By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
Updated July 23, 2015
Credit: Tina Rupp

The hot dog is a meal so simple and convenient we often take it for granted. But every hot dog has its day, and that day (thanks to the very real National Hot Dog & Sausage Council) is July 23rd—otherwise known as National Hot Dog Day.

So in celebration of the cylindrical sandwich (and with a nod to Mitch Albom) let’s take a look The Five Hot Dogs You Meet In Heaven:

1. The Grilled Dog

Whether you like them perfectly plumped and perspiring their meaty juices or charred, black and crispy, this is the baseline for everyone’s hot dog experience. Grilled dogs are usually made with love and lighter fluid, and served up with a side of community at family reunions, Fourth of July festivities, or camping trips roasting over open flames. Sure, you may have had them boiled before, but this meeting of meat and coal remains the first hot dog dragon worth chasing.

2. The Footlong

The only thing better than a hot dog is more hot dog. While rarer to find, the footlong is standard at amusement parks and baseball stadiums nationwide. The association with a day of midway games and rides or perhaps bonding with a relative while cheering on your ridiculous minor league team makes the special size of this dog seem even more magical. Even if the home team loses, polishing off one of these along with a plastic hat full of ice cream makes you a winner.

3. The Corn Dog

For many of us the corn dog is an important early entrée into the world of sweet and savory cuisine. Tailor-made for the county fair or strolling the boardwalk, corn dogs take the convenience of the hot dog to the next level by making the whole operation vertical thus streamlining the food-to-mouth process. While replacing the bun with batter may seem like a small adjustment, it’s a crispy, golden combination that causes a lifetime of it’s own unique cravings.

4. The Dirty Water Dog

Whether an act of drunken desperation or sheer ignorance, we all chow down on a stray dog from the street at some point in our lives. Consumed perhaps while visiting the big city over summer break or while staggering home from the bar on a weeknight, these are usually utility eats. If you’re a New Yorker, knowing the least objectionable cart to go bobbing for one of these dogs can even be a point of pride.

5. The Gourmet Dog

As a kid you likely preferred a dry dog, ketchup only, or (if you were raised right) just mustard. But as life gets more complex, so too must your hot dog persuasions. The rise of food trucks and popularity of gastropubs has led to exotic innovations. What better way to show off than by hot-dogging your hot dog? Topped with pineapple or queso fresco, masquerading as a bahn mi, or just replacing the kosher frank with wieners made of venison or rattlesnake, the hot dog has elevated itself to an art form. Check out every version of gourmet dog you could ever want over here.

Bonus—The Hot Dog You Meet In Hell: The Stuffed-In-A-Pizza-Crust Dog

Overshadowed by sauce and cheese, hidden in dough, forced to play second fiddle to it’s meat-cousins sausage and pepperoni, this poor hot dog never had a chance. What have you done, poor hot dog, that you must suffer so? While we celebrate National Hot Dog Day, we must not forget the fallen. Pray for this puppy, may it rest in peace.