An Italian hot dog is a type of hot dog popular in New Jersey, United States.
There are numerous ways to prepare an Italian hot dog. The basic dish consists of a cooked (usually deep-fried) hot dog placed in an Italian roll or pizza bread, and topped with a combination of fried bell peppers, onions, and potatoes. Many New Jerseyans view the Italian Hot Dog as their state's answer to the Philly Cheesesteak or other regional sandwiches.
James "Buff" Racioppi,founder of Jimmy Buff's in Newark, New Jersey, reportedly invented the Italian hot dog in 1932.
In New Jersey there are many variations on the original Italian hot dog, typically involving replacing the hot dog with another meat such as sausage, cheesesteak, hamburger, or chicken. Sometimes french fries are used in places of the potatoes. Commonly, the dogs are dressed with spicy mustard and ketchup. One popular variant in Belleville uses two long hot dogs, french fries (thick wedges), fried peppers, and onions, topped with tomato sauce and placed in a pizza bread roll. The roll, spelled "apizza" and pronounced "abeetz", is cut along the side into a pocket.
In 2010, the Travel Channel's ''Food Wars'' traveled to Kenilworth, NJ to stage a showdown between Jimmy Buff's and Charlies Hot Dogs. The two restaurants are a few blocks apart and Charlie's was declared champion by the Food Wars three-person panel.
A&W Hot Dogs and More used to sell an Italian dog which consisted of a polish sausage in a hot dog bun, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.