My Review of El Guero Canelo in Tucson
It seems like each different city in the United States has its own variation of a hot dog. We’ve got Chicago-style, New York-style, Fenway franks, Carolina-style, and tons of other types of hot dogs.
For a food that’s so simple, it’s incredible how many different ways people have created to make a hot dog.
In Tucson, Arizona, they feature the Sonoran-style hot dog.
It’s actually one of the most distinct food items you’ll find in Tucson.
El Guero Canelo opened in 1993 and has three locations in the Tucson area. Daniel Contreras opened the original restaurant and is still very active in the day-to-day operations of all three stores. You might have seen him and his restaurant at some point on Man vs. Food or Food Wars, where Daniel and El Guero Canelo were featured for the famous Sonoran hot dogs.
I figured if I was going to have a Sonoran dog in Tucson, this would be the place to do it.
One thing I loved about having lunch at El Guero Canelo was that it seems to be a place that appeals to people from all different backgrounds. I was behind an older couple in line as I waited to order, then found a table next to a group of construction workers, and picked out different salsas from the salsa bar along with a group of women in business suits. You could tell everyone fits in here.
The thing that stood out to me most about these Sonoran dogs from El Guero Canelo was the bread the dogs are served on. I read Daniel Contreras owns his own bakery, which bakes all the buns used for the hot dogs at El Guero Canelo, and I could really taste the difference. These buns were light, fluffy but held up perfectly for the meat and all the other toppings.
It reminded me of eating pigs in a blanket. If that doesn’t make you all happy inside, I don’t know what to tell you.
The only thing that was a little disappointing about these hot dogs was the bacon. I didn’t think it had much flavor and wouldn’t have known it was there if not for doing my research about Sonoran dogs prior to my meal.
I was also really intrigued by one of the side items at El Guero Canelo. I noticed people grabbing bulbs of green onions out of a container near the salsa bar, and I joined the masses and also put a couple on a plate. They were served hot and had been grilled in the kitchen and then put out as a side for anyone interested.
I had no idea how to eat them, but watched the locals beside me who made short work of eating the bulb. I chomped down on one and was very impressed. The onion flavor wasn’t nearly as overpowering as I thought it might be. I look forward to trying this on the grill at home.
To spend most of the week eating conference food, I loved having the opportunity to visit El Guero Canelo. Being able to eat a couple Sonoran dogs while being surrounded by Tucson locals was a great experience.
If I lived in Tucson, I’d be right there with them more often.
Find out more about my time in Tucson by checking out my Tucson travel page.
El Guero Canelo
2480 N. Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85705