A Sonoran style hotdog is a thing of beauty. Fast food at its finest! Some may turn their nose up at this so called ‘junk food’. But long before the current bacon fad, enterprising food cart owners in Hermosillo had welcomed natures’ one perfect food onto a bun, where it belonged.
Interestingly, there are probably more Sonoran hotdog stands in Tucson and South Phoenix than in all of Sonora. But that’s how cross pollination goes. The outcome can be hard to anticipate – like the story of how hotdogs were first introduced to Mexico.
Weather this story is completely true remains a mystery. Supposedly, a Gringo entrepreneur saw an opportunity to introduce the then unknown snack to the un-tapped market of depression era Mexico City. His well-trained, immaculately dressed staff stood ready to serve the crowd as they came out of the stadium after a bull fight. The shiny, new cart attracted attention as planned, the owner hovering nearby waiting to see the response.
Market research being in it’s infancy in those days, no thought was given to the fact that serving something called ‘Perros Calientes’, hot dogs in Spanish, might be taken literally. The indignant and furious crowd tore the cart apart and chased the innocent servers for blocks. Being just far enough away not to be noticed, Mexicos’ first hotdog entrepreneur was able to pull his hat down over his eyes and casually walk back to his hotel to re-write the business plan.
Something new is a risk. That’s what I was thinking as I ordered “la Mumia”, the Mummy, at El Jefe Sonoran Style Hotdogs. The friendly man with the booming voice behind the grill, El Jefe himself, tells me “Try it, It’s different”.
El Jefe is a night time place, busy with families out for a treat, or late nighters grabbing a snack on the way home. You can get hamburgers, they’re good. But the dogs are just right – Fries on the side, sweet smelling grilled onions and peppers if you want them, soft, puffy buns, and of course the dog, wrapped tight in shiny, oily bacon. A row of silver bowls offers condiments like relish, chopped tomatoes, nacho cheese sauce, even mushrooms. If you don’t order a Coke with this, you are crazy. All these things I knew about. But what was ‘La Mumia’?
I took the basket from El Jefes’ hand, studying it in the light of a heat lamp. I knew I had to try it to know what I really had. A shot of salsa, and over to my table to take the first bite.
Sometimes the simple things make the biggest difference. Here was my beloved Sonoran Dog, but wrapped in a tortilla. With cheese inside. AND MORE BACON! Yeah, it was as great as it sounds. Who knows, maybe in twenty years, no one will think twice about throwing some Mumias on the grill to celebrate The Fourth?
El Jefe is located on Blvd Kino, just a block off of Benito Juarez by the railroad crossing.
Open from 7:00pm to 1:00am. Approximately!
Dollars and Pesos accepted