I ate the loaded hot dogs at 4 fast-food chains, and the winner was clear

I tried the fully loaded hot dogs from four chains, and Five Guys' cheesy bacon dog emerged as the victor.

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I tried the fully loaded hot dogs from four chains, and Five Guys’ cheesy bacon dog emerged as the victor.
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

  • I ate the fully loaded hot dogs from Dairy Queen, Checkers, Shake Shack, and Five Guys to see whose was best.
  • I judged the contestants on a scale of 1 to 5 based on two criteria: their hot dog base and their toppings.
  • Five Guys’ cheesy bacon dog impressed me with its exceptionally flavorful hot dog base and its crispy bacon topping, although I wasn’t as much a fan of the cheese.

Hot dogs, like people, sometimes like to dress up.

Relish and mustard are reliable condiments, but sometimes a sausage likes to strut its stuff with a coat of warm chili or a bandeau of crispy bacon.

But not all frankfurter fashion is created equal, and neither are all hot dogs. Therefore, I decided to shop around Manhattan and find the best fully-loaded hot dog that fast-food chains have to offer.

I ate the fully-loaded hot dogs at Dairy Queen, Checkers, Shake Shack, and Five Guys to see whose dog was best-dressed.

I judged the dogs on a scale of 1 to 5 focusing on two criteria: hot dog base and toppings.

Read more: I tried the signature burgers from 5 major fast-food chains, and the winner was obvious


DAIRY QUEEN: CHILI CHEESE DOG, $3.99 — Dairy Queen’s chili cheese dog was reminiscent of carnival food on a hot summer night.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

HOT DOG BASE — 2 — The dog was juicy but it tasted only kind of edible. The bun had the taste and texture of cardboard.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

TOPPINGS — 3 — This felt like heartburn going down. The chili and cheese were salty and greasy, and the whole thing was just a hot dog mess.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

CHECKERS — CHILI DOG, $3.29 — Checkers’ hot dog was topped with chili and optional cheese and onions. Either way, the chili dog looked decidedly unappetizing.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

HOT DOG BASE — 4 —The sausage was juicy and meaty, but the soft and squishy bun wasn’t quite up to the task of containing all its contents.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

TOPPINGS — 2 — It was wet and sloppy, but still managed to disappoint on flavor. There was just too much meat, salt, and sauce, and the onions I got were definitely not very fresh.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

SHAKE SHACK — SHACK-CAGO DOG, $4.99 — Shake Shack’s hot dog was topped with relish, pickles, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. In the spirit of Chicago, I also added mustard.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

HOT DOG BASE — 3 — Shake Shack served an oddly stiff, dry, and salty hot dog that was less than appealing. The bun was fluffy, sweet, and bread-y.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

TOPPINGS — 5 — The added veg elements really took the kind of “meh” Shake Shack hot dog to “pretty good.”

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

FIVE GUYS — CHEESY BACON DOG, $6.19 — Five Guys’ plain hot dog was topped with cheese and bacon. I added relish, although you can also add just about anything from sliced tomatoes to sautéed mushrooms.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

HOT DOG BASE — 5 — It was hard to hold together. The bun was twice the size of a normal hot dog bun, probably so it could contain the butterflied hot dog, which was incredibly juicy and bursting with flavor.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

TOPPINGS —4 — The crispy bacon added a whole other dimension to the dog. However, I wasn’t a fan of the cheese.

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

FINAL RANKING: 4. Dairy Queen’s Chili Cheese Dog. 3. Checkers’ Chili Dog. 2. Shake Shack’s Shack-Cago Dog. 1. Five Guys’ Cheesy Bacon Dog.