The Most Expensive Hot Dogs in America

A brief history of the arms race to craft the fanciest wiener in the country.

  • expensive
  • Name: The "Boomstick"

Cost: $26

Where it came from: Rangers Ballpark, Arlington, TX

What it is: Waving the flag for bank-breaking ball park franks, the Texas Ranger's $26 three-pound behemoth is smothered in chili, nacho cheese, jalapenos, and caramelized onions. It's the type of thing Frank Liberto would love. Is it the most expensive hot dog ever? No. But, it is the priciest one you'll find at an MLB stadium. (Photo:
  • Name: Foot-Long Haute Dog

Cost: $69  

Where it came from: Serendipity 3  

What it is: In 2010, the Guinness Book of World Records named this black truffle and foie gras-covered footlong the world's most expensive wiener. For Serendipity 3 owner Stephen Bruce, it was just another stunt of several high-ticket food plays. The extravagant frank, dubbed "Serendipity's Foot-Long Haute Dog," was stuffed in a pretzel roll and sprinkled with white-truffle butter. Due to the Guinness interest, this dog set the tone for an arms race of big-spender sausages. (Photo:
  • Name: The K-O Dog

Cost: $80
  
Where it came from: Brockton Rox  

What it is: Brockton, MA, is the "City of Champions" for reasons beyond Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler. In 2011, the local Cam-Am League Rox baseball team celebrated National Hot Dog Day with a famously expensive frank, the K-O. Upstaging Serendipity, they put out a half-pound beef footlong that was deep fried and dressed with truffle oil, porcini dust, white truffle shavings, creme fraiche, caviar, and fresh roe. Hard to imagine fans snatching one up, but nonetheless the culinary stunt landed in the history books. (Photo:
  • Name: The Dragon Dog

Cost: $100  
Where it came from: DougieDog  

What it is: Inject a bratwurst with Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac and it immediately becomes more expensive. The liquor alone hits for around $2,000 a bottle. Drop some sliced Kobe beef and diced lobster on it, and the price of the dog rises yet further. Finish with tomatoes, truffles, and housemade hot sauce…you get the point. Dougie Luv spared no expense creating the Dragon Dog—and then he passes those expenses off on the customers who came to try it. (Photo:
  • Name: The California Capitol Dawg

Cost: $149.99  

Where it came from: Capitol Dawg
 
What it is: On May 31, 2012, Sacremento's Capitol Dawg broke the Guinness record for most expensive wiener with this 18-inch all-beef frank. The key ingredient? Swedish moose cheese costing $200 a pound. The other ingredients, far more pedestrian, added heft to the creation and a bit of flair—a cranberry-pear-coconut balsamic vinaigrette completed the robust flavor profile. (Photo:
  • Name: Hot Dog Mike's "the ONEdog"

Cost: $1,501 

Where it came from: Hot Dog Mike's
 
What it is: Sacremento's hot dog fame fell as fast as it came. Soon after Guinness bestowed the record, Mike Juiliano of Little Rock, AR, unleashed the $1,501 lobster tail and gold flake topped 1/4-pound ONEdog on his customers. Outrageous price? Hell yeah. Silver lining: Juiliano donated $1500 of each sale to a homeless advocacy nonprofit. (Photo:
  • Name: The 230 Fifth Dog

Cost: $2,300  

Where it came from: 230 Fifth  
What it is: Last summer, 230 Fifth upped the ante on bank-breaking hot dogs by announcing a $2,300 stunt on New York's club land. Think of every over-hyped, high-priced mook-baiting ingredient and, well, you can easily imagine this wild wiener. The dog itself was formed of 60-day dry-aged wagyu. Then it was piled high with Vidalia onions caramelized in Dom P, sauerkraut braised in Cristal, and a bunch of caviar. Those who wanted a taste had to order 48 hours in advance. A baller's dream dog. (Photo:

This week, we’ve celebrated the hot dog for its democratic appeal, and its unique ability to transcend class lines with its simple pleasures. But let’s be honest: The hot dog wouldn’t be properly American if someone hadn’t tried to make a ridiculously expensive version of it.

While hot dogs haven’t been fancified to the degree of burgers, which are routinely stuffed with wagyu or topped with lobes of foie gras these days, there are certainly haute dogs—like chefs Daniel Boulud’s lineup at Épicerie Boulud—that tip the price point past $10.

But what we’re talking about here isn’t the price creep on the humble tubesteak, but rather the stunt-oriented arms race to set the Guinness World Record for most expensive hot dog. The fact that many of the recent entrants to the list were unveiled during a an economic downturn tells you a lot of the psychology of the Outrageously Expensive Hot Dog—while selling some caviar- and truffle-laced tubesteaks to the uber-rich is certainly a plus, the reason restaurateurs create these monstrosities is as a PR stunt.

The priciest-frank record was broken as recently as last summer. What do you think the summer of 2013 has in store for the hot dog history books?

Click through the gallery above to see America’s most expensive hot dogs.

  • http://www.djjarak.tumblr.com/ DJ Jarak

    A $2,300 hot dog which people actually pay for? This is why America sucks.

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