Over the Top: 7 Extravagant Topping Ideas for Burgers and Hot Dogs

Next time you're grilling, throw caution to the wind with these next-level topping ideas from Food Network. 

By: Emily Lee


Photo by: David Malosh

David Malosh

Let’s just come out and say it: Sometimes it feels good to be bad. And sometimes, chopped onions and a modestly portioned square of cheese leave a lot to be desired. Plus, a cookout is no time to be well-behaved. Next time you’re grilling, throw caution to the wind by piling your burgers and hot dogs high with these extravagant toppings. (Think cheddar + smoky bacon + crisp onion rings — all heaped on top of one patty with reckless abandon.)

The simplest way to take a burger to new heights...

...is to top it with fries. Better yet, make them curly fries loaded with cheese. These Cheesy Fries are the ultimate burger companion, but instead of serving them on the side, Food Network Kitchen piles them on top of juicy beef burgers, along with the classics, lettuce and ketchup. There’s no need to go any further than that; these crisp spuds doused in beer-cheese sauce are more than enough to sink your teeth into.


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

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

Want even more fries?

Then Jeff Mauro’s Chicago-Style Hot Dog with Homemade Relish should be the next must-try item on your list. Generously heaped with bread-and-butter relish, classic yellow mustard and hand-cut fries, this combination of toppings pays homage to the Windy City in the most delicious of ways. “Eat on the towel-lined trunk of a car,” Jeff advises. This will get messy.

Throwdown's Green Chile Cheeseburgers


Throwdown's Green Chile Cheeseburgers

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Maybe spicy peppers are more up your alley

If that’s the case, look no further than Bobby Flay’s Throwdown’s Green Chile Cheeseburgers. These piquant burgers takes their inspiration from New Mexico, where the state vegetable is the chile pepper. Bobby’s recipe has poblano, Hatch and serrano chiles with honey and red wine vinegar for balance. Pickled red onions add tang, and a Monterey Jack-Parmesan queso sauce completes the burgers with creaminess and rich flavor.

A hot dog topped with avocado, cheese and jalapenos on a bun placed in a hot dog wrap

A hot dog topped with avocado, cheese and jalapenos on a bun placed in a hot dog wrap

Or maybe you’d rather be scooping up nachos at your local greasy spoon

But your family insisted on grilling at home. This Mexican-food-inspired Nacho Dog topped with grated white cheddar, sliced jalapenos, guacamole, salsa and blue corn tortilla chips — for crunch — is an excellent compromise.


Photo by: Steve Giralt

Steve Giralt

But the sure-fire crowd-pleaser

To no one’s surprise, is bacon. Sunny Anderson prepares her Bacon Burger Dogs by encasing beer-boiled bratwursts in ground beef before wrapping them in bacon, because meat on meat on more meat never fails. Sunny recommends topping the burger dogs with cheddar and sweet raw onions for an ultra-rich effect.


While we’re on the subject

Bobby’s Cheyenne Burger is a multilayered hulk consisting of sharp cheddar, crunchy onion rings, barbecue sauce and, of course, smoky bacon. Lean turkey patties are the perfect base for the amalgam of flavors.

If you’re hosting a cookout for a hungry crowd

Go Ree Drummond’s route by setting up a toppings bar that includes everything but the kitchen sink. Sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, pico de gallo and crispy bacon complement these hearty Grilled Burgers. If you’re a fan of classic condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise, feel free to include them as well. The more, the merrier.

For more extravagant topping ideas, check out these recipes from Food Network Magazine, including Pizza Dogs and this cheeseburger loaded with chili and onion rings.

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