Stand: Big Top Dogs
Kind of meat: beef
Topping: mustard, sauerkraut
If street food has a religious origin story, it should be in the invention of the hot dog. For an eater, it's a eureka moment. Watching those dripping, dirty-water tongs drop your meat-tube into a bun...it's like witnessing the splitting of a zygote, first person. Thusly, Day 2 at SXSW Austin is about beef and pork.
Unfortunately, the line for The Best Wurst was seriously too long, so I went straight for Big Top Dogs. First of all, I annoyed the server. I was taking my obligatory picture of the guy slathering creamy mustard on the bun, and this conversation happened:
Hot Dog Dude: "What are you doing?"
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Me: "Oh this is for a food blog in Dallas."
Hot Dog dude; "Oh, so you came to South by Southwest for the food."
Me: "Shut up, assface." (not said).
So, I quickly headed out of there once he dropped the sauerkraut on the dog. Some cops on bikes who saw me sneaking my secret photo said, "That must be some hot dog."
It really was. Now granted, everyone tells me to get The Best Wurst. That's the "right" meat tube. But let's face it: As long as the bun is fresh and it's not one of those fake, cheap dogs, it's going to be good. Big Top had some real condiments too: fresh sauerkraut with caraway flavor and a homemade tasting, creamy mustard.
Add a squirt of ketchup -- don't try this in Chicago, kids -- and I'm set to go. Walk, then bite. I think a rule for street food is start with the hot dog and work up.