“I like my hot dogs like I like my women—concrete physical proof that I lead a shallow, superficial existence.”
~Rich people who spend more than $100 on hot dogs
America, let’s take a moment to talk about hot dogs. They’re great, right? Pretty much anywhere you go, you’re going to find a great hot dog with its own unique flavor profile and style that hopefully doesn’t involve ketchup because if your hot dog involves ketchup then everyone involved in its preparation and consumption has the taste buds of a six-year-old, but we digress.
Hot dogs are wonderful. They’re delicious, gloriously unhealthy, satisfying, and most of all…expensive?
No! Of course they’re not! If you’re spending more than five dollars for a hot dog, you’re a chump, and if you’re raising your eyebrows and saying, “Five? Try two bucks, Rockefeller” in response to that five dollar figure, well, we wouldn’t argue with you on that point, we’d just point out that certain hot dogs of the jumbo and foot long variety at some of the best hot dog stands around can just about get away with charging that much. But to your larger point, yes, we agree with you. Hot dogs are supposed to be cheap, and delicious. Cheap. And delicious.
Unfortunately, well, you know. Rich people exist.
Pictured above, a rich person with their pet oil tycoon.
We’re not talking about the standard kind of rich person, who has multiple mansions and cars and personal servants and, like, a McDonald’s in their house like that one scene we all remember from the Richie Rich movie. No, we’re talking about the kind of rich people who either come from money so old they don’t understand how much things are supposed to actually cost in the real world, or people who are so amazed that they’re rich that they need to do everything in their power to let everyone know, “Hey, look at me, look at how much money I have!” like a seven-year-old boy who just learned how to back-flip into the pool. “Why aren’t you guys looking I just bought a piece of JFK’s skull!”
We’ve talked about this specific type, and how they’re just, the worst, many times before. We’ve seen $3.7 million bottles of vodka, whiskeys that cost as much as a house, hell, we’ve even run across all sorts of kinds of food covered in edible gold because fuck it, why not just devour ounce after ounce of pure gold at this point? At this point we’ve basically accepted that we shouldn’t be surprised when notoriously cheap foods are made expensive for no particular reason. Just as you’re sure to find someone willing to fork over $12,000 to get a pizza made in your house, you’re going to find thousand dollar hot dogs.
Now, admittedly, there are a lot of hot dogs that cost way more than they should, and a surprising amount of them sold at baseball stadiums. But we’re not here to shame the people who spend $29 on a hot dog, or $50 on a hot dog. No, we’re not going getting out of bed to write about any hot dog unless it costs more than $100, because we really want to drive home the absurdity of how much these people are paying for the right to brag about how much they are able to spend on a single goddamn hot dog.
The Most Expensive Hot Dogs in the World
When you see articles purporting to have discovered the most expensive hot dog in the world, they all follow the same general “overdramatic gasp!” approach. First, they incredulously tell you how much it costs, and then list the “crazy” ingredients that are added to justify the price, totally flabbergasted that something so gourmet and expensive would be added to a food (this usually is because they’ve forgotten how rich people’s brains function). Then, if they’re working for a real big national publication, they’ll top it all off with a food pun, which totally makes the article complete and is not the laziest form of comedy writing. So, when everything is strung together, you get something like, “Haute dog! World’s most expensive frank costs $69: Foot-long garnished with truffle oil, foie gras, sets record” which, mind you, isn’t even close to being the world’s most expensive hot dog, but never mind that. We’re not here to judge—we’re basically writing some variation that headline, over and over, for our own article, only we’re not above giggling whenever we see the number “69” in print. Heh.
The difference between us and Buzzfeed is a following that can bring in millions of dollars in ad revenue a year the fact that when we see someone putting caviar on top of a hot dog, we don’t act like this is some world shattering “holy fuck, LOOK HOW CRAZY THIS IS” event. We just know it’s another case of someone preparing a stunt dish for free publicity, which we’re more than happy to give them. We’re just going to insult them, sometimes personally, and sometimes viciously, for that publicity. Because that’s the American way.
The Dragon Dog: $100
Dougie Dog, a Vancouver based now-shuttered restaurant that now operates as a food truck whose owner looks Guy Fieri’s uncle, shocked the world (read as: warranted a Huffington Post article) by releasing a $100 hot dog that must be ordered at least 12 hours in advanced. The Dragon Dog fries a foot-long Bratwurst in truffle oil, douses it (though we’d guess it’s more of a light sprinkle) with a vintage Louis XIII cognac that costs $2,000 a bottle, and tops it with Kobe beef, lobster meat, and “the restaurant’s signature picante sauce” because clearly, if you’re spending $100 on a hot dog, you don’t want to actually taste the gourmet ingredients. No, you’d rather just deal with a mouthful of fire dealt to you by some liberally applied, flavor-masking hot sauce some restaurant decided to push your way. Great, thanks Dougie Dog, good call shelling out for the $2,000 Cognac before dousing it in goddamn Tabasco.
Naturally, as of August of 2014, over 1000 people had ordered the dog, which either is an indictment of society as a whole, or is proof that the jokes we used to make about Canada’s money being worthless in the 1990s are finally starting to be relevant again. We’ll let you decide.
The Normal Hot Dog (That Makes You Feel Guilty): $135
So, okay, not all of these hot dogs are stupid and decadent. Sometimes they’re just stupid and political. In this particular case, we can’t make fun of the hot dog in question, or the people that buy it. You see, back in 2005, the United Nations set up a booth at Sweden’s Norrmalmstorg (which is a central square in Stockholm and not, as one would expect from the name, a average, everyday normal person who suddenly gains incredible strength) where they sold regular hot dogs for 999 kronor, or about $135 in real-people-dollars. They were doing this to address world poverty, pointing out that for the one billion people that live on less than 200 kronor a month, a normal hot dog would cost them the equivalent of 1,000 kronor. Sorry, let’s Americanize that and get it right. For the people in extreme poverty living on less than $27 a month, just getting a hot dog would cost them the equivalent of $135 bucks.
While we’re not sure how they came to that figure (because math is scary and evil) we do know that we can’t make fun of this hot dog, ‘cause it was about starving kids in Third World countries, and all the money they raised went to charity (though we honestly have a hard time assuming they got that many takers).
Anyway, back to stupid rich people stuff.
California Capitol City Dawg: $145.49
Of course, the 49 cents here is important, because if you’re going to ask someone to spend 145.50 on a hot dog, you’d probably have to justify your purchase. But, one hundred and forty nine goddamn cents? Still totally reasonable! This offering from Sacramento’s now-closed Capitol Dawg was listed as the Guinness World Record for most expensive hot dog, only they’re closed now, which should hopefully be a lesson for all you potential business owners who want to open a hot dog stand and do ridiculous shit to make your hot dog expensive. This is the third entry on this list, and so far, you’ve had two closed restaurants and one pop-up kiosk that overcharged for normal hot dogs to make you feel bad for owning a TV. Not a great track record, so far, we’re just saying.
For one hundred and forty five American dollars (and forty-nine cents) you can fancy up your next bowel movement with an 18-inch all-beef hot dog in a pork casing, grilled in bacon fat. That is lovingly (we assume) placed in a 15-inch custom-made focaccia roll, brushed with truffle butter and toasted. The dog is topped with strips of maple-marinated, apple-and-cherry-wood-smoked bacon, which as far as bacon being added to a hot dog goes, honestly sounds good, but not more than “a three dollar upcharge” good. This giant bacon hot dog is then covered with French whole-grain mustard, garlic-herb mayonnaise, caramelized shallots, mixed baby greens, chopped tomato, dried cranberries (ugh, why?), peppercorn, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “So, it’s a bacon hot dog with some mustard, fancy mayo, and a cranberry salad on top of it, basically, why the fuck would that be $145.49?” we should point out that we left a crucial ingredient. The final ingredient is globs of moose cheese, which costs upwards of $200 a pound and can only be purchased in-person at a Swedish moose dairy farm, which is a thing you now know exists. “So, the most expensive ingredient on this hot dog is moose cheese, which might be very expensive but sounds like something that Canadian hicks would make while living off the land?” Y…well, yes. Yes that is true. But hey, it’s not like this hot dog costs a full $145.50. Then that’d be way too much money for a moose cheese hot dog. $145.49 is much more reasonable.
Juuni Ban: $169
We’ve still yet to find an actual functioning brick and mortar restaurant that’s willing to horrendously overcharge you for the novelty of saying you ate a stupid hot dog, since the Juuni Ban comes from Tokyo Dog, a Seattle-based food truck that specializes in “Japanese-style hot dogs” which, in our experience, is a concept that has us incredibly worried. Thankfully, they go about this fusion through the more appropriate American method of “using decent ingredients used by other cultures, and adding them to something we already like” as opposed to Japan’s method of “burn it, burn it all, burn everything.” They tend to make more-expensive-than-necessary hot dogs with flavor combinations like “teriyaki sauce on a hot dog” or “plum sauce on a bratwurst” which, you know, doesn’t strike us as the best way to prepare a hot dog, but also doesn’t make us want to punch a wall in sheer anger.
The Juuni Ban technically is a “Japanese/American fusion”, though in reality they pretty much just add Japanese food words to American foods like mayo or beef. Once you’ve given Tokyo Dog a full two week notice (after which, since it’s a food truck…would they drive it to your house? Or would you have to go to them, and eat it on a park bench or something, with napkins awkwardly on your lap to protect your khaki pants?) they will whip up a 12 inch bratwurst, which is topped with butter teriyaki (fusion!) grilled onions, maitake (probably Japanese!) mushrooms, Wagyu (kapow!) beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar, and Japanese (fusion to the max!) mayonnaise.
(For those of you wondering, Japanese mayo is actually a real thing, and not some bullshit “we put wasabi in mayonnaise” fake concoction. In Japan, they make mayo the same way we do, only they use egg yolks instead of whole eggs, and apple or rice vinegar, rather than regular distilled vinegar, which makes it thicker and sweeter than American mayo. And now you learned something)
This hot dog does hit the classic “I don’t care how it tastes mushed together between my chompers, I want rich person food, dammit!” hallmarks. Naturally, your hot dog doesn’t belong being called a rich person hot dog if it doesn’t have any Kobe beef (Wagyu, same diff), which is that “most expensive beef in the world” that you’ve been hearing about for the last 7 years, with the reason for it being considered a delicacy getting more absurd every time you hear it. “They massage the cows every day!” “They feed them sake and beer!” “They walk on milk crates so they never touch the ground their whole lives!” “They spend their days watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix and eating Chipotle burritos!” So, cool. Wagyu beef.
But on top of that, you’ve got fancy-sounding-mushrooms (which, meh, maitake mushrooms are just hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, shrug, big whoop), caviar, foie gras, and black truffles. It’s like a rich foodie smorgasbord, only, you know, it’s on a damn hot dog (with nothing special done to the bun, by the way. It’s just a standard brioche bun). But hey, you got to spend $169 to get something from a goddamn food truck, good for you, that trust fund will never dry up!
Also, heh. 169. Nailed it.
Back in May of 2012, Little Rock’s Hot Dog Mike (who also has since gone out of business CURSED THESE HOT DOGS ARE CURSED) made six theONEdogs for a charity to help the homeless. He charged $1,501 a piece for them, and sold at least four, if not all of them to people who decided that donating to charity isn’t quite as fun if you can’t combine it with eating an over-the-top hot dog, which is fair.
Of the hot dogs on the list, this one definitely has the most inflated price, probably because the profit margins were meant to go to, scoff, the less fortunate. Using a standard ¼ pound all-beef hot dog on a potato bun, Mike Juliano (who kept one dollar of the purchase price for himself, presumably to buy an eight pack of all-beef hot dogs), smothered everything with lobster tail, saffron aioli, and gold flakes. As you can see in the picture, it looks kind of messy. Wait, that looks put together for you? Let’s try another angle.
Like we said, it looks messy as hell. Which seems appropriate for an absurdly expensive hot dog. Everyone else trying to get hundreds or thousands of dollars out of you for a tube of deliciously processed meats has been spending so much effort making their concoctions look so “dainty” and “proper” but a hot dog covered in a bunch of rich people stuff is going to cause a mess the moment you bite into that fucker. So why not just embrace it? “Fuck you guys, here’s some saffron fancy mayonnaise with lobster and, fuck it, gold, eat, eat that shit, the aioli’s gonna cake some gold flakes to your upper lip, a bit of lobster is going to fall on the ground, and you’re going to eat all the meat and be left with like a bite-worth of gold-and-saffron-soaked potato bun, wondering to yourself if you should eat it or toss it.
You eat it, though. Of course you do. Nothing can stop you. Enjoy your charitable tax write-off.
The 230 fifth Dog: $2,300
Naturally, the most expensive hot dog in the world was made by an expensive Manhattan lounge with mediocre reviews. Surprisingly, however, 230 Fifth still exists, and not just as a food truck, making every other entry on this list to toss their hat to the ground, stomp on it, and shout, “Dammit, when the devil said in order for me to make an obnoxiously priced hot dog, I’d have to choose between losing my business or my first born child, I should have known someone would have taken the child option! Damn!”
Like the other “Jesus Christ, more than $1000?” entry on this list, a limited number of these were made for charity, and also like the last entry on this list, there were “decadent” toppings added, which is a word we place in sarcastic quotation marks because caviar will taste like a combination of mushed together bread and meat with a hint of fish when you really get down to eating this fucker.
The 12-inch dog, with a sausage made of dry-aged Wagyu beef enriched with truffle oil, knocks elbows with onions carmelized in Dom Perignon and 100-year-old balsamic vinegar which, hey, you guys do you, seems like a lot of work try and probably fail to prod some additional flavor out of a fucking onion. There’s also champagne-braised sauerkraut (goddamn it, New York, get your mess right), a fuck ton of caviar, because sure, gold leaf, because rich people blah blah that joke we made twenty times already this article, and relish made from $10 pickles (goddamn it New York, GET YOUR MESS RIGHT!). All of this lies within a white truffle butter coated toasted brioche bun that’s then finished with French mustard that supposedly costs $35 a bottle as well as saffron-infused W Ketchup that…
*second record scratch yes we’re doing this gimmick again*
Hold up. Hold up one Goddamn second.
You’re putting fucking ketchup on your fucking billion dollar (citation needed) hot fucking dog?
“This ketchup is fancy! It costs $9 a bottle!”
You’re putting goddamn motherfucking ketchup on your fucking goddamn Jesus Christ expensive shit hot dog?
“Ketchup is good, I like ketchup on my hot dog, what’s the…”
We’re done here. May God have mercy on you, 230 Fifth. May God have mercy on you all.