Ray’s Hell Burger in Washington DC is a modern burger legend. And while Obama likes Ray’s burgers, the rest of the world is wondering: What does The Hotdogjudge think? 

I tried their bestseller, the Soulburger with grilled onions, swiss cheese, bacon, as well as cognac and sherry sauteed mushrooms. It was perfectly pink cooked and a pretty damn good 4/5 burger! Thanks Ray!

Ray’s Hell Burger in Washington DC is a modern burger legend. And while Obama likes Ray’s burgers, the rest of the world is wondering: What does The Hotdogjudge think?

I tried their bestseller, the Soulburger with grilled onions, swiss cheese, bacon, as well as cognac and sherry sauteed mushrooms. It was perfectly pink cooked and a pretty damn good 4/5 burger! Thanks Ray!

Fantastic elk dog in Salt Lake City

In Salt Lake City, Utah, there’s a great establishment specializing in craft beers and gourmet hotdogs - the Beer Bar. As I’m not one to turn down the beer and brat combo, naturally this place had to get a visit!
Upon the chef’s recommendation, I tried their special, El Completo, all in. And what a dog! It featured a somewhat spicy and juicy bratwurst made from elk meat! Definitely a first for me and a great quality brat that stands out from your average brats.
The toppings included pickled strips of carrot, tomato, onions, pickled jalapeños, garlic aioli, and avocado. The pickled items, hot brat and peppers, were perfectly balanced with the aioli and avo. And washing it down with a nice pilsner surely didn’t worsen the experience.
Truly a great gourmet hotdog and worthy of a top grade: 5 out of 5. The Beer Bar will from here on get a visit from me, every time I’m in SLC. And by the way, the neighbouring bar, Bar-X makes a great old fashioned.
Mmm… elk! 

Hotdog safari in Chicago

Spending a couple of days in Chicago this Summer, I obviously had to spend a day going on a hotdog safari, chasing the best dog in town.



George’s Hotdogs
1876 North Damen Ave, ChicagoIL 60647

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When we swung by George’s you could see an impressive collection of press clippings being voted the best in town or among the top dogs. However, I didn’t get that - a top dog. I got a mediocre Chicago-style hotdog with the classic Vienna frank. Not bad, but not memorable either, while it was cheap at $3,50 including a side of fries. A 3 out of 5 experience.



Portillo’s
100 West Ontario St, IL 60654

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Opening his first hotdog stand in 1963, Dick Portillo has a long Chicago history which has since developed into an impressive range of locations, stretching as far as California. And when we got there, the place was packed - usually a good sign.

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I tried two of their dogs - their classic Chicago hotdog and the original Maxwell one, which is served with a polish sausage, mustard and fried onions. The chicago-style hotdog was good without impressing me. My expectations for the Maxwell dog were higher, but somehow the fried onions tasted bland. The sausage was still good and I rate Portillo’s 4 out of 5, overall.



Belly Shack
1912 North Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

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In truth Belly Shack isn’t a hotdog place, as they only have the Belly Dog on the menu - but good recommendations had our party swing by - and what a great move! The surprise dog of the trip, which is served with an all-beef frank, egg noodles, pickled green papaya, and a side of crispy togarashi spiced fries.

Although I missed a little kick from some mustard or chili, this is a brilliant hotdog blending different tastes and served with homemade quality ingredients - a definite 5 out of 5 hotdog!



Wiener Circle
2622 North Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

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From my first visit to Chicago, I already knew what to expect here and Wiener Circle did not disappoint! Yet another brilliant 5 out of 5 charbroiled Chicago-style dog. And if you think the profanities are fun during day-hours, come at night. I almost cried laughing.


Now, locals and hotdog conaisseurs will ask themselves: Why the hell isn’t Hot Doug’s on this list? Well I tried, but a 2-hour long line didn’t match my outbound flight, so it’s still on my must visit list - only it’s closing next month, so I’m out of luck on this one. Dammit. The good news is that Chicago has plenty of other good dogs to offer.