Half smokes are hot dogs combined with sausage and well, let’s just say other stuff. Whatever, it just tastes good. They’re bigger and tastier than regular hot dogs.
I used to order half smokes from stands when traveling around the country and people looked at me like I was crazy. I couldn’t understand why until learning half smokes are a Washington thing. Who knew we were so cultured? Other places have different sausages that are like half smokes, but only Washingtonians make them the right way. They may be on a street cart in the city, but probably not.
The mecca of half smokes is Ben’s Chili Bowl at 1213 U St. N.W. President Obama ate one there. It’s a local joint that has good food and better atmosphere where everyone with the price of a dog is welcome. Ben’s also has a stand at Nationals Park during baseball season.
Ben’s specialty is putting chili on half smokes. A lot of people like onions and mustard. You might want a breath mint after eating one.
Personally, I prefer them without chili. Just ketchup and mustard for me. But, if you want the real experience, order a half smoke with the works at Ben’s.