Eating while traveling is one of the most important cultural experiences one can do – so when we landed in Tucson, I just had to eat a Bacon-Wrapped Sonoran hot dog.
One bite of this delicious bacon-wrapped Sonoran Hot Dog and you will fall in love with the food scene in Tucson, Arizona.
Living in a foodie town such as New Orleans, I always get nervous that the food will not be up to par. On my most recent road trip from Tucson to El Paso, I was not disappointed in El Guero Canelo’s delicious Sonoran Hot Dog – Estilo Sonora.
The second we landed in Tucson, I knew I had to find the best place in Tucson to eat a Sonoran Hot Dog – it is even one of my top things to do in Tucson!
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Where to find a Sonoran Hot Dog Tucson
Yes, you heard me right – Tucson has hot dog wrapped in bacon, and it is called the Sonoran dog. There are over 200 food truck vendors, Dogeros, that sell Sonoran hot dogs all over Tucson, but I was able to track down one of the best in the city – El Guero Canelo.
Not only does this meal combine two of my favorite foods, but El Guero Canelo famous Sonoran Hot Dog won a James Beard Foundation Award.
This James Beard Award helped bring Arizona’s unique food culture to a national forefront. El Guero has three locations in Tucson and one in West Phoenix.
The History of the Sonoran Hot Dog at El Guero Canelo
The Sonoran Dog may seem like a great American Classic because it marries two of our favorite things. Many origin stories claim that The Sonoran dog emerged in the 1960s in naturally in Sonora, Mexico.
The recipe for such hotdog migrated up north once street food and food trucks became more mainstream in Tucson, Arizona.
Daniel Contreras, the owner of El Guero Canelo, opened his first hot dog stand in Tucson in 1993. That hot dog stand expanded to include three El Guero Canelo restaurants, a meat market in Tucson and a bakery and tortilla factory in Magdalena, Mexico.
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What is a Sonoran Hot Dog
Unlike regular hot dogs that you may find at the ballpark or in your hometown, a Sonoran Hot dog is an experience.
The hot dog is a frank, wrapped in bacon and grilled until it’s crispy. The frank is then stuffed into a large split top bolillo roll – typically found in Mexican bakeries.
The Sonoran dog has its traditional toppings of pinto beans, grilled and fresh onions, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and jalapeno sauce.
Even if you do not like one of the toppings – do not stray from any of the toppings for your first taste of the Sonoran Dog.
What to get at El Guero Canelo
The menu at El Guero Canelo is very basic with your choices are hot dogs, burros, caramelos, tacos, or tortas. From the looks at it, everyone loves on the menu, but the locals go crazy for The Sonoran dog.
The salsa bar at each restaurant is the best. It has a collection of the hottest roasted peppers you will taste, a few different types of salsas, cucumbers, and other various things to tide you over while the staff is busy cooking up your food.
Sonoran or Sammy Dog
The best thing to get on the menu is the Sonoran Style hot dog. If you want double the meat for an extra 50 cents, you can get the Sammy Dog.
Each hot dog has bacon wrapped franks, beans, grilled onions, fresh onion, tomato, mayo, mustard and jalapeno sauce.
Whatever you do, do not remove anything from the hotdog. I do not like raw onions, but there is something about this combination that truly knows how to meld the flavors together.
The signature bun is a large, fluffy bolillo roll custom baked in Contreras’ bakery in Mexico and brought up north to Arizona. Unlike a typical hotdog bun you may buy from the store, these buns are sliced right across the top, allowing for all of the toppings to stay in place while you eat it.
The bun is so large that getting the Sammy dog is the best way to ensure you are getting the right mixture of meat to bread to toppings combination.
When to go
With three different locations in Tucson alone, you can really go to this restaurant at any time to get yourself a Sonoran Dog. The restaurant is reminiscent of your typical fast food restaurant with the ability to get your food at the restaurant or to go there isn’t a bad time to go.
Where to get a Sonoran Dog Near Me
I had some difficulty locating a Sonoran Dog in New Orleans. The closest thing I could find is one of my favorite restaurants, Dat Dog – a local hot dog restaurant where you can build your own hot dog. But it did not have the uniqueness of bacon-wrapped hot dog or pinto beans.
Since I couldn’t find a Sonoran Dog in New Orleans (I’m still searching – supposedly Felipe’s had them in 2013, but I can no longer find them on the menu) I figured it would be nice to link to a Bacon Wrapped Sonoran Hot Dog Recipe.
Tucson to El Paso Road Trip
If we didn’t have to roll out to get onto the road to finish out Tucson to El Paso Road tripTucson to El Paso Road trip, I would have wanted to try some of the other places in Tucson to eat Sonoran Dogs.
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