A Different Kind of Dog

Delightfully novel ways of enjoying our favorite frankfurter in and around New Orleans.

Regardless of their offal ingredients, it’s hard to deny the delicious nostalgia of a great hot dog. Just seeing an image of a frank slapped between it’s signature split bun decorated with zig-zags of mustard and (sorry Chicagoans!) ketchup is enough to elicit endless memories of springtime backyard barbecues with dad at the grill and mom dumping bag after bag of potato chips into a huge, never-ending bowl. The aroma is unmistakable, whether it’s pork or beef, and everyone has their preferred topping from mustard and onions to chili, sweet relish or dill pickles.

Though there’s a cannon of flavors and textures one expects – think corn dogs, chili dogs, Chicago dogs with mustard, tomatoes, onions and a pickle spear on a poppy seed bun – there’s a ton alternatives available encouraging you to shake your doggy dining status quo.

Okinawa Hot Dog at T-Swirl Crepes

For example, have you ever had a wiener-stuffed crepe? Bet you haven’t! Unless, that is, you’ve been to T-Swirl in Metairie. Recently opened on Severn across from Lakeside Mall, this Japanese street food crêperie got it’s start in New York and has since franchised with more than 30 locations across the country. Typically, Japanese-style crepes are made with wheat flour, but T-Swirl and its co-founder Jerry Lin have created and perfected a batter using rice flour, making for a gluten-free crepe which is as crispy and flavorful as its wheat-based counterpart. T-Swirl’s highly portable crepes offer lots of fillings of both the sweet and savory variety, but we’re talking dogs, right? Dive straight into their Okinawa Hot Dog filled with sliced, all-pork, Japanese wieners, carrots, cheddar, sliced red onion, red bell peppers, corn and banana ketchup. Don’t forget dessert! Their sweet crepes come in a small size – so for an additional $6.50 (all together under budget), you can add a mini-caramel Fuji apple with custard cream, whipped yogurt and granola.

Korean rice dogs at Mochinut

Another Asian take on the “all-American” hot dog, or corn dog rather, is the Korean rice dog. Though the trend hit stateside in 2021, it hasn’t really taken hold here in New Orleans. There was a pop up for a bit at Little Korean BBQ, but it just faded away. Now, with the recent opening of Mochinut (also on Severn) you can have a Korean rice dog anytime you want. Mochinut is a massive chain with over 100 locations in the US alone whose main focus is . . . well . . . the Mochinut – ie a donut made with mochi — a Japanese rice cake made from sticky rice that’s been pounded into a chewy paste. In addition to this incredible donut sensation, Mochinut also offers Korean dogs which are essentially like corn dogs, but dipped and fried in a rice flour batter. What’s even better are the many ways this simple recipe is expanded, with say the addition of crispy diced potatoes, a heavy dusting of sugar, fried ramen noodles, or even spicy Cheetos! Plus, the dogs (before being battered and fried) can be wrapped in cheddar, halved with mozzarella, or the dog can be replaced with mozzarella altogether! Frankly, is it really even necessary? While you’re there, you really should get a Mochinut, or three. You should always save room for dessert.

A New Orleans hot dog article which didn’t mention Dat Dog is really not a hot dog article at all. Originally opened inside an itty-bitty space on Freret Street in 2011, Dat Dog has become the name in hot dogs across the city and are known for their huge, juicy franks and bright orange and blue buildings. With a hefty array of toppings and several kinds of sausages, diners are able to mix and match to their stomach’s content, making this a popular spot for a big, affordable bite. Dat Dog also has several of their own creations regularly on the menu, and it’s always fun to check the specials for concoctions like their recent holiday dog with duck sausage, andouille sauce, cornbread dressing, and cranberry sauce.

Cajun Pork Dog at Cochon Butcher

Another dog more than worth its bark is at Cochon Butcher. Unlike most hot dog purveyors, Butcher makes everything in-house, including their porkalicious links! Called a Cajun pork dog, this meaty stunner is nestled in a pretzel bun and served with black-eyed pea chili and piled high with sauerkraut. With a side of house made potato chips and a frosty can of Huhu’s Ginger Brew, you’ve got a howling-good lunch.

Brasstown Beef dog at Turkey and the Wolf

Because of their versatility and relative affordability, hot dogs frequently pop-up at spots you wouldn’t expect, one only has to keep one’s eye peeled. Only a few months ago, Mason Hereford’s famed sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf offered a special dog sourced from North Carolina’s Brasstown Beef slow-cooked in chili and topped with American cheese sharing space in the Weiss Guys, split-top bun with a black bean tostada and sweet pickled jalapenos.

*Article originally published in the March 2023 issue of Where Y’at Magazine

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