Pimp Your Hot Dog

By Voodoo Lily
Created March 17, 2017
Sausages and hot dogs get a lot of love in the summertime, and for good reason. They travel well, they take to outdoor cooking like a dream, and theyre delicious. MORE+ LESS-

'Tis the season for tube-shaped meats. Sausages and hot dogs get a lot of love in the summertime, and for good reason.

They travel well, they take to outdoor cooking like a dream, and they’re delicious. Best of all, since almost every culture in the world has some version of a cylindrical meat (with or without those delicious nitrates), they’re the perfect canvas for a variety of interesting flavors.

Hot Toppings

I'm a German girl at heart, and I do love hitting a beer-simmered brat with some spicy brown mustard and crunchy sauerkraut, but once in a while I want something a little different. Here's where Asian ingredients come out to play. Taking inspiration from the Japadog cart in Vancouver, BC, I make Korean-type hot dog toppings that are sure to please even the most xenophobic barbecue guest (e.g., your grumpy old Uncle Chuck). Instead of sauerkraut, try kimchi. Instead of relish, try finely chopped doraji muchim (spicy bellflower root; available in Korean delis or well-stocked Asian groceries). Mix up your own condiments by combining miso, wasabi, gochujang (Korean soy-chili paste) or sriracha hot sauce with mayonnaise. Or add some radish sprouts, shredded daikon radish, nori seaweed strips, chopped tsukemono (Japanese pickles) or shaved bonito for a Japanese umami-bomb.

Choose Your Dog

Don't be afraid to try different meats. In addition to the classic pork or beef dogs widely available, Kurobuta pork hot dogs can be sourced through quality meat purveyors these days, or even mail-order. Same with Kobe beef dogs. Why not try a lamb sausage with Lebanese muhammara (walnut and roasted pepper dip with pomegranate molasses) on a warm flatbread? Or go to the Pacific Northwest (or Sweden) with a salmon sausage and cranberry (or lingonberry) Dijon? Chicken andouille, tofu pups, uncured turkey dogs—it's all good.

One of my favorite toppings for a hot dog (or sandwiches) is southern-style pickled sweet onions. Here's an easy Sweet Pickled Onions recipe (this makes enough for four pints, so you have some for hot dogs all summer or to give as gifts).

Hungry for more?

Try these classic hot dog and brat combos:

  • Chicago style ("dragged through the garden"): yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, sliced tomatoes, pickled sport pepper and a dash of celery salt

  • Coney Island: beanless chili, cheese, onions and mustard

  • Sonora style: bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with jalapeños, tomatoes, onions, salsa and cotija cheese served on bread with a roasted chile

  • Southern style: chili and coleslaw (with or without chopped onions)

  • Fenway Park: yellow mustard and pickle relish

  • Currywurst: brat topped with ketchup mixed with Worcestershire sauce and curry powder, with more curry powder sprinkled on top

What's your fave dog topper?