Sonic loves chili dogs. This is a fact, a truth so undeniable that it should be used as an expression to measure the truth of other statements: Do you want $100? “Does Sonic love chili dogs?” Do you think the new Sonic movie is gonna be insane? “Does Sonic love chili dogs?” Is too much of your brain’s memory occupied by useless Sonic trivia? “Does Sonic love chili dogs?!”
Encroaching hedgehog madness aside, the point is that chili dogs have been a significant part of the Sonic franchise for quite some time, but it wasn’t until I became enamored with this page of the Sonic Wiki, which lists off the different incarnations of chili dogs, that I knew just how great that significance was. There are not one, not two, but nine different chili dog entries on the Sonic Wiki, each from a different continuity and every single one of which I plan to unpack and chronicle. There’s a lot of ground to cover, a lot of wieners to consume and a lot of chili to spill, so without further ado, let’s dig in.
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The Birth of the Hog-Dog
So, where do we begin? Where did the very American idea of Sonic the Hedgehog eating chili dogs come from? The first appearance of Sonic chowing down on some saucy dogs was in Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic, specifically the #0 issue meant to test out if a series based on DiC’s then-in-production Sonic SatAM would be a worthy investment, the issue coming out before SatAM and Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog premiered. Thus, the chili dogs within the first 273 issues of Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic series (and the majority of its spin-off titles) were the first iteration of chili dogs to hit the public. Why only the first 273? I’ll open up that can of chili beans later. For now, let’s look at what the Sonic Wiki page has to offer in regards to Archie Comics’ chili dogs.
In the “History” section, we find that Sonic loves chili dogs is due to Sir Charles Hedgehog, his uncle. A pioneer of Robotization research, Sir Charles left his potentially-lifesaving work behind when he realized it stripped subjects of free will. Naturally, he decided to open up a Chili Dog instead. While working as a delivery boy for this stand, Sonic gained a life-long love of/addiction to chili dogs. In fact, Sonic eating chili dogs was apparently such an important part of the Archie Comics version of the character that when he’d gone without eating one for a while, fans actually wrote in wondering what was going on, a fear that the writers assuaged by stating he was still eating plenty “behind the scenes.”
The history of this iteration of chili dogs isn’t even the best part about it, either. No, that honor belongs to the fact that there is an official Sonic recipe for chili dogs, which you bet your ass I am going to make at home because there’s literally nothing more important to me at this moment than trying Sonic’s secret recipe. I simply must put Sonic’s dogs in my body.
The DiC Dogs
DiC’s Sonic cartoons are what most fans associate with the idea of Sonic loving chili dogs. The first time an animated version of Sonic ate a cartoon chili dog was in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, a habit that would continue in Sonic SatAm and Sonic Underground.
The DiC cartoons’ iterations of chili dogs are perhaps the most sparse wiki entries in the bunch, but what they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog entry, I found that there’s a city of anthropomorphic sausages called Weinerville. Oh, and it’s known for making the best chili dogs on Mobius.
I’m not sure if I’m emotionally mature enough to deal with this information — was Sonic eating Wienerville children the whole time?! Does Weinerville worship Sonic as a deity and thus feed their young to him as a kind of ritual sacrifice meant to appease his never-ending hunger? Is there a rebellion fighting against this abhorrent consumption of young Weinerville-ians?! We may never know.
Moving on to Sonic SatAM, its entry expands upon the story of Uncle Chuck’s chili dog stand. Specifically, the fact that it was destroyed by Dr. Robotnik. So to recap, Chuck’s well-meaning invention of the Roboticizer not only paved the way for Robotnik’s takeover of Mobius, but also resulted in the destruction of what was clearly his more important contribution to the world, his chili dog stand. Oh the tragic irony.
The final chili dog wiki entry from the DiC Sonic Trilogy comes from Sonic Underground, which, as I’ve stated before, was wild. And the chili dogs here are no different: there’s an episode where a cyborg pig serves Sonic up his favorite snack, which is right up there with Wienerville in terms of twisted horror.
Chili-Dogs Unleashed (Or “Night of the Were-Dog”)
For a while, chili dogs were an aspect of the Sonic franchise exclusive to western media, and while DiC’s greatest(?) contribution to the franchise would live on in the Archie comics, the food item was never part of the games. That is, until 2008 — when Sega finally embraced the true word of DiC by incorporating chili dogs and Sonic’s love thereof into the video games, starting with Sonic Unleashed.
Prior to Unleashed, chili dogs were referenced in two previous games: Sonic Advance 3, which mentioned that Sonic loved them in the instruction manual, and Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood — a game that notoriously sparked a lawsuit from longtime Sonic artist and writer Ken Penders for copyright infringement on his Archie Comics contributions. It wasn’t until Sonic Unleashed, however, that chili dogs were featured as an in-game item. In fact, to fully complete the game, you had to unlock the nine different types of variant chili dogs. There are more kinds of dogs in this game than there are Chaos Emeralds.
Chili dogs would appear in two more games: Sonic and the Black Knight (Sonic’s second Issekai after The Secret Rings) and Sonic Generations. The Black Knight’s opening cutscene and the beginning of Sonic Generations are pretty similar in that they both feature Sonic eating chili dogs, only for him to be denied his meal by the game’s main threat — an especially tragic moment in Generations, since Tails had so nicely wrapped a Chili Dog in a bow for Sonic’s birthday.
Sonic Boom (The “Boom” Is Chili Dog Farts)
Though they have not appeared in a mainline game since Sonic Generations, chili dogs have been continuously referenced and mentioned in the Sonic Boom continuity, including Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. While planned to be a part of the Boom games, they never made it into the final product. The Sonic Boom TV series, on the other hand, was loaded with chili dogs, and it did spectacular things with them.
For one thing, there’s apparently a chili dog tax, which Sonic was so opposed to that he threatened the mayor to repeal it. The series also featured a chili dog cook-off in which Sonic was the judge and was left forever scarred by the experience, since Knuckles used a hallucinogenic nightmare pepper in his chili, making Sonic fearful and cautious of his favorite dish in later episodes.
Sonic Boom is actually very good, you guys.
Chili Dogs Rebooted
Remember how I mentioned that the Archie Comics version of chili dogs only lasted for the first 273 issues and how Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood sparked a lawsuit between Ken Penders and Archie comics? Well, without getting into too much detail, the results of this lawsuit led to a soft reboot of Archie’s Sonic series. In the comics, this was explained by the “Super Genesis Wave,” which left the universe with a new continuity, and thus an entirely separate wiki entry for its rebooted chili dogs. A lot of the information is identical to the Pre-Super Genesis Wave, but the fact that there is a separate entry to begin with is beautiful.
This isn’t the only instance of chili dogs getting a reboot, since Archie’s long-running Sonic series was cancelled in 2017, with IDW releasing their Sonic The Hedgehog series the following year. IDW’s Sonicdepicts a world more closely aligned with the games, specifically taking place after the events of Sonic Forces. Chili dogs made their first IDW appearance in the spin-off series Sonic the Hedgehog: Tangle and Whisper.
Hog-Dogs, Get Your Hog-Dogs Here!
Now that I’ve gone through all nine of the Sonic Wiki’s chili dog entries, there are a few loose ends to wrap up. There’s some random bits like Japan’s Sonic Comic manga featuring chili dogs, a children’s picture book depicting Sonic buying chili dogs with money that was supposed to be donated to charity, and the fact that the closest Sonic X got to including chili dogs was Sonic eating a regular ol’ Hot Dog (the audacity!)
Additionally, the games’ chili dog entry also mentioned Sonic Mania Adventures. This series of shorts ended with Sonic, Tails, Mighty and Ray enjoying some victory chili dogs — which led to Tails’ apparent death by choking on said dogs, something you could, for a limited time, buy a shirt of.
As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, I also learned that Sonic has been used to sell and promote chili dogs in real life by three different companies. The first instance came in 2012, when Japanese video game theme park chain, Joypolis, reopened their original Tokyo branch and Sonic was used to sell their chili dogs. Fast forward to 2017 and Sonic teamed up with Hooters Japan, of all places, to promote the release of Sonic Forces. Finally, starting last year, Sonic has been used to promote Koppepan from popular Japanese cafe chain, Komeda. Koppepan doesn’t typically have a hot dog in it, but clearly the rules were bent to fit Sonic’s character, as this particular Sonic-themed Koppepan looks exactly like an American chili dog.
Sonic’s relationship with chili dogs is very weird. What likely started as a DiC exec dismissively saying, “American audiences will relate to a cool hog who loves chili dogs,” eventually became a major part of the character for Western audiences, so much so that it bled back into Japanese Sonic media. That tiny decision exploded into chili dogs being synonymous with Sonic the Hedgehog, from the aforementioned promotional meals to the official Sonic twitter fully leaning into this strange part of the franchise and character. The history of it all is bizarre and fascinating and baffling all at the same time, but at the end of the day, I’m glad I dove deep into the wiki to learn about this nutty aspect of my childhood love of Sonic.
Now, if you need me, I haven’t eaten a chili dog in at least a decade (forgive me Sonic), so I’m gonna follow Sonic’s secret recipe and see where it takes me.
The toilet. It’s going to take me to the toilet, which is probably still better than Wienerville.