The hot dog is the most American of foods. Inspired by sausages from German immigrants, improved on by entrepreneurial newcomers to America’s shores, and beloved for more than a century by every social class, the hot dog represents Americana in ways no other food can. Yet as much as hot dogs unify every barbecue from coast to coast, they also divide, as the humble hot dog is among the most regional dishes in the country.

I eat my fair share of hot dogs and travel a lot. I’ve not, however, eaten every type of regional hot dog. There are dozens of different hot dog styles out there, and it’d take someone with much more stamina than I to seek them all out and clog their arteries in the name of hot dog journalism. My arteries are only half clogged. Also, our budget doesn’t allow us to go to Hawaii to try a Puka Dog, spectacular as they sound.

These are the 10 standout hot dog styles around the US — for better or worse — that I am able to weigh in on, ranked from technically edible to amazing drunk food to “I could eat this for every meal.”

10. Red snapper dog from Maine

Photo: Ray Bernoff/Shutterstock

You only have to look at a Maine red snapper once to decide whether you’re going to be the type of person who digs in, or the person who turns and runs. The name refers to both its color and texture. It’s red because it’s loaded with food coloring, and it’s a snapper because of the snap of the casing you get when you bite into one. Cartoon devil red is the only way to describe the shocking color of these dogs, which are for some reason loved by locals, but they often terrify unsuspecting tourists who innocently ordered a hot dog for their picky child off the kid’s menu.

Maine red snappers are mostly made by W.A. Bean & Sons, which uses a mixture of pork and beef stuffed in a natural lamb casing and dyed red. No one really knows why the color — that’s just the way it is and has been for generations. The upside? It doesn’t taste as unnatural as it looks, and the thick snappy casing could be texturally appealing to some (or extremely off-putting to many). It’s also served on a buttered and toasted top-split New England roll (the same one used for the state’s more famous lobster rolls), which is arguably one of the best hot dog vessels out there. But to find out all those upsides you have to get past the initial thought of eating something that unnatural looking, and even if you do give it a go, we eat with our eyes, and it’s a hard impression to shake.

Where to try it: Order from W.A. Bean & Sons.

9. Scrambled dog from Columbus, Georgia

Photo: Dinglewood Pharmacy/Facebook

My first journalism internship was at the lovely Columbus and the Valley magazine in Columbus, Georgia. While there, I tested out the scrambled dog, a style that loosely fits into the category of hot dog (more on that later). I loved my internship, and I loved the people of Columbus, but nothing can make me love a scrambled dog.

This style is pretty much only found in Columbus, Georgia, so bonus points for true regionality. But there’s a problem: The scrambled dog defeats the whole point of a hot dog because it’s near impossible to eat without a spoon.

A scrambled dog is made with a hot dog (sometimes cut into pieces), chili, and oyster crackers. Other possible toppings include onions, relish, coleslaw, and cheese. Whatever the toppings, the whole mess is dumped onto a toasted bun on a dish, where the chili-hot dog sludge covers the bread like a chunky biblical flood.

Dinglewood Pharmacy sells hundreds of these things a week. People there love them. So much so that it was put on the Georgia tourism board’s “100 Plates Locals Love” in 2016. While it has its select few charms, it’s more of a bready chili with a weenie in it.

Where to try it: Dinglewood Pharmacy, 2991, 1939 Wynnton Rd, Columbus, GA 31906

8. Seattle dog

Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of a Seattle dog unless you’ve been to the namesake city or select parts of the Pacific Northwest. Yet what the Seattle dog lacks in ubiquity and name recognition, it makes up for with one very memorable ingredient: cream cheese.

Yes, the Seattle dog is a hot dog with cream cheese. If you’re thinking this sounds like something made up by someone who couldn’t decide between a bagel and a hot dog, you’re right. Hanna Raskin wrote the oral history of the Seattle dog for Seattle Weekly and traced it back to a man named Hadley Longe, who in 1988 started a bagel cart in Pioneer Square. He was making vegetarian bagels, but everyone kept asking for hot dogs. So he took bialy sticks (elongated, hand-rolled, bagel-like bread), smeared cream cheese on it, and then threw a hot dog in it.

“I didn’t want to be a hot-dog guy,” Longe told Raskin. “I wanted to be the bagel man. So even though I sold hundreds of bagel dogs, I always waited for the person who would still want a veggie bagel.”

I, too, wish people had only wanted the veggie bagel. Longe’s creation took off in Seattle. Today, you’ll find Seattle dogs made with a frank or sausage that’s grilled and split in half, and placed on a toasted bun (the bialys are long gone) with cream cheese and your choice of onions, jalapenos, pico de gallo, barbeque sauce, whatever.

Where to try it: Monster Dogs food cart

7. Papaya dog from New York City

Photo: Papaya King/Facebook

New York City is where America’s hot dog dreams were born. Also where they came to die, depending on who you ask. For this ranking, I’m going to refer to the New York dogs that people here actually eat, not the dirty water dogs found floating like dead fish in the bowels of a street cart. The ideal New York hot dog is the Papaya dog, which is warmed on a griddle, squeezed between a basic roll that’s slightly too small, and topped with yellow mustard, sauerkraut, and red onion sauce. It’s simple, a balance of sour and savory, and one of the cheapest meals you’ll get in the city. Two of them to-go from Papaya King (or the similar Papaya Dog or Gray’s Papaya) at 4:00 AM will stave off any drunchies better than a piece of 99 cent pizza. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and is personally tied to many memories, but it lacks the innovation to rank higher on this list.

Where to try it: Papaya Dog, Papaya King, or Gray’s Papaya.

6. Coney Island dog from Detroit

Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Of the many hot dog styles around the US inspired by Brooklyn’s early Greek immigrants, Detroit’s Coney Island dog is the most famous. It’s a hot dog on a steamed bun that’s lathered in a beanless, meaty chili and topped with chopped white onions and mustard. It’s similar to the scrambled dog, but less soupy, and crucially has a bun, making it (somewhat) easier to eat with your hands.

The Coney Island dog is a category unto itself. It’s the origin of styles like Rhode Island’s hot weiner (also known as the Original New York System after the restaurant it was popularized at) and the Appalachian dog (more on that below). It also has little to do with what you’ll find at Coney Island in New York City.

The book Coney Detroit by Joe Grimm and Katherine Yung traces the Coney dog to Greek red sauce brought by immigrants in the early 1900s. Greeks would travel to the US and pass through New York City’s Coney Island, the beach where hot dogs are still zealously celebrated every year on July 4. They took the hot dog concept with them when they left the city. In Detroit, Coney Islands came to mean any Greek diner that serves Coney Island dogs but also salads, burgers, and other fare.

It’s a wonderful history filled with the stuff that makes America grand: immigration, the mashing of food styles, and regional pride in doing things differently. But the ground beef meat sauce is overkill. It’s like a sloppy Joe but on an elongated bun with a hot dog thrown in there. The whole thing an unbalanced mass of meat and carbs determined to sit like a rock in your stomach. Go ahead and dive right in if you’re not planning on eating for the rest of the day, though.

Where to try it: American Coney Island, 114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

5. Appalachian dog

Photo: Hillbilly Hot Dogs/Facebook

Like the Coney Island dog, the Appalachian dog (also known as a West Virginia hot dog) is a hot dog on a steamed bun with beanless chili, chopped onions, and mustard. There’s one major difference: coleslaw. It’s popular in West Virginia and the Appalachian South and is superior to the northern iterations of the Coney Island dog.

Yes, it’s still a meat bomb. The creamy coleslaw adds some balance, though, both in texture and flavor. Contrasts make food interesting, and a slightly sweet, cabbage-based coleslaw is just the contrast needed to make a meat-on-meat hot dog crave worthy. It’s believed to have originated at a roadside drive-in near Charleston, West Virginia, in the late 1920s, according to Mountain Xpress. Hot dogs and cabbage were some of the most readily available and affordable foods at the time, so the two were combined. From there, it spread south to other states touched by the Appalachian Mountains.

Where to try it: Hillbilly Hot Dogs, 6951 Ohio River Rd, Lesage, WV 25537

4. The Polish Boy from Cleveland

Photo: Seti’s Polish Boys/Facebook

Of all the good bois in the hot dog universe, the Polish Boy is one of the most good. Its centerpiece is a grilled kielbasa (a Polish sausage made with beef, pork, or both). The kielbasa sits on a sturdy roll and is topped with coleslaw, French fries, and a healthy pour of barbecue sauce and hot sauce. It has the balance of the Appalachian dog without too much slop, and the tang of a Papaya dog with an extra kick. And while the carb-averse might balk at both a bun and fries all in one, those people shouldn’t bother with hot dogs in the first place. Fries are almost always better when added to the main dish instead of served on the side (though nothing beats fries added to the main dish and served on the side).

The Polish Boy is a Cleveland thing. Just like you wouldn’t visit Portland, Maine, without getting a lobster roll, don’t visit Cleveland without getting a Polish Boy.

Where to get it: Seti’s Polish Boys food truck, W. 42nd Lorain Ave. Cleveland, Ohio

3. Tijuana dog

Photo: Robson90/Shutterstock

Most popular in Los Angeles, but also found in smaller numbers in cities like San Francisco and San Diego, the Tijuana dog is yet another hot dog style that has little geographical relation to its name. But who cares. It’s absolutely delicious.

Also known as a “danger dog,” Tijuana dogs are hot dogs wrapped in bacon and either griddled or deep fried. The meat-wrapped meat is placed in a cheap hot dog bun and topped with grilled jalapeños, pico de gallo, crema, avocado, cilantro, radish, and cotija cheese. They taste best when purchased from a street vendor who may or may not have a license to sell food.

The Tijuana dog has its roots in Hermosillo, a city in the northern Mexico state of Sonora. The dogs were a hit around the Universidad de Sonora, because if anyone knows the true love found in a bite of deep fried street food, it’s college kids. The concept made its way north to Arizona and California where it morphed into something new, as food tends to do. In the latter, it can compete with the streetside taco in deliciousness if not in name recognition. The toppings somehow make what is essentially a fried meat stick taste fresh. The bite of the jalapeño is matched by the crumbly cotija cheese. Slices of radish are a refreshing palate cleanser. It is, simply, pure joy.

Where to try it: Preferably from a street vendor outside a bar

2. Sonoran dog from Arizona

Photo: Suzi Pratt/Shutterstock

In Arizona, the other state where Hermosillo’s bacon-wrapped hot dog found a home, it’s known as a Sonoran dog and is popular in cities like Phoenix and Tucson. Where the California version went light and fresh, Arizona went all in. The bacon dog is topped with a mound of beans, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, and cheese. To keep it all together, it’s put in a bolillo, which is kind of like a stubby French bread roll that’s most commonly used for tortas.

The Sonoran dog edges the Tijuana dog for a couple reasons. First, it’s topped with a meal’s worth of ingredients without being bogged down. Second, the bolillo is simply a better vessel for salsa, cheese, and a greasy dog. Few meals satisfy on this level.

Where to try it: El Guero Canelo, multiple locations in Tucson and Phoenix

1. Chicago dog from Chicago

Photo: Cody Engel/Shutterstock

There’s no better form of tube of meat between a bun than the Chicago dog. It’s made with an all-beef, natural casing dog topped with peppers, mustard, relish, onion, tomato, celery salt, and a whole pickle spear. All of that is squeezed into a poppy seed bun. Each bite is a harmony of flavors and textures that play off each other in a way both heavenly and sinfully indulgent.

The combo was cooked up in the melting pot of Chicago in the 1920s and bolstered with vegetables (or “dragged through the garden”) during the lean Depression years. Today, hot dog stands serving up traditional Chicago dogs are a staple in the city and its surrounding suburbs.

To understand what makes it so good, you have to start with the pickle. The spear runs parallel to the dog in the bun like two inseparable best friends, adding extra crunch to each bite. The short peppers add more vinegar tang and a touch of heat while the tomato and onion keep it fresh. A soft poppy seed bun is essential. It doesn’t add a whole lot of flavor, but it’s hard to call it a Chicago dog without those little specks getting stuck in your teeth.

While it’s hard for me to get behind some of Chicago’s other food styles (what’s with the pizza?), the Windy City is undeniably the home of the best hot dog style in the US.

Where to try it: Byron’s, 1701 W. Lawrence Avenue Chicago, IL 60640