Hot Dog Snobbery: Engaged.

Jennifer Hulley Food and Travel writer food photographer

To be added to the list of my life’s accomplishments we have hotdog snob.

Ask me last month if I like hot dogs and I'd have choked down some visceral vomit. Fast forward to a trip to San Diego and I’m sitting on the sidewalk behind a fold-up tray table, pomegranate seeds rolling across my lap, cotija sauce dripping from my face with a mouth full of manchego cheese screaming "I never want this to end...ever!" (For the record, screaming is hard when you're stuffing a moment of YOLO food glory down your face but my god did I have to get my message out. 

The Game Changer: Barrio Dogg

The dudes at Barrio Dogg drew me in with a smell that wafted through the air. Walking around the Barrio Logan district, snapping pics through the winding maze of dramatic street art amidst shrapnel of industrial mess while trying to not get lost, I was about to make a left toward a taco joint I had read about on the Internet. It was my "home base" a place my Uber driver dropped me off and one that I had researched prior to landing. Headed toward the taco joint I was immediately stopped in my tracks.  "That’s....hang on..,what is that? Mesquite?  Salt?" I thought someone was barbecuing.  An abrupt turn walked me down an alley and I emerged into a cloud of smoke. Sweet, salty, spicy smoke. Ahhhh, glorious. 

Pressed up against the pop out window of the shop was part of a classic car. As if someone had sliced a portion of one off and slapped it on, like a sticker. From behind the car billowed clouds of smoke and a sizzle filled the air. That and a lot of wiener themed banter.


We exchanged generic sidewalk banter and he told about his space: part homage to classic cars, part art gallery, and part hotdog cart. I stepped inside intending to have look, take some photos and give him my best Impressed face.


That’s when the game changed. 

He begins spitting lyrics dedicated his dogs. Recounting how each ingredient is selected, treated and complimented by others. I’m speechless and mesmerized. He endures with a relentless homage, singing love songs, dog after dog. 

I’m sold. I came for tacos and yet he has turned my plan around to an unexpected destination. I sit on the sidewalk taking in the wiener banter between his boys and passersby  (I’ll split your weenie bro! I’m jam packed full of wieners! Why are you laughing?!? Hot dogs are serious!) and wait. 

My dog arrives on a metal dining tray, parchment paper rolled out and stamped with the logo in the corner. The dog sitting in a simple cardboard crate with am paper napkin and plastic fork. Low fuss.

As I went to take that first bite and had no idea how quickly my life was about to change. I bit in, and froze. The rest is a blur. Somehow time managed to stand still and yet I inhaled that dog in 30 seconds flat. Stopping in between bites to only declare my new hot dog snobbery, and to repeat the refrain "holy shit these are really fucking good! I never want this to end!"

These are not your everyday dogs. The sample I was inhaling was "El Pueblito" which is, brace yourself,  a 100% black angus beef dog stuffed in steamed artisan roll, topped with roasted poblano peppers, grilled corn, cotija cream sauce, queso manchgo, crispy fried onions, fresh pomegrante (yes you read that right) and smoked paprika sesame seeds. I CAN DIE NOW.


It doesn't end there. Barrio also features 8 other gourmet dogs with flavour combinations that do not fail to impress. How about the breakfast dog BLAH BLAH BLAH

It’s been a while since I met someone who exudes passion and love for their craft, even if it’s simple like a hot dog. It’s quite possible that I never have. This dude has got shit figured out. Life, work, hotdogs and probably more. I admire people who successfully take a love for something and package it into a lifestyle. One they are proud of, enthusiastic about and engage in with a face tearing grin.


Keep on splitting those weenies bro, you’re doing a heck of whole lot right. 

Headed to San Diego? Change your dog and change your life and check out BARRIO DOGG. Currently located in the Barrio Logan district of San Diego.

Been to San Diego yourself? What undiscovered treats did you find while there? I’d love to hear your recommendations for “off the eaten path” bites. 

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