Now that Labor Day is just around the corner, many out there might be (wrongfully, if you ask us), getting ready to put their grills away. (Never stop grilling, we say!) If you are or you aren’t, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. What does matter is what you are putting on the grill this weekend. Burgers and dogs? Probably. But, when most people think of burgers and dogs, they think something simple. No longer! Now it is time to take the blank canvas that is a hot dog and run with it.
We chatted with six culinary experts to get their fancy recipes that will elevate the hot dog to be the star of any cookout. Not only are many of these ideas kid-friendly, but they’ll also impress the most discerning palates. Make sure to use one of the best hot dog brands for ultimate flavor.
Mapo Chili Dog
Chef Leah Cohen’s menu at Piggyback Bar is a blend of Asian-inspired bar food mixed with classic dishes — like pork and beef Filipino lumpia served with a sweet chili sauce. Fans of mapo tofu will go crazy for her Mapo Chili Dog, which turns the classic Sichuan dish into a backyard barbecue delight.
For the Mapo Chili
- .5 cup oil (divided)
- 2 fresh red Thai chilis, thinly sliced
- 8 dried whole Thai chilis, broken
- 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns, coarsely ground
- 3 tbsp minced ginger
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 8 oz ground pork
- 2 tbsp spicy bean sauce
- ⅔ cup homemade chicken stock, low sodium store-bought, or water
- .5 lb silken tofu
- 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with .25 cup cold water
- .5 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- First, dry toast the chilies. Heat your wok or a small saucepan over low heat. Add .25 cup of the oil and throw in the fresh and dried peppers. Stir occasionally and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Once cooled, strain and keep the oil.
- Heat the remaining .25 cup of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add your ground Sichuan peppercorns and stir occasionally for 30 seconds. Add the ginger. After 1 minute, add the garlic. Fry for another minute, and then turn up the heat to high and add the ground pork. Break up the meat and fry it until it’s cooked through.
- Add the spicy bean sauce to the mixture and stir it in well. Add ⅔ cups of chicken stock to the wok and stir. Bring this to a boil, then slowly add in cornstarch mixture and simmer for 5 minutes.
- While that’s cooking, purée the soft tofu in a blender until smooth.
- When the meat mixture has cooked for 5 minutes, add your chili oil, the puréed tofu, sesame oil, and sugar.
- Season with salt if needed. At this point, your mapo chili is ready. This can be made ahead and reheated the day of.
- 6 hot dogs, scored
- 6 brioche hot dog buns, sides buttered and toasted
- Mapo chili
- .25 cup thinly sliced green scallions
- .25 cup crispy shallots
- Heat up your mapo chili while the hot dogs are grilling.
- Place the hot dog in the bun, then add the desired amount of chili on top. Garnish with scallions and crispy shallots.
“Big Macs are delicious, that’s something Tony and I definitely agree on,” Justin Neiser, co-founder of The Brooklyn Hot Dog Company, says. “Unfortunately, they’re considered a guilty pleasure by most people, and that’s where this recipe was born. We swapped out the ‘two all-beef patties’ for two of our all natural, grass-fed beef dogs — with no hormones, antibiotics, or preservatives like nitrates added. The hot dogs are also low-calorie (only 90 each), so we knew that would provide some extra health-conscious contrast. From there, we followed suit with more elevated ingredient replacements like fresh veggies and an all-natural special sauce. We figured it would taste awesome, but it actually exceeded our expectations.”
- 2 Classic Beef Brooklyn Hot Dog Co. Hot Dogs
- 2 tbsp of special sauce (Sir Kensington’s or homemade)
- 1 high-quality soft-baked bun
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup shredded lettuce
- 2 slices American cheese
- 4-5 sliced sandwich pickles
- 2 tbsp diced red or white onion
- 1 tbsp butter
- Prepare your buns by lightly brushing melted butter on both sides of the bun, then sprinkle sesame seeds evenly to buttered sides.
- Hydrotoast your dogs.
- Immediately place both prepared hot dogs in the bun and dress with special sauce, lettuce, pickles, and onions.
Hot Dogs Topped with Maille Sonoran-Style Refried Beans
Maille’s mustard sommelier, Chef Brandon Collins, created a host of hot dog recipes inspired by regions around the United States. Our favorite of the lot incorporate these Arizona-style refried beans that will add a deep, rich spice to your favorite dogs this summer.
- 2 cans pinto beans, drained
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- .25 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1.5 cups vegetable stock
- 4 tbsp Maille Old Style Mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat butter in a pot. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
- Add jalapeño and spices and cook for one minute until fragrant. Add beans, stock, and Maille Old Style Mustard. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until beans are tender and most liquid is gone.
- With a whisk, beat the beans until some are pureed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sweet Heat Hot Dogs
If you want to spice up hot dog night with fiery, crunchy toppings, this recipe from David Guas is a crowd-pleaser. The New Orleans-born chef is the host of Travel Channel’s American Grilled show and the author of two grilling cookbooks, so he knows a thing or two about how to make a batch of mouthwatering dogs.
- .75 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 green onion, minced
- 2 tbsp chili hot sauce (like sambal oelek or gochujang)
- 8 hot dogs
- 8 hot dog buns, toasted
- 1 cup spicy sweet pickles, chopped
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- Light a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit [medium-high].
- Combine the first three ingredients and one tablespoon of chili sauce in a small bowl. Brush the hot dogs with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chili sauce.
- Grill the hot dogs, covered by the grill lid, for four to six minutes or until thoroughly heated.
- Serve hot dogs in toasted buns. Top with mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkle with chopped pickles and shredded cabbage. Serves 8.
Mediterranean-Inspired Hot Dog with Dabka Chili Feta Spread
If you’re always looking for condiments to spice up your life, this fiery hot dog will be on your roster all summer. Created by Christopher Flagstad, the founder of Dabka Chili Sauce, it brings together the best of California produce with a rich umami spice that’s inspired by the street food of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
- 1 cup feta cheese crumbles (about 4.5 oz)
- .5 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 1.5 tbsp honey
- 3 tbsp Dabka Chili Sauce
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 handful chopped parsley
- Roasted pistachios
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thoroughly mix ingredients together and spread the desired amount on a hot dog.
- Top dog with roasted pistachios, a sprinkle of fresh parsley, and a drizzle of honey.
Best Friend Hot Dog
Roy Choi’s Vegas restaurant Best Friend is a beautiful mix of dishes from his Koreatown, Los Angeles restaurants, made with a Sin City twist. This bacon-wrapped, crunchy veggie-topped hot dog is adapted from his cookbook L.A. Son, and it’s bound to be the star of every cookout this season.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- .5 onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 hot dogs, split lengthwise so they won’t burst when cooked
- 4 slices bacon
- 4 soft hot dog buns
- Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and Tapatio hot sauce
- Heat the oil in a pan or on a griddle over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers, and sauté with a touch of salt and pepper until they’re slightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Remove.
- Wrap each hot dog tightly in a strip of bacon. In a pan over medium heat, slowly cook your hot dogs, moving them continuously to cook them evenly, until the bacon is nice and brown but still soft, about 4 minutes. Remove.
- Toast the inside of the buns in a bit of that bacon fat.
- Place a hot dog in each bun, slather it with mayonnaise, then top with the peppers and onions. Squeeze on the ketchup and mustard to taste, then add a splash of the Tapatio. Serves 4.
Last updated September 2, 2020.
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