Is there any summer staple quite like a hot dog? One of life’s greatest pleasures is downing a hot dog and a beer at a Rockies game, but as far as the brat is actually concerned — there’s better out there in Denver. If you’re looking for a way to up your hot dog game sans baseball, head to one of these five places to get your fix.
Where: 2148 Larimer St., Denver
The Lowdown: Jim Pittenger — or Biker Jim — is a former car repo man turned hotdog king. If you don’t believe us, maybe consult his coverage in Travel + Leisure, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and more. Biker Jim has been slinging hot dogs for more than a decade — with creative meats like wild boar, duck and pheasant. One of our favorites is the smoky Alaskan Reindeer served “Sonoran Style” with pinto beans, diced jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, yellow mustard and mayo ($8). It packs the perfect amount of heat, char and signature juicy flavor you’d demand from a brat.
Bonus: you can actually get a Biker Jim’s hot dog inside Coors Field at space #107 and Section 331
Billy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs
Where: 2445 Larimer St., Denver
The Lowdown: Owner Bill Feid was raised in Chicago, where hot dogs are a bit of an art form — his family even ate them on Thanksgiving before the turkey. With two locations in LoDo and Englewood, Billy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs lives by a Dwight Eisenhower quote — “Some people wanted champagne and caviar when they should have had beer and hot dogs.” If you’re ready for the latter, head to Billy’s for the 24-Hour Hot Dog — covered in Billy’s chili, creamy cheddar, chopped onion, yellow mustard, tomato, dill pickle, spicy sport peppers, jalapenos, grilled sauerkraut and a dash of celery salt ($5.75). In Billy’s own words — “This one has it all for those who won’t settle for less.”
Mustard’s Last Stand
Where: 2081 S. University Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: Another hot dog hit from a Chicago native, Mustard’s Last Stand has been a Colorado staple since 1978. If you’re looking for a classic, this is it. Order the Chicago Dog with mustard, tomato, relish, onions, peppers and a pickle on top ($4.39) or get a tiny hot dog treat with the Teenie Weenie served with ketchup and mustard for $2.39. You can also check them out in Boulder at 1719 Broadway.
Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs
Where: 3525 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: This hot dog joint was born from the sale of the Corporate Deli and Grill on 17th street. Looking for another venture, the team opened a New Jersey-style hot dog joint on East Colfax. We met with Chef Smiley to pick out our hot dog favorite, but we couldn’t settle on just one. Our picks are the Denver Dog — a pork and beef blend served in a flour tortilla with bacon, tomato, jalapenos, Steve’s cheese chili con carne, cheddar jack cheese and lettuce ($4.95) or the Rippin’ Rockies Dog that’s deep-fried with Steve’s green chili, grilled red onions, jalapenos, yellow mustard and sour cream ($4.55).
The Uber Sausage
Where: 2730 E. Colfax Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: The mission of Uber Sausage is simple — “With a truly great sausage, one can do great things.” It opened in 2011, and just a year and a half in began making its own naturally-raised, nitrate and preservative-free sausages. The Uber Sausage is the ultimate stop for those looking for something a little different — like The Vietnam-style or the Greek-style. The Vietnam has a Thai chili lemongrass pork sausage, Asian slaw, cucumbers, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, black sesame seeds and sriracha aioli ($9), and The Greek boasts a Greek lamb sausage with crumbled feta, roasted piquillo peppers, Spanish red onions, fried capers, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula and tzatziki ($9.50).
Where’s your favorite spot to get a brat beyond the ballpark? Let us know in the comments.
All photos and additional reporting by Rachelle Foos.