Dougie's (2525 Berlin Turnpike, Newington, 860-666-6200) owner Rock (who has "no last name, like Madonna") got the idea for this giant hot dog from his nephew, who spotted a dog at a county fair that was "as long as a child's arm." Rock designed a spectacular wiener, 2 feet of pork and beef that he nestles in a custom bun ($8). It comes charred and topped with "sassy relish," made of bell peppers and spices. The gimmick attracts the masses -- people who plan to share but often change their mind after one bite.
The Sonoran hot dog ($2) -- a bacon-wrapped wiener resplendent with salsa verde, beans, chopped onions and tomatoes, mayo and mustard -- is a close-to-the-border eccentricity served all over Arizona. For a grilled, seriously sloppy rendition, fans make a special trip to Taqueria La Esquina (corner of S. Sixth Avenue and Irvington Road, Tucson).
Sharon DeMuro and her son, Bubba, co-owners of Bubba's Dog House (Summer location: 1205 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, 201-600-2425; regular location: 356 Valley Brook Ave., Lyndhurst, 201-460-3647), invented the Boardwalk Dog ($6), a charred, 9-inch wiener topped with a Jersey Shore-inspired mess of onions, peppers and potatoes.
*Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in July 2010.