Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs2148 Larimer Street
"Biker Jim" Pittenger has been serving up sizzling links for more than a decade, receiving national attention and our Best Hot Dog award along the way. Most of his dogs are made by Continental Sausage in a range of traditional and unlikely meats; our favorite is the Southwest Buffalo, a juicy sausage stuffed with bison, chipotles, green chiles and cumin. It really showcases Colorado cuisine at its finest, and you can spruce up the dish even more with topping combos such as cream cheese and caramelized onions, or harissa-roasted cactus with Malaysian curry jam, scallions, cilantro and onions two ways.
Brass Tacks1526 Blake Street
The folks at this new LoDo bar and noshery mashed together a hot dog and a hamburger, calling it the Ham-Dog and offering a new way to eat a traditional tube steak. Thanks to chef/co-owner Zach Spott, the happy-hour favorite arrives as a nest of Hebrew National all-beef hot dog that's been quartered, grilled and layered onto a soft sesame bun. Housemade pickle relish, chopped white onion and yellow mustard add a taste of the ballpark. Order it for $5 and get a draft cocktails on the side for a weeknight dinner that showcases elevated lowbrow food in the tastiest way possible.
Call2845 Larimer Street
Head to RiNo for the new Wednesday-through-Saturday-evening menu at Call, which includes a glorious hot dog made Scandinavian style (because Denmark and Sweden are nearly as obsessed with hot dogs as we are). This Olympia Provisions pork/beef frank comes on a housemade brioche bun and is topped with thin-sliced cucumber and fried shallots. A creamy "dog sauce" adds tangy flavor and herbs — like mayonnaise with a little something extra. This hot dog, like other dishes at Call, proves simple, elegant and down-to-earth all at once.
Dog Haus Biergarten8316 East Northfield Boulevard
The Pineapple Express, like all the options at Dog Haus, starts with a trio of split, griddled King's Hawaiian rolls in lieu of a traditional bun. The plump hot dog gets wrapped in bacon before being nestled inside its pillowy nest and coated with a sweet ginger glaze. Finally, it's topped with seasoned mayo, pineapple, scallions, pickled jalapeño and crispy onions. All together, this messy dog tastes like summer on the beach — sweet and spicy and absolutely craveable. Get it with a side of tots and a cold New Terrain Brewing Co. Key Largo Kolsch, or something similar from the Dog Haus's impressive row of tap handles.
Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen1317 14th Street
Chef Sarah Cloyd's hand-cranked sausages set Euclid Hall apart from other eateries. All of the links are great, but the Colorado beef short rib kielbasa proves the most like a hot dog and offers a superb snap followed by a cascade of succulent juices (yes, you will need a napkin). Dip your kielbasa in one of the house mustards, such as the sinus-clearing horseradish or peach bourbon honey. Think of this as the adult hot dog, and if you really need a bun to go with it, you can order a fresh-baked pretzel roll on the side.