Local restaurant El Guero Canelo (Guero is pronounced: weh doe) has been getting a lot of attention lately – due to the increasingly popular Sonoron hot dog. Take a look at when it gets visited by Travel Channel’s Man v. Food in this video.
By the way when you watch that video, I love the shot of “The Old Pueblo, Tucson, AZ.” It looks like we are just a collection of about fifty structures in the the middle of the desert. Can anybody identify what they got a picture of?
Sonoran hot dog stands are often found here in Tucson, Phoenix, Nogales, Douglas, and Sierra Vista. Residents of these cities don’t have to drive far to find a cart or restaurant serving up these dogs. In Douglas, many city parks are regularly lined with hot dog trucks. Here in Tucson, we could quite easily have over 250 hot dog stands serving Sonoran hot dogs. These stands are also popping up outside of Arizona, from New York to San Francisco. In comparison, they make chili dogs seem bland and boring.
These little babies are thought to date back to at least the 1960′s, but didn’t become more mainstream until the 1980′s.
The basic make-up of a Sonoran hot dog is a bacon-wrapped hot dog shoved into a soft Mexican roll topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno sauce, cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. They usually come with a roasted chili on the side – sometimes even with roasted green onions.
There are many variations and these hot dogs continue to evolve. It is rumored some Tucson vendors have even started topping theirs with crumbled potato chips. In Mexico, the variations become more elaborate with the option of chorizo, sour cream or crema, avocados, pineapples and more.
Some stands here in town use regular hot dog buns. However, many feel the roll is important for the true taste experience. Usually it’s a Mexican bolillo roll (pronounced: bo lee yo roll), that is sometimes steamed to make it extra soft and fluffy or it’s toasted. The roll is so soft and fluffy, sometimes they seem to go down like cotton candy.
Of course you don’t have to go to a hot dog stand, these dogs are really easy to make. I once served them to a large crowd for my son’s birthday party at a park ramada. We just grilled the bacon-wrapped dogs and had pre-chopped and prepared toppings ready to go. It was cheap and easy.
Sonoran hot dog recipe
- Get a beef hot dog and wrap it like a mummy with bacon. Mesquite bacon is good.
- Fry it on a griddle until the bacon gets crisp. Some people like to fry the bacon a little first and then wrap it around the hot dog and then fry them both in the bacon grease.
- Take a hot dog bun or bolillo roll that has been slit to make a pocket in the middle. If you want you can toast them a little or, in the case of the bolillo roll, steam it for a minute to make it soft. Work with what you have on hand or what you feel like.
- Put mayo, mustard and ketchup on the bun and insert the bacon-wrapped dog. If you want to squirt the mayo on top, like they do at the stands, mix it with a little lemon juice or water to thin it out. Put it into a squeeze bottle or sandwich bag with a corner cut off and squeeze it on top when you are done, along with the mustard and ketchup.
- Add warm pinto beans, cheese (shredded Mexican cotijo cheese, cheddar, whatever), chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, sliced or blended jalapenos or some type of jalapeno/green chili salsa.
- “Just stick whatever you want on there, and whatever amount, to make it taste good.” (You hear this talking to many Mexican cooks)
Roast a chili pepper to go on the side and have some cold coke ready (even better if in a glass bottle) for the complete experience.
If you don’t feel like cooking, take a trip to a Sonoran hot dog stand. Yesterday my sister and I had lunch at El Guero Canelo on the southside on 12th avenue. It was her first time there. She had been fearful of trying them for some reason. One bite and she was hooked. She was also amazed by the price. She got a Sonoran hot dog, chips, salsa, bottled water, grilled onions and jalapenos, and a buffet of salsa and veggie condiments for around 4 bucks. I got a Sonoran dog, a large quesadilla, a diet coke, a bottled water, onions, jalapenos, and the salsa/veggies for about 8 bucks. The hot dogs were on special yesterday for under 2 bucks each.
Here are some pics. Ordering can be confusing, but after you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake:
Sonoran hog dog from El Guero Canelo on 12th Avenue
Roasted green onions, chilis and other condiments
Ordering can be confusing. You order at one of these windows and get your drinks.....
You pick up cooked food items at this window - except for the hot dogs. I love the sign "Do not forget your hot dogs. We are not responsible anymore." haha
You get your hot dogs from the hot dog cart.
You stroll out to the condiment bar and get your veggies and salsas. The roasted onions and peppers are to the far right and covered. In the meantime listen for the order number to be called in both English and Spanish.
From what I’ve been told, this restaurant started as a simple hot dog stand and was added onto. You are kind of sitting outside, kind of not. You’ll have to go to know what I’m talking about. I told my sister it wasn’t hard for me to imagine the place on the beach in Rocky Point. I closed my eyes and imagined hearing the surf. Then I gulped down my dog.