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Save room for a Sonoran hot dog

Although Tucson has developed a cosmopolitan culinary scene with steakhouses, ethnic restaurants, James Beard Award-winning chefs and funky local cafes, one of its favorite foods is found at numerous corner stands — the Sonoran hot dog.

“People have to have Sonoran dogs,” said Judy Wood, tourism sales manager for the Tucson Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Wood said the ingredients are the key to the popularity of the Sonoran hot dogs, which begin with a bacon-wrapped hot dog in a soft Mexican roll.

“Then local ingredients go on, depending on how strong your stomach is,” said Wood, “from the typical onions to hot peppers to cheeses to beans — you name it. You build it yourself.

“What makes it so special is they are family-run hot dog stands. You typically see not only families serving up the hot dogs, but [families] coming to sit at these portable tables under tents.

“It’s quite a family event, and it brings together all of our different cultures. We all love our Sonoran hot dogs; they are our melting pot.”