I’ve had a craving to get a fast food hot dog for a while now. Don’t ask me why; I get pregnant woman-esque cravings for random foods all the time. Since my local KFC/A&W hybrid went all Colonel all the time and there’s not a Wienerschnitzel close enough for my satisfaction, my only option is Sonic Drive-In.
What got me from “Gee, I should get a hot dog” to “Oh damn, I need that hot dog NOW” was Sonic’s Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. I think Sonic’s website describes it best: “Coney lovers won’t want to miss this footlong quarter pound hot dog topped with warm chili, crunchy FRITOS® chips, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, sliced jalapeños and zesty Southwest chipotle sauce all inside a soft, warm bakery bun.”
That’s a holy hell of a lot of toppings on a hot dog! Of course, my eyeballs immediately zoned in on the “Fritos” part. Sonic has had a Fritos Chili Cheese Wrap on the menu for a long time now, and I’ve always wanted to try it, just because it sounded ridiculous. It wasn’t until I watched some random episode of King of the Hill quite a few years ago that I realized Frito pie is a real thing, that real people actually eat. I blame Texas. You can blame Peggy Hill for me blaming Texas.
Armed with minimal knowledge of Frito pie, the Frito Wrap seemed mildly less ridiculous, but only in the way lutefisk seems less ridiculous just because it is real and exists outside the realm of unicorns and leprechauns. Lutefisk is still fish soaked in lye, and Frito pie is still a pie made with motherfucking Fritos. Humans are silly.
Reinforcing my judgmental glare towards Texas, I’m assuming the “Tex” part of Sonic’s Coney dog is the Fritos, chili and cheese, while the “Mex” is covered by the jalapeños and Southwest chipotle sauce. The onions straddle the middle, keeping Tex from pointing a shotgun at Mex and telling it to go back to where it came from and quit taking Americans’ jobs. Ouch. Topical.
Hot-button political issues aside, I had to try this hot dog. So I drove to my nearest Sonic, which weirds me out every time I go there. First of all, they have those car stalls where you park and place your order and somebody comes out on rollerblades and gives you a tray with all your Frito pie wraps and shit. If you’re going to commit to pretending it’s still 1956, why not have them wear roller skates? And didn’t rollerblades become passe in the 1990s? Sonic, you’re all over the place.
Second of all, if you want to be a self-respecting person and get your food at the drive-thru so you can take it home and engorge yourself in privacy, you still have to deal with the carhops. Instead of handing you your bag of grease through a window, you shout your order into the metal box and then drive up two car lengths, park, and wait for your food to be delivered to you via said carhop, who has to skate over three feet of concrete and then awkwardly step into the decorative bed of shrubs and rocks at the curb, struggling not to faceplant as she hands you your food and gives you your change via an attractive coinholder apron.
I felt bad for my carhop. I had to wait 15 minutes to get my food, and when she apologized for the wait, I told her it was okay, because I’m generally a nice person and she seemed pretty frazzled. Also, she was cute. She then thanked me for being so nice, and launched into a story about the car in front of me, who complained that their food was cold, made her get new food, then told her they were going to call someone to complain about their wait and demanded an unknown quantity of free food upon their next visit. She also said her feet were very tired. I felt bad for her, and wished her a better rest of the day. In hindsight, I probably should have tipped her. You’re probably supposed to tip carhops, and I was probably getting a sob story for a better tip. Sorry, cute girl, I suck at carhop etiquette.
Three paragraphs of curmudgeonly complaining about Sonic’s food delivery method aside, let’s get to the actual hot dog, shall we?
Okay, so first off, I did not take the moniker of “footlong” seriously until I slid this bad boy out of its foil pouch when I got home. Please see my wooden ruler that I probably stole from school in third grade for proof. This Coney is serious business. I was immediately hit with the strong smell of onions and jalapeños, which elicited a Pavlovian saliva response in my mouth.
I have never seen such a large hot dog. And so loaded with toppings! They certainly didn’t skimp on anything. I wasn’t even sure how to tackle the beast. After a few moments of contemplation, I just went for it. I had to actually use one hand to hold the end and the other to support the middle, or else the whole thing would have flopped over, spilling all the toppings and making me the saddest person holding a malfunctioned footlong hot dog.
I have to say, I love the Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. It feels so wrong, but it tastes so right. Amazingly, with all those toppings, almost all of the flavors have their own time to shine. You taste the spicy jalapeño first, along with the onion, which delivers a great crunch. As you chew more, the cheese and the chili come through. The chili is that thinner kind of chili that I just love on a hot dog. After you get through the chili, you hit the hot dog. I had my doubts about the quality of the hot dog, but it was actually really tasty. I wanna say it tasted like a dirty water dog, but I’m not a hot dog expert (yet), so don’t hold me to that.
The two ingredients that didn’t shine were the Fritos and the Southwest chipotle sauce. By the time I got my Tex Mex Coney home, the Fritos were already mostly soggy. They did contribute a corn flavor that I liked, which surprised me, but I would have appreciated some crunch from the chips. Luckily, the onions were bright and fresh, and made up for the crunch that the chips didn’t deliver. I managed to get a little of the chipotle sauce on my hand (well, actually, I got pretty much everything on my hands), and it was tasty, although a little too subtle on the chipotle. For this reason, the sauce absolutely disappeared when eating the hot dog itself. I think it faded into the flavor of the chili, which was disappointing. I wish I could just take some of that sauce home and put it on a plain hot dog to see how it would taste on its own.
Despite these two minor failings, I am crazy about Sonic’s Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. There was no way I could finish it in one serving, but I tried my best. Afterward, my stomach was…unsettled. Not nauseous, not “get ready for your bowels to punish you for eating such a monstrosity”, just sort of churning. I felt like my stomach was confused. It wasn’t sure what to do with so much craziness. Even despite this, I went back to the fridge two more times to take just a few more bites. Even a little cold, I still loved it. I was a slave to the Tex Mex Coney.
Texas has two stupid sayings: “Everything’s bigger in Texas” and “Don’t mess with Texas”. While I want to punch anyone who ever says these things in the face, they apply to the Tex Mex Footlong Quarter Pound Coney. It’s a giant hot dog with tons of toppings, and if you are not ready to get messy and ridiculous, this Coney is not for you. But if you’re like me, a person willing to eat a hot dog with corn chips on it that’s the size of my forearm, I urge you to try it. Just don’t make any plans for the rest of the day, because you will be rendered incapable of moving and also chugging down gallons of water due to the insane sodium content.
Also note that this is a limited time offer, so you better get moving (if you want to be rendered incapable of moving)!
- Score: 4.5 out of 5 carhop faceplants
- Price: $3.69
- Size: 1 giant fuckoff footlong quarter pound Coney hot dog
- Purchased at: Sonic #3517
- Nutritional Quirks: Contains 80.1 grams of fat, which is 15.1 grams more than you’re supposed to have IN ONE DAY. Also contains 2,551 milligrams of sodium, which is almost twice that of the Double Down and also exceeds the daily recommended intake for one full day. YEE-HAW!