The Hot Dog was first introduced to Mexico in the 1943 by a couple of American entrepreneurs who purchased a concession stand at the Plaza Mexico City bull ring. The entrepreneurs figured Hot Dogs were such a hit with baseball fans in America, they should be just as popular with bullfight fans in Mexico.
It is believed the bacon wrapped Hot Dog with all the trimmings began to appear in 1956. An unidentified Hot Dog cart in Mexico City's Parque de la Alameda began serving bacon wrapped dogs to employees of the newly constructed Torre Latinoamericana. At the time Torre Latinoamericana was then the tallest building in Latin America, and the fourth in height in the world outside New York.
Today you will find the Hot Dog all over Mexico, depending on the region you will see variances on the types of trimmings used and what the dog is called. In California I often hear the bacon wrapped Hot Dog being referred to as a TJ Dog, Tijuana Hot Dog, Street Dog, Dangerous Dog, and Dirty Dog.
I remember in Mexico back in the eighties sinking my teeth into my first bacon wrapped Hot Dog. Crisp thin bacon wrapped around a sizzling Hot Dog, nestled inside a pillow soft steamed bun, topped with ketchup, mayo, mustard, fresh chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped grilled onions, chile on the side, and paired with ice cold Mexican Coke in a glass bottle, sheer heaven!
If you have never had a bacon wrapped Hot Dog the execution is fairly simple. The Hot Dog itself is pretty basic, what really makes it special is the combination of toppings. The carts I frequent use Rosarita brand Hot Dogs and thin sliced bacon. Buns are usually Bimbo brand and should always be steamed. I have seen some vendors in U.S. grill the buns to a crisp but in my opinion the crisp texture should be provided by the bacon not the bun. It’s a matter of personal preference but cheese, or anything other then the essentials I described do not belong in the mix.
One of my favorite spots that has perfected the classic as I described is located in Ensenada just stumbling distant from Hussongs Cantina at the corner of 2nd and Ruiz. The cart is run by Yolanda, who has been serving up savory bacon wrapped Hot Dogs for 14 years.
This is a quick clip if you want to see the sequence
In the United States my favorite rendition of the bacon wrapped Hot Dog is without a doubt the Sonoran Hot Dog available at hundreds of stands in Tucson. The big difference in the Sonoran dog is the bread. The Sonoran Hot Dog is encased in a roll-like bread. The toppings are basically the same as I described above with an addition of jalapeño purée and beans. Some better known stands I usually hit in Tucson are Guero Canelo and BK Hotdogs.
Some spots in Tucson even pair each Hot Dog with a bacon wrapped Chile Guero.
So what about my hometown of San Diego? Well San Diego street vendors are virtually non existent, and the sit down places I have tried fall a little short(Sorry Lucha). Los Angeles has some great street vendors however its interesting now because the city has declared an all out war on bacon (See Video). Bacon is a potentially hazardous food,” says Terrence Powell of the LA County Health Department. I Guess it’s so good its illegal! Unless Baja bans bacon you will find me in Ensenada at the corner of 2nd and Ruiz. Where is your favorite spot?