I’ve come to realize that my heaven might include a hot dog bar.
If I’m being REAL real, I may only have one or two hot dogs per summer. Like a really good one, you know?
I lived in such a hot dog bubble forever – it wasn’t until maybe ten years ago when I watched Lacy order a hot dog with all the toppings from Five Guys (which inspired this one on the blog) that I realized… I could put OTHER THINGS on my hot dog.
Really. I mean, How did I not know this?
Before that, I was strictly a mustard person. Yellow mustard, to be exact. Shocking, right?
And then, even before that, the fanciest we got in my family was a crescent wrapped hot dog. Nothing like a jalapeno pretzel dog with cheddar beer sauce. OMG.
Hot dogs have always had such a bad rap but I can’t pass one up at a cookout. And in the last ten years, we’ve been lucky to get a few “better for you” hot dogs, like turkey dogs or even vegetarian dogs or grass fed beef dogs and organic hot dogs and all that jazz. It’s made me feel slightly better about making a big old hot dog bar in the summer at our house!
Now here’s the thing. There are so many amazing ways you can make hot dogs be all fancy and wild and high maintenance. But if you’re going to set up a hot dog BAR, then you have to make sure the toppings are low maintenance on their own. Meaning, they can sit in a bowl and not get gross (I’m looking at you beer cheese sauce) and they don’t need hands on attention.
P.S. This is SO fun.
Load on all the toppings and live it up.
These hot dogs are the business. We spent weeks discussing our favorite hot dogs and toppings along with creating some new flavor combos and generally being obsessed with everything we could put on a hot dog. But also making sure they were things you could make and forget about for a bit.
Scroll down for the complete toppings list and here’s a run down of the top seven hot dogs that made my “obsessed” list!
My Favorite Fancy Hot Dogs for your Hot Dog Bar
Our Chicago Dog
dill pickle spear/sweet pickle relish/campari tomatoes/sport peppers/yellow mustard/poppy seed sprinkle
Lacy has loved Chicago dogs forever. As much as I love pickles, all of these things on my hot dog have never appealed to me! Am I alone here? Maybe I have to go to Chicago to actually EAT one. Then I’ll get it.
The Buffalo Dog
celery leaves/buffalo wing sauce/ranch drizzle/crumbled blue cheese/chives/scallions
Ooooh this one is so good. If you don’t loathe celery, you could also dice that up and sprinkle it on top. Lots of flavor here.
The BLT Dog
shredded lettuce/chopped tomatoes/crispy bacon/ranch drizzle
I love this one so much, maybe because of the bed of shredded lettuce? We actually sliced green cabbage into super tiny slices which creates the best crunchy lettuce!
Grilled Mexican Street Corn Dog
guacamole/quick mexican corn salad
I piped some guacamole onto this hot dog than sprinkled it with a quick makeshift elote that I mixed together. Grilled corn, lime juice, cilantro, chili powder and crumbled cotija cheese. So good!
Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Dog
white cheddar/caramelized onions/ketchup
This is a seemingly simple hot dog but it has SO much more flavor than you’d anticipate. It was a close favorite for everyone.
The Hawaiian Dog
grilled pineapple/BBQ sauce/diced shallot
The caramely pineapple here is so sweet, the bbq sauce is tangy and the diced shallot is crunchy. This is so good too!
Jalapeño Apple Slaw Dog
jalapeño apple slaw/spicy brown mustard
This slaw is absolutely incredible!! It’s crunchy, sweet and spicy and would be excellent on other sandwiches too. Topped with mustard because I can’t get enough.
A Classic Dog
whatever you love!
What is YOUR classic dog? I threw some ketchup and mustard on this one and I do enjoy both. But everyone’s classic dog is different and I want to hear yours!
I hope this gives you a little inspiration for some fun summer cookouts! Even just serving one or two fancy hot dogs at a cookout can be such a fun twist. Grab all the rosé and the summer beer and you’re set.
How to Make a Hot Dog Bar
Nothing screams summer more than a hot dog bar! Grab your buns and dogs and a whole lot of toppings. This is super fun and delicious!
- Grilled hot dogs
- Grilled brioche buns
- White cheddar cheese
- Caramelized onions
- Grilled corn or Mexican corn salad
- Pickled green beans
- Diced shallot
- Grilled pineapple
- Baked beans (try it!)
- Crumbled gorgonzola
- Pickle spears
- Shredded lettuce
- Jalapeno apple slaw
- Yellow mustard
- Spicy brown mustard
- Ranch dressing
- Buffalo wing sauce
- BBQ sauce
To make the hot dog bar an easy process, make a list of all the toppings you’d like to have out. You can chop, cut and grate all of them the night before, place them in separate bowls or jars, then cover and store them in the fridge until it’s go-time!
For cookouts, I like to estimate about 1.5 hot dogs per person. For toppings, they will differ depending on what’s popular in your family. I’d say as long as you have 1 cup of most toppings (for instance, you don’t need an entire cup of bacon! But you do need a cup of cheese and tomatoes), you’re good. Use your judgement!
Don’t be afraid to get crazy – baked beans and mac and cheese actually taste amazing on hot dogs. Make it a carb party.
To make the grilled corn salad I mention above: stir together about 1 ½ cups corn kernels with 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt and pepper, a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, juice from ½ lime and 2 to 3 tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese. This can be made the night before, but is probably best 2 to 3 hours before.
To make the jalapeno apple slaw I mention above: toss together 2 cups shredded green cabbage with 1 grated apple, 1 thinly sliced jalapeno pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and juice from ½ lime. This can be made the night before. Gets even more flavor in the fridge!
Puhlease create a hot dog bar for all of your summer activities!