Ten Great Hot Dogs In Orange County

dirtywaterhotdog.jpg
Flickr user ktylerconk
The dirty water hot dog: New York's second-best contribution to street food after halal chicken and rice.
In New York and its suburbs, where I grew up, there is only one way to eat a hot dog: in a potato roll with brown mustard, sauerkraut, and the option of onions in a sweet red sauce akin to ketchup.

Sure, there were heretics who added ketchup, relish, and raw chopped onions, and the occasional splash of disgusting, muddy chili, but they were few and far between. In New Jersey, we had Italian (or Newark-style) hot dogs dressed up like sausages at the Festa di San Gennaro. It was a real shock, though, to discover that in Chicago, they put a perfectly good (okay, not that good) pickle on their hot dog. And hot peppers and celery salt! I was pretty sure that was banned in the Bible or at least the Constitution.

Well, now I live in Southern California, where it's a hot dog if it contains a tube steak of some description; it could be wrapped up in a tortilla or stuffed into a bolillo. It could have bacon, or pastrami, or much-improved-from-my-childhood chili atop it. It could have mayonnaise--mayonnaise!--on it. My appreciation of all things hot dog has grown along with my waistline, and so here are ten of the top hot dogs in Orange County right now.

Don't agree? Did we miss yours? Are you some kind of hot dog heretic? Well, that's what the comments section is for.

10. PCH Hot Dogs

pchdogs.JPG
Dave Lieberman
Why does Orange have so many good hot dogs? While the plain dogs are good--great snap to the casing, bun that doesn't go mushy--the reason to line up at this cash-only stand is for the chili cheese dogs. Eat the tasty little gut bomb on the curb and bring extra napkins.

3438 E. Chapman, Orange; 714-744-1415; no website.

9. Portillo's
portillos-hot-dogs-logo.jpg

A chain restaurant in a top-ten list? Well, yes, but Portillo's is a Chicago legend, and they've got an In-N-Out-like mania about making sure the two California locations (one in the IE, one here) are up to snuff. Get the Chicago dog as Chicagoans do: mustard, onions, tomato, pickle spear, celery salt, and--if you like the taste of spicy vinegar--sport peppers.

8390 La Palma, Buena Park; 714-220-6400; portillos.com.

8. Pee Wee's Famous Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
peewees.jpg

Don't order the Mexican hot dog at Pee Wee's--El Güero Canelo in Tucson it isn't, and there are better imitations elsewhere--but do order the Chupacabra, a double bacon-wrapped dog on a baguette (yes, it works) dressed like a Mexico City-style quesadilla, with crumbled cotija cheese, sour cream, avocado and salsa.

5942 E. Edinger #104, Huntington Beach; 714-846-3100; peeweesfamous.com.

Location Info

Berkeley Dog - CLOSED

25522 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, CA

Category: Restaurant

Berkeley Dog

4249 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA

Category: Restaurant

Little Red Wagon

1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA

Category: Restaurant

Dogzilla Hot Dogs

Orange County, CA, Irvine, CA

Category: Restaurant

Game Day Fire-Grilled Hot Dogs - CLOSED

3009 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Hot Dogs Hot Dogs Hot Dogs

W. 4TH St., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

Jerry's Wood Fired Hot Dogs

2276 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

Jerry's Wood-Fired Hot Dogs

1701 Corporate Drive, Ladera Ranch, CA

Category: Restaurant

Pacific Coast Hot Dogs

3438 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA

Category: Restaurant

Pee-Wee's Famous Hot Dogs and Hamburgers

5942 E. Edinger, Huntington Beach, CA

Category: Restaurant

Portillo's

8390 La Palma Ave., Buena Park, CA

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
40 comments
Chris
Chris

Hey I was just going to say that: 

I was at Home Depot today, what a treat, best dam hot dog right in my own back yard yea for me!!

Anyone know where you can buy Boars head hot dog in a store in or near Orange?

Alex Lopez
Alex Lopez

the Boars Head hot dog cart in front of the Home Depot in Orange on Tustin St. has some damn good hot dogs too.

Kit Hope
Kit Hope

Love Jerry's Signature Dog.

Sarah Whittenberg-Hawe
Sarah Whittenberg-Hawe

PCH takes cards now. And guys, it's a good article, but at least two of those places is closed now. Maybe a redux is overdue, hmmm?

tracy1581
tracy1581

what about at LinX in Orange, good but pricey. the frites were awesome though

david
david

As I was going through this list, I was hoping Game Day was going to be absent but alas that was not to be.  At least you chose it for the variety and not the actual taste.  My friend and I tried the Split 44 and the bibimbap burger.  The split 44 had a smokey tasting polish that had no snap and was even mushy like vienna sausages.  The pastrami on it was cut into chunks and fatty and the processed cheese did not do it for me.  The kimchi on the burger really overpowered everything and the meat was nothing to talk about.  The chili fries are a huge portion which is cool.  The chili is beany like Tommy's chili so don't expect it be meaty like PCH's. 

We came hungry and were hoping to like this place after reading some positive reviews but it just didn't do it for us. 

Claudia Koerner
Claudia Koerner

Glad you guys liked Game Day as well! Their menu... simply awe inspiring.

Sean Blair
Sean Blair

Having grown up in Orange, PCH Hot Dogs was my go-to for dogs. But when Jerry's Woodfired Dogs in (barely) Santa Ana, opened, that was my hot dog-hangout. My wife and friends liked Dogzilla when they were at the Orange Street Fair last year. I didn't try it however because I was filled up with brats, Italian sausages, and beer. I tried The Viking Truck a few weeks back when it came to Orange, and it was truly the Hot Dog of the Gods. I even put a pic of it on my Facebook page. My new neigborhood favorite is Game Day Fire-Grilled Hot Dogs, only a couple of blocks from PCH Hot Dogs (and my house). Truly, this is the Circle of Life!

qdpsteve
qdpsteve

Where's my comment? Oh well, will try again (without the web address this time):

Will definitely try Portillo's. In the meantime however, how about a shout-out for Lakewood's Hot Dog Shoppe?

I.t. Burns
I.t. Burns

"In New York and its suburbs, where I grew up" - Grew up? When?

qdpsteve
qdpsteve

Definitely will try at least Portillo's. Also, I know it's not OC per se, but how about a shout-out for Lakewood's Hot Dog Shoppe? (They also have locations in Temecula and Corona.)http://www.thehotdogshoppe.com...

JB
JB

IKEA's marketing and public relations team must be crestfallen that Edwin did not draw this assignment LMFAO

DanGarion
DanGarion

I guess I messed up when I went to Pee Wee's. I had a burger and didn't really enjoy it. My wife and my niece had hot dogs and both liked them. Very glad to see Game Day near the top. The owner is a great guy and wants to make great dogs!

Jmcguinness
Jmcguinness

Not about hot dogs, but are the top restaurant stories ever going to change? 

Mpoff
Mpoff

Where is Pee Wees? Someone needed to do a little more research!

MikeHs
MikeHs

...One more question.  Is it possible to get a Sabrett's hot dog in OC (with the onions!)?

MikeHs
MikeHs

So would Pink's Knott's Berry Farm be #11 or #27?  Just curious as to your thoughts.(I've only had one once, and thought it pretty good, but not better than your top choices).

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Oddly, IKEA didn't even cross my mind. I get meatballs there, and they have surprisingly good coffee, but I never get hot dogs there.

Costco did cross my mind but those are good only because they're cheap, not because they're actually good.

Sean Blair
Sean Blair

The owner of Game Day last week talked me into ordering the Game Day Burger. It was awesome! Best burger in town IMHO.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Uh, at the bottom of the first page? Or were you talking about the physical location, which is at Edinger and Springdale in front of the Vons?

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Not possible to get the onion sauce that I know (though I'll check Sprouts, gnashing my teeth the whole time), but Sabrett's are around here and there.

Sean Blair
Sean Blair

I ate at the Pinks at the LA County Fairgrounds in Pomona a couple of months ago. Had the Huell Howser Dog. It was really good!

Sean Blair
Sean Blair

Costco dogs aren't bad dogs, better than PCH Hot Dogs but below all the others mentioned. I had an Ikea hot dog once. I'd go to der Wienerschnitzel before haing another one. Oddly enough, there's a der Wienerschnitzel on Chapman Ave. in Orange next to a German deli that has great dogs that I get for the Summer BBQ parties. Both these places are right down the street from PCH Hot Dogs and Game Day Fire-Grilled Hot Dogs.

JB
JB

I have been liking the coffee recently, too...it's surprisingly strong for a medium roast, and is usually very palatable.  That UTZ rabbi must spike it with something before he certifies it. 

And after paying at the Costa Mesa store, how can you pass by the "Bistro" when you're wheeling out your BILLY bookcase to the parking lot and not get a couple of those (50 cent!) hot dogs!!

Herm
Herm

Hey Dave, it's Herm from Pee Wee's.  Thanks for including us on the list!  I agree with your assessment of the standard Mexi Dog and it's coming off the menu next month.  The fresh bolillo bun is too big, IMO but works great for the El Patron.  We have a NEW DOUBLE BACON WRAPPED SPICY POLISH MENU using 1/3 pound polish sausages from Mattern, that's the one the Chupacabra is on.  The regular LA Street dog will do ya right if you are looking for a smaller single bacon wrap on a regular bun. The guys and I have been working on some new stuff for the next menu incarnation.. Come try the new DBL BACON WRAPPED Teriyaki Glazed Hawaiian.  We are still the only store that Kings Hawaiian makes hot dog buns for.  Grilled Jalapenos, our spicy Chipotle Sauce, Grilled Pineapple, with the sweetness of the teri glaze.  Or the BIG LARRY Double Bacon Wrapped, Chili Cheese Fry, with Fried Egg.  BOOM!!!  Thanks again.

DanGarion
DanGarion

What don't you like about Sprouts?

MikeHs
MikeHs

 I should have asked whether or not there are any street-cart Sabrett vendors in OC (I thought I read somewhere that there might be in San Diego).  So far, here, all I've seen are Vienna Beef vendors.  I did get some Sabrett dogs at Sprout's as per Mr. DanGarion below, and they are good but do-it-yourself.  When I was in NYC last summer I scarfed a Sabrett from the first cart I saw, regardless of the hour, and it was just like I remember.  Wife looked at me like I was a pathetic soul, but the next day for lunch? Two Sabrett dogs  with the onion sauce and a can of soda at Zuccotti Park - Heaven!

MikeHs
MikeHs

 Ooh! Be still my heart!  Thank you!

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Besides the overpriced, non-organic grocery store-quality produce, the terrible meat, the ammoniac fish, the depressing bakery, and the complete greenwashing of just about everything within those four walls, you mean?

I pretty much like it only for supplements and for the bulk bins—and I can get both of those at Mother's Market.

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