A Northern Michigan cookout is best with fresh-from-the-garden sides (well worth a slaw and potato salad betrayal), local butcher shop meats and a couple of Up North mustards that pack heat. Time to eat watermelon with your hands, squeak into fresh green beans and fire up a frank at the end of a stick. Here’s how to have the greatest hot dog roast of all time.

Menu for 12

Where to Find the Best Hot Dogs in Northern Michigan

In some circles, hot dogs are hotly debated. Skinless or natural casing? Plain or stuffed plump with jalapeños and cheese? Tender or with a nice snap? In Northern Michigan, you have ample opportunity to find the dog that speaks best to you. Here is a world of small-town butcher shops (some of them around for almost a century), each devising a homemade version of the finest weenie around.

Bayside Market | 1532 N US Highway 31 N, Traverse City

Regular, cheese and cheese-jalapeño.

Bunting’s Cedar Market | 9054 Kasson St., Cedar

Plain, cheese, turkey, jalapeño, chili-cheese and kraut.

Burritt’s Fresh Market | 509 W Front St., Traverse City

Plain, chili-cheese.

Deering’s Food Market | 827 S Union St., Traverse City

Homemade plain, cheese, jalapeño-Swiss, chili, garlic dogs, Cajun and all-beef.

Hansen Foods | 91 West 4th St., Suttons Bay

Regular and cheesy.

Maxbauer Specialty Meat Market | 407 South Union, Traverse City

Original, German, chili-cheese and hunter (hot).

Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe | 1224 N 2nd Ave., Alpena

Five generations of sausage making. Old World German wieners seasoned with ginger, mustard, honey and rum. Over 80 homemade specialties.

Oleson’s Food Stores | stores in Traverse City, Charlevoix, Petoskey

Homemade buffalo hot dogs, slightly sweeter than beef franks.

Plath’s Meats | 116 S. Third St., Rogers City + 2200 E. Mitchell, Petoskey

Cheese, regular, Polish-style.

Sanders Meats | 237 S. Main, Custer

Since 1925. Club frank and red hot.

Mustards Made in Northern Michigan

Ramp up your cookout with even more flavor in the form of local mustards.

Brownwood Farms‘ matriarch made her sweet, tangy Kream Mustard on the shores of Torch Lake in 1945, and it’s been spooned on Up North hot dogs ever since.

American Spoon just released Wildflower Honey Mustard. It’s hot and sweet and made with real butter. Try the Cranberry Mustard for a tangy zest or the Whole Seed Mustard for a more classic topping.

Harwood Gold makes an Old Gold Chardonnay Maple Mustard (yellow mustard seeds marinated in oaky chardonnay with shallots finished in pure maple syrup) and Horseradish Maple Mustard (sweet smooth maple and spicy hot horseradish).

Food for Thought is also getting creative with flavors. Try the Maple Cream Mustard, Spicy IPA Mustard, Beer and Honey Mustard, or Organic Cherry Honey Mustard.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski