American cuisine has made many evolutions over the years, except for the summer staple hot dogs.
From almost every corner of an American city (except Chicago and their pickles), the standard way to dress hot dogs to this day is ketchup and mustard.
Granted, there is nothing wrong with sticking to the classic, especially when the combo totally works.
But if you are looking to elevate your summer and dress your franks to impress, we got you some delicious ideas that are totally worth the dedicated cookout.
Whether you are looking for a topping that nods to the American tradition or takes your hot dog to the next level, we’ve got you covered.
The best thing is, these culinary explosions and adventures are effortless to put together.
After all, there is no easier grilling than grilling hot dogs.
And whether you are feeding a small family of four or a hungry large crowd at your next cookout, it’s a fail-proof crowd-pleaser.
Better yet, set up your own hot dog bar for infinite delicious combinations with toppings like cheddar cheese, salty bacon, buffalo sauce, and fries.
But if you have no clue where to start, you can never go wrong with these 5 delicious ways to dress your hot dogs.
5 Ways to Dress Your Hot Dogs
1. Classic Hot Dog
The way to ace the hot dog toppings game is to first master the humble hot dog.
And by that, I mean the classic hot dog with yellow mustard and ketchup.
Now that’s one simple hot dog with just two staple condiments.
It’s so basic, yet it’s still one of the most brilliant hot dog ideas.
And if you are going classic on the condiments, you surely want to go all classic on the buns and frank too.
For the best tasting and yummy dogs, grill your beef franks for the grill marks.
As for the hot dog buns, grab one sturdy bun that’ll hold your dog without falling apart.
For more gourmet hot dog buns, I would go with brioche buns.
If you are feeling North Eastern and want the same vibe as lobster rolls, go for New England-style hot dog buns with a split on top.
As for the mustard, you have many options.
From yellow mustard to dijon mustard, experiment with different kinds to find your preferences.
2. New York Dog
If hot dogs had an address, that would surely be the streets of New York.
From Midtown Manhattan to downtown Soho, hot dog stands roam the busy streets of New York City.
There, you find New York-style hot dogs dressed with spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut, and optional ketchup.
If you are drawing inspiration from the great hot dogs of New York, elevate them this way at your next cookout.
Go fancy and add a spoonful of whole grain mustard, cabbage sauerkraut, and finely chopped red onions.
They give just enough kick and acidity that’ll balance the meatiness of the dog.
But if that’s still not over-the-top enough for you, here are some options you’d want to try.
Skip chopped red onions and go for onion rings for extra crunch.
If you are a cheese aficionado, fried cheese curds give a savory touch that goes perfectly with slices of jalapenos.
Another take is to sub your chopped fresh onions with caramelized onions, known as sweet onion relish for additional sweetness.
It’s pretty much-caramelized onions seasoned with chili powder, cinnamon, and ketchup.
Worried about onion mouth? Chop celery to sub the onion and still keep the crunch.
3. Chicago Dog
Chicago prides itself on its famous Chicago dogs.
Their popular hot dog recipes have garnered the attention of many foodies all around the world.
It’s a savory hot dog that balances the acidity with the mildness of tomatoes.
While many versions of Chicago dogs have already made rounds, the original is pickles, chopped onions, and slices of tomatoes.
Chicago’s popular hot dog toppings resemble what you put in your burger.
So why not fancy up your Chicago hot dogs the same way you go insane with your burgers.
To start, try adding sweet and sour relish, chives, and jalapenos.
They each add a flavor that’ll take your bite to the next level.
And if you are not a big fan of gigantic slices of tomatoes in every bite, you can also chop up small cherry tomatoes for more subtle tomato inclusion.
This last touch is my favorite. Sprinkle some celery salt and serve it on a soft poppyseed bun.
Oh, for crunch, go for crispy bacon.
4. Walking Taco Dog
This delicious combination of tacos and hot dogs is a match made in heaven.
I mean it’s about time we have a walking taco dog that’s packed with what’s great about tacos and what’s supreme about hot dogs.
As you guessed, the hot dog bar for taco dogs should most definitely include:
- cherry tomatoes
For true cheese lovers, have a side of cheese sauce like mornay sauce.
If you are looking for more explosive flavors from the dog, go for flavored sausages instead of franks or veggie dogs.
And let’s not forget a spoonful of sour cream (or chipotle mayonnaise dressing) and sprinkles of cayenne pepper or chili powder, just to add a bit of heat.
It’s a summer comfort food made with Mexican ultimate flavor choices.
It’s a perfect summer day lunch in the backyard or by the pool.
5. BBQ Dog
If you are grilling your franks, it only makes sense to pair up BBQ flavors with your hot dogs.
Not to mention, BBQ dog goes with any classic side dish like fruit salad, pasta salad, grilled veggies, potato salad, and french fries.
With any variation of BBQ dog, the king of toppings is the BBQ sauce.
So anything that pairs well with the sweet and rich BBQ sauce would be a great topping for a BBQ-inspired hot dog.
A delicious combination to start would be BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and cheese of your choice.
For a mild taste BBQ dog, shredded Swiss cheese would be perfect.
But for a more risk-taker, feta cheese or blue cheese crumbles make elevated cheese dogs only foodies can appreciate.
Another unconventional but delicious topping that makes exceptionally yummy dogs is pineapple.
Sweet pineapple with slices of hot peppers and red onions make a delicious and savory hot dog.
Hot dogs are as classic as a summer cookout or picnic can get.
But that’s not to say, you have to stick to the baseball game-style hot dogs.
When you think about what goes with hot dogs, there are actually a lot of flavors out there.
Here, we introduced 5 ways to dress your hot dogs, but don’t limit yourself there.
You can do an Italian hot dog with parsley, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and a pinch of salt.
Or, if you are truly adventurous, you can to an Asian-inspired ultimate flavor with bean sprouts, red cabbage, and mayo dressing.
If you are having a large cookout, the best way to please the crowd is to do a hot dog bar.
It’s an excellent way to come up with whatever flavor combos you can think of and have great fun with it.
Just display all the toppings for hot dogs and have the sausages and franks ready on the grill or in a slow cooker.
I hope you enjoy these 5 ideas on how to dress your hot dogs and more.
You have more ideas or want to share your favorite ways to enjoy hot dogs, leave us a comment. We would love to hear your ideas!