Cinco de Mayo & the Sonoran Hot Dog

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May 2, 2014

Cinco de Mayo is a yearly celebration held on May 5th. It originated with Mexican/American communities in the western states of America as a way to memorialize the freedom and democracy obtained during the first few years of the Civil War. Today the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

In the city of Tucson, Arizona the Sonoran hot dog has become a tradition in both residents and visitors. The first Sonoran hot dog restaurant was El Guero Canelo, run by two brothers. After some time, an argument ensued when one brother wanted to make changes to the now famous Sonoran dog. They parted ways and the second brother opened BK Carne Asada and Hot Dog right down the street from the original El Guero Canelo restaurant. El Gero Canelo prides itself on staying true to tradition while BK’s has taken liberties with the condiments. Today, over 10,000 hot dogs are sold every week at BK’s.

Each restaurant has a side bar that serves grilled green onions, radishes, several different kinds of salsa’s, cucumber and extra cheese. These 2 restaurants have been featured on many television food networks and shows, and just about every Tucsonan and most visitors have taken the Sonoran hot dog taste test. BK’s has come out on top, just slightly better rated than El Guero Canelo.

So, what is the Sonoran hot dog? Here is a recipe that has been matched as closely as possible to those made at the famous restaurants.


  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 8 all-beef hot dogs (fat ones work better than long ones)
  • 8 slices extra-thin bacon
  • 8 torpedo rolls or bolillos
  • 1/2 cup warm pinto beans or refried beans
  • 1 cup guacamole (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup grated jack or cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup Salsa Verde (homemade or store bought)


  1. Mix mayonnaise, Tabasco, and lemon juice and pour into a squeeze bottle.
  2. Wrap hot dogs with bacon slices, covering completely. Grill or broil them, rolling hot dogs until bacon is crunchy on all sides, about 7 minutes.
  3. Cut a pocket into buns to form a “boat” and toast them in oven or on a grill.
  4. When hot dogs are cooked, divide beans and guacamole among eight rolls, spooning them inside pocket and spreading on either side of rolls.
  5. Spread cheese down the middle.
  6. Using tongs put one piping-hot bacon-wrapped hot dog into pocket of each roll.
  7. Top each with onions and tomatoes.
  8. Spread Salsa Verde across top.
  9. Apply mayonnaise blend in squiggles over tops of hot dogs.

And if you ever get to Tucson, be sure to take the Sonoran hot dog taste test for yourself.

photo credit: alykat via photopin cc

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