El Güero Canelo
Four words. Followed by three words. Four words: I dislike hot dogs. The three words? El Güero Canelo.
You’re probably wondering what on earth these things have to do with each other? Well, El Güero Canelo offers a Sonoran Hot Dog that is absolutely delicious. When a colleague of mine mentioned the Sonoran Hot Dogs in Tucson, I couldn’t quite believe how a hot dog could be so good. I promised to try one sometime. That was 6 years ago. Two weekends ago, I finally had a Sonoran Hot Dog. This thing was so good that I think I even dreamt about it that night.
And all this time, I thought this was a Tucson-only thing. Turns out, you can apparently find these in Phoenix, too- I just had no idea until I started telling people about how good it was and they began telling me all the places in the valley to get one. It also turns out, that El Güero Canelo has a handful of locations…including in Phoenix! I might be in trouble.
Now to what you’re really wondering-what exactly is a Sonoran Hot Dog? Imagine a soft, pillowy hot dog bun that’s really fluffy and closed on both ends to in order to create a little vessel that you can really pile food into and then imagine a hot dog wrapped in bacon placed in the bottom of it as the base. Then, you top it off with pinto beans, cooked onions, tomatoes, jalapeño sauce, mustard, mayonnaise and served with a roasted pepper on the side. I might even be missing some ingredients in the Sonoran Hot Dog but I think I got them all. This thing was seriously so good.
We also got some street tacos on the side which were really tasty as well. The meat was cooked well and wasn’t fatty at all (sometimes you get the ends of the meat in street tacos and it’s the fatty part. I hate that). You got to pick your own sides to dress the tacos up as you like, just like you would in Mexico. One thing that was different about this place is that they also sell soda in the bottle. I don’t drink soda anymore. In fact, I hadn’t had one in over a year by the time we visited this spot but I couldn’t resist getting a Pepsi in a bottle made with real sugar. It was good…and not as sweet as I expected considering I hadn’t had a soda in a year. They recycle the glass bottles as well so when you’re done, you just place it in the crate instead of the trash.
We visited the one at 5201 S. 12th Ave. in Tucson but there are a handful of locations in Tucson and one in Phoenix.
El Güero Canelo began when Daniel Contreras (born in Magdalena, Sonora in 1961) opened his first hot dog stand in Tucson in 1993. According to their website, he owns and operates three El Guero Canelo restaurants and a meat market in Tucson, and a bakery and tortilla factory in Magdalena. At the location we visited, they have a mural stretching around the brick wall that wraps around the parking lot that outlines their history, which is really cool.
If you’re visiting Tucson or near the location in Phoenix (51st AVe/McDowell), stop in and get one of the Sonoran Hot Dogs. Even if you don’t normally like hot dogs, you will think twice after experiencing one of these. The food is quality and super tasty and the staff was really friendly (and efficient!) as well. You really can’t go wrong by stopping at El Güero Canelo to get a good, authentic Sonora-style meal. If you live in Tucson, I assume you already are well-versed with this spot. If not, give ’em a try. They certainly will not disappoint.
Have a great weekend!