When I think of Los Angeles street food, I think of hot dogs. The smell of bacon-wrapped dogs, sautéed onions, and peppers being grilled on the streets of L.A by an unlicensed vendor is something I can’t forget. These dogs, known as “danger dogs” or “dirt dogs” are unique to Los Angeles. If you have been to any event in the city, whether a Lakers game at Staples Center or a show on Hollywood Boulevard, then you know what I’m talking about.
The inspiration for Dirt Dog came from these hot dog carts even as they were technically illegal and often raided by the police or health department. They were known as dirt dogs because they were cooked on the streets as passing cars would kick up dirt and dust onto the grills. But, these delicious sweet and savory dogs were worth the risk and are today an iconic part of the Los Angeles food scene.
Today, Dirt Dog continues the tradition of these food carts but elevates the hot dogs to a new level with high quality ingredients and over-the-top toppings. Dirt Dog now operates three locations in the Los Angeles area along with two locations in Las Vegas. On my recent visit to Las Vegas, I finally tried Dirt Dog at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Horseshoe on the Las Vegas Strip for the first time. But, would it live up to the hype?
Looking for more cheap eats on the Las Vegas Strip? Be sure to check out my post on 14 of the best cheap eats on the Las Vegas Strip.If you are looking for more information about Las Vegas, I highly recommend picking up a guidebook such as Fodor's Las Vegas or the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2020.
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Waiting in Line
Though hidden down a narrow alley at the Grand Bazaar Shops in front of Horseshoe, formerly Bally’s, on the Las Vegas Strip, I wasn’t surprised to find a line at Dirt Dog. Since this was my first time trying it, I didn’t mind waiting in line. The experience of waiting in line for street food brought back memories of my travels to Asia. Luckily, the line moved fast thanks to the well trained staff.
While waiting in line, I enjoyed watching the chefs in the kitchen as they prepared dog after dog. Their black t-shirts which read “The Hype is Real” got me excited and hungry as I made my way closer and closer to the front. After 15 minutes, I reached the front of the line. From here, I placed my order with the friendly cashier who recommended her favorite items. After paying, I was handed a receipt and told to listen for my name when my food was ready. With lively music coming out of the small kitchen, I really had to listen closely. After only a few minutes, my name was called.
Being a street food stall, there was no dedicated seating area other than a few scattered tables found around the Grand Bazaar Shops. If you can’t find a place to eat, walk across the street to the Bellagio. From here, you can enjoy your food and the fountain show.
Dirt Dog Menu
The menu at Dirt Dog was small and straight to the point. The simple menu, posted above the cashier, kept the line moving. You had seven different bacon-wrapped dogs and six types of fries along with corn and desserts. All bacon-wrapped dogs were made with a premium lobster roll bun.
Deciding which dog to order was the hardest part. They all looked great. Can’t decide what to order? I was told the Elote Dog and the Pastrami Dog were two of the most popular items on the menu.
While there were many great options on the Dirt Dog menu, I chose the Elote Dog ($9.25). This unique bacon-wrapped dog was made with corn, lime, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, cilantro, and bacon bits.
I couldn’t believe the amount of toppings piled on top of the premium lobster roll bun. The toppings were the king of this dog. It looked messy and filling and I couldn’t wait to dig in. The lobster roll bun, which was pillowy on the inside and grilled on the outside, held up to the last bite. It held up even with the insane amounts of cheese, mayo, corn, and bacon on top.
While hard to see, at the core of this dog was a 100% Premium All Beef Nathan’s 5/1 dog wrapped in center cut bacon. The beef frank was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside with a rich and smoky flavor. The bacon, while so thin I almost didn’t notice it, added more richness and saltiness along with a chewy texture.
A generous amount of crumbly, salty cotija cheese could be found on top of the dog. A layer of creamy rich mayonnaise, tart lime juice, and sweet corn complemented the saltiness of the cheese. Being an elote dog, the corn might have been my favorite component. Not only did it add flavor, but the corn added a crisp yet tender texture that I could taste in every bite. As with the corn, the bacon bits added another layer of crunchy goodness to each bite.
Fresh cilantro and a kick of spicy, smoky chili powder finished off this unique Elote Dog. The combination of flavors and textures between the spicy chili powder, creamy mayo, tart lime, sweet and crisp corn, and crunchy bacon was something special.
Even with a seemingly never ending line out front, the staff at Dirt Dog kept the line moving quickly and efficiently. And, they managed to do this while pumping out dog after dog without missing a beat. The staff, from the cashier to the chefs, were trained well to handle all the customers. Don’t let the line fool you, the wait was worth it.
Though I live in the Los Angeles area, it took me a trip to Las Vegas to finally try Dirt Dog. Though you can’t go wrong with any of the bacon-wrapped dogs on the menu, the Elote Dog was special. Its unique mix of textures and salty, fatty, meaty, rich, and tart flavors made me realize that the wait in line was well worth it. With its unique menu, friendly service, and delicious dogs, I will return to Dirt Dog on my next visit to the Las Vegas Strip.
- Unique selection of bacon-wrapped dogs using 100% Premium All Beef Nathan’s 5/1 Dogs and interesting toppings
- Elevated street food using high quality ingredients
- Friendly and efficient service
- No dedicated seating area
- Always a line
3649 S Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 617, Las Vegas, NV 89109
GPS Coordinates: 36.11379,-115.17169