Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way, is also grilling hot dogs today as part of its Fourth of July picnic from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission is $4 (free for those under 4). An additional $4 will get you a hot dog, chips and a drink. Singer-songwriter Robyn Landis will perform. More info at 326-9686 Ext. 10.


July is National Hot Dog Month, which is not really a stretch given that:

A: It's summertime and hot dogs, grilled on an open flame or around the campfire, are as ubiquitous this time of year as watermelon (July is also National Watermelon Month.)

B: It's baseball season and no trip to a ballpark is quite complete without a hot dog.

And C: Today is the Fourth of July and what goes better with fireworks and patriotic odes than a hot dog slathered in yellow mustard with a slick of dill relish?

Not too keen about standing in front of a blazing grill on a 100-degree-plus Tucson summer day?

Here are a few options:

• Pat's Drive-In, 1202 W. Niagara St., 624-0891. Best known for its chili dogs, Pat's is the big dog in Tucson's hot-dog kennel. It's been around since 1955. All-beef hot dogs. Prices start at $1.85.

• Luke's Italian Beef, 4444 E. Grant Road, 321-9236; 101 E. Fort Lowell Road, 888-8066; 1615 S. Alvernon Way, 747-8399; 2645 E. Speedway, 795-6060; and 6741 N. Thornydale Road, Marana, 877-7897. Luke's dresses them up Chicago style, with relish and peppers. The Kosher beef dogs start at $4.25, served with fries.

• Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, 3725 W. Orange Grove Road, Marana, 989-0314; and 7120 E. Broadway, 298-9337. The Vienna all-beef dogs, grilled crispy outside and juicy inside, are wrapped in a pillowy soft bun for $2.49.

• Southwest Desert Dogs, 5214 E. Pima St., 388-0125. This is the place to go for dogs of every breed, from the regional fave Sonoran dog to wieners dressed in Texas twang, fanciful BLT and Chicago chile relish. Prices are between $3 and $4.

• Fatdogs, 4500 N. Oracle Road in the Tucson Mall; 909-6943. The home of the foot-long Sonoran dog, but you can get them dressed New York, Chicago or chili style, ranging from $2.89 to $9.29 for a 3-plus-pound ultimate Chicago dog.

• El Guero Canelo, 5201 S. 12th Ave., 295-9005; 2480 N. Oracle Road, 882-8977; and 5802 E. 22nd St., 790-6000. Born as a hot-dog cart, El Guero has been featured several times on national TV and put Tucson on the map as America's Sonoran hot dog capital. Prices start at $2.64.

• BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs, 2650 N. First Ave., 207-2245; 5118 S. 12th Ave., 295-0105. In a 2010 showdown on the Travel Channel's "Food Wars," BK beat El Guero in the Sonoran hot dog challenge. Dogs are $2.99.

Did you know?

During hot-dog season - from Memorial Day to Labor Day - Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs, which works out to 818 hot dogs every second.

Source: National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@azstarnet.com or 573-4642.