How to Build a Better Hot Dog 



Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ketchup, mustard, maybe some relish and sweet, saucy onions. These classic toppings surely get the job done when it comes to making an everyday hot dog, but for a next-level cookout, try dressing up your favorite franks with nontraditional fixings. On The Kitchen, co-hosts Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Jeff Mauro introduced their creative takes on hot dogs with their West Virginia-Style Hot Dog, Mexican-Style Hot Dog and Depression Dog with peppers, respectively. 

This summer, follow the co-hosts’ leads by experimenting with unexpected toppings; just stick with your favorite ingredients and try to choose flavors that you know complement one another. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite ways to build a better dog below, then browse Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 All-Purpose Condiments complete with must-see ideas for adding finishing touches to your grilled greats.

While Jeff’s Depression Dog from The Kitchen may have been deliciously simple, his Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade Relish (pictured above) is perhaps the ultimate in hot dog indulgence. He starts with beef franks and tops them with white onions and yellow mustard, plus homemade pickles and golden-brown french fries flavored with celery seed. Jeff recommends building the dogs, then letting them steam for a few minutes before serving.



Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

The secret to crave-worthy chili-cheese dogs is making the best chili. In its top-rated recipe for Chipotle Chili Cheese Dogs, Food Network Magazine makes its flavor-packed mixture with bacon, cumin, pinto beans and chipotle hot sauce, and opts for two layers of cheese — one inside the bun below the dog and one on top. Be sure to use foot-long franks for an even heartier meal.

A grilled hot dog topped with lettuce, carrots and a pickle wedge on a bun placed in a paper hot dog wrap

Grill master Bobby Flay is known for showcasing the bold flavors of the Southwest, and his Texas Dog doesn’t disappoint. The key to his recipe is a homemade sweet, smoky barbecue sauce, laced with molasses, a duo of chili powders and chiles in adobo sauce. He dresses the dog with this smooth sauce, plus crunchy coleslaw and pickles.

Leave it to Chopped judge and Italian restaurateur Scott Conant to put an Italian-inspired spin on his Beef Hot Dog with Gorgonzola, Marinated Tomatoes, Grilled Onion and Frisee. The charred flavor of grilled hot dogs complements the richness of Gorgonzola cheese, while the juicy thyme-marinated tomatoes and fresh frisee add a welcome bite.

In his recipe for Corn Dogs, Alton Brown abandons the bun altogether and relies on a stick to hold the dog and a buttery cornmeal crust to encase it. He spikes the corn batter with jalapeno and cayenne pepper for an extra punch of taste.

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