sesame miso sauce. Plus, the fresh cut garlic fries are to die for. Delivery and catering are available, and you can check their website for their truck’s location in addition to the permanent brick and mortar spot.
With 12 different signature hot dogs at Lucky Dog, it’s pretty difficult to mess up your order. If you like sauerkraut, opt for the Kraut Dog or the Maxwell Street Polish. They serve two versions of Chicago-style dogs and offer a build-your-own option, and they also deliver and cater if you’re looking to throw a solid picnic for your family and friends.
This joint became legendary when it was featured in the ATX-based movie, Dazed and Confused, and fans continue to flock here for the best corn dogs in Austin. The corn dog is listed as a side and is a bargain at a mere $2.29, but we can’t resist their Top Dog offering as well—an all-beef frank covered in mustard, onions and chili. It’s worth it to try both of them. Top Notch is open seven days a week and offers curbside service as well.
You can’t really call yourself an Austinite without having visited Shady Grove at least once, so why not check out their world famous, chili-topped Bad Chili Dog? Add a side of mixed rings and fries and you’ll be noshing on an Austin classic. Get there early enough on Thursday evenings from April through September, and you’ll be able to experience a free show with some of Austin’s best musicians while enjoying your hot dog.
Sunday is the day when the Little Longhorn Saloon, a classic Texas honky-tonk known affectionately as Ginny's, offers a free chili dog buffet along with $2 Lonestar beer, chicken shit bingo and live music. Chicken shit bingo draws huge crowds, so hit the buffet while you wait. It’s a happening place that’s been part of keeping Austin weird for more than four decades.