There used to be a time when hot dogs, peanuts and perhaps some Cracker Jacks were about as exciting as ballpark food got. Then, seemingly overnight, everything changed. Maybe it was Instagram. Maybe some executive at Aramark – the food-management behemoth that runs concessions at a number of Major League stadiums – took her kids to the state fair and got inspired. Who knows. But we eventually reached an age when Cracker Jack-topped hot dogs became a thing, and they were covered in mac and cheese, jalapeños and caramel sauce.
Thankfully, that monstrosity has left Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, along with Atlanta’s deeply upsetting Burgerizza (a 1 ¼-pound beef patty topped with cheddar cheese and served between two pepperoni pizzas) and Kansas City’s pulled pork, fried onions, cheese and bacon sandwiched between two funnel cakes.
Yes, those culinary disasters are resting in peace, waiting to be recreated by some Youtube cooking star with a penchant for high calorie counts, but the overall trend of bizarre ballpark foods seems to be here to stay.
They may be slightly less weird than the menu items of years’ past, but here are some of 2018’s strangest stadium foods:
Globe Life Park | Texas Rangers | Dilly Dog
Texas’ list of new 2018 menu items reads like a rag-tag group of state fair rejects. Among the unusual suspects is the Triple B (a bologna, brisket and bacon sandwich), a deep-fried, potato-encrusted chicken sandwich and a Cheetos jalapeño bacon dog. But our top vote for the most unlikely concession stand hero has got to be the Dilly Dog – a cored pickle, stuffed with a hot dog, dipped in corn dog batter and deep fried. And yes, they’re apparently wildly popular, because Texas. One can only dream that somewhere in section 226, there’s a hot dog guy roaming the stairs selling these bad boys by screaming “Dilly Dilly!”
Coors Field | Colorado Rockies | Rocky Mountain Oyster Po’Boy
Congratulations, Coloradans. For yet another year, you can stroll on down to Coors Field, grab a beer, take your score card out, enjoy the view and shove a sandwich full of testicles in your mouth. If you’ve never eaten bull testicles before, they’re way better than they sound, but if you don’t trust me, know that the testicles inside the stadium’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Po’Boy are deep fried and stuffed in a roll before being smothered in enough garlic slaw, guacamole, green chili ranch, pico de gallo and cotija cheese that you you’ll be able to tell yourself they taste just like chicken.
Progressive Field | Cleveland Indians| The Flamethrower
Cleveland, you’re messing with us, right? Progressive Field’s menu seems to have been devised by a master troll. If it weren’t enough that the stadium sells the Killer Kilbane, a hot dog topped with relish, sriracha and peanut butter (no, seriously, that’s a thing you can eat here), this year the park announced its newest crazy offering: The Flamethrower. This unlikely concoction seems like something dreamed up by a culinary student who drank one too many of those newfangled marijuana beverages all the kids are getting into these days. The sandwich starts out normal enough – if artery clogging – with pulled pork and pork belly. Things start getting a little more adventurous, but actually quite refined, with bacon jam, barbecue sauce and apple slaw. But then things take a turn toward insanity when the sandwich is finished off with a heaping mound of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Dodger Stadium | L.A. Dodgers | Dodger Burger
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"Dodger Burger" My favorite new food items at Dodger Stadium. . 1/3 lb special blend Angus patty, topped off with a Dodger Dog, caramelized onions, @budweiser barbecue sauce, and beer battered jalapeños. . Opening Day is April 3rd against the San Diego @Padres. . #mediapreview #dodgers #dodgerstadium #dodgerburger #budwiserbbqsauce #dodgerdog #dodgerstadiumfood #baseballfood #openingday
Don’t let the deceivingly normal name fool you. This so-called burger is nothing of the sort. It’s more like a bar sampler platter stuffed between two buns: a burger and hot dog topped with jalapeño poppers and covered in caramelized onions and BBQ sauce. It’s hard to imagine a world in which this Frankensteinan nightmare equals the sum of its parts, but it’s back for another season, so somebody apparently likes it.
Comerica Park | Detroit Tigers | Detroit Coney Deep Dish Pizza
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We went to the Detroit Tigers game today at Comerica Park! What a great game & a gorgeous day. We had Little Caesar's coney pizza! Actually, it was really good. I had my doubts, I'm not a huge fan of Little Caesar's pizza in general. The coney sauce was on the crust, replacing pizza sauce. It had a good flavor to it. The hot dog pieces on top tasted good as well, just not very many of them on the pizza. The onions & mustard made it all come together. We really enjoyed it! #detroit #comericapark #coneypizza #foodie #tigersbaseball #goodeats #sundayfunday
As a Detroit native, whose favorite food is pizza and who worked for years as a waiter slinging coney dogs, this one is particularly upsetting for me. Above all other foods, Detroit is probably known for two: its square pizza, which has recently started making waves across the country, and the iconic coney dog – a simple hot dog topped with chili, mustard and raw onions. When eaten properly, both of these foods can be otherworldly: and it’s not difficult to eat either of them properly. There is really only one wrong way to eat Detroit pizza or coney dogs and that is together. Yet, Comerica Park’s Little Caesar’s – the international chain founded by late Tigers owner Mike Illich – sells pan pizzas covered in chili and cheese and topped hot dog slices, onions and mustard. Sacrilege. Somewhere Hank Greenberg is rolling over in his grave.
Safeco Field | Seattle Mariners | Grasshoppers
There’s nothing inherently weird about this one. While other items on this list appear to have been created by blindly picking a bunch of menu items out of hat and then throwing them together inside of a bun, grasshoppers are an extremely simple food that’s enjoyed by millions of people in Mexico. Grasshoppers – or chapulines, as they’re called south of the border – are really only strange because Americans have an arbitrary aversion toward eating insects. But by the time the Mariners’ first home series was over last year, Safeco reportedly sold 18,000 of these toasted bugs dusted with chili lime salt. And, unlike the rest of the items on this list, grasshoppers are actually great for you and the environment – in fact, they just might save the world.