Create a Build-Your-Own Hot Dog Adventure

Ketchup with old friends and relish the summer in style.

The Kitchen shoot 4/21/2016 Photographer: Soo-Jeong Kang (917)575-5478

Photo by: Soo-Jeong Kang

Soo-Jeong Kang

Paired with sauerkraut and a good, quality brown mustard. Smothered in spicy chili and mounds of shredded cheddar cheese. Topped with a summertime slaw and a squeeze of chipotle mayo. Whatever your preference, there’s no wrong way to enjoy the humble hot dog, but, when you’re kicking it at a backyard barbecue, it can often be difficult to please everyone and their wide range of favorites. Until now.

Introducing: the hot dog bar. “A hot dog bar?!? What’s that?” you ask? Well, let me tell you! It’s this magical table, full of a variety of hot dogs, buns, toppings, condiments and sides (curated by you) so that you (and your guests!) can have a field day creating your very own custom-built hot dogs. Someone’s a kook for ketchup? Someone else is looking for a bit more adventure? The hot dog bar is for everyone.

Not sure where to start? That's why I’m here! The first step is picking which hot dogs you want — beef, chicken, pork, veggie — and maybe a brat or sausage, too. Next you have your bun: Pretzel, potato, brioche, poppy seed, bolillo rolls, grilled tortilla or no bun at all. The list goes on! Once you have your foundation set, it’s time to load on the toppings and condiments. For topping inspo, check out these Easy Hot Dog Topping Ideas. For condiments galore: All-Purpose Condiments. And, of course, don’t forget to pair your hot dogs with sides like Hand Cut Fries with Celery Salt or Garlic and Herb Grilled Sweet Potato Fries.

Use your creativity and have fun assembling the right hot dog bar for you and your guests. If you’re still looking for that spark of ingenuity, don’t stress! Take a deep breath and take a gander at these ten imaginative hot dog recipes.

Are two of your favorite foods hot dogs and chicken parmesan? Do you often find difficulty in deciding which to eat for your birthday dinner? Do you toss and turn at night trying to think of ways to marry the two? Do you love cheese stuffed buns and buttery, toasted breadcrumb toppings? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are officially required to try Sunny’s Easy Chicken Parm Dogs.

If you’re not a hot dog fan, no need to worry! There are other fish in the sea, like this unconventional piscatory alternative. A blend of roasted salmon and fresh scallops, these brats can be enjoyed with a variety of toppings, from malt vinegar to mayonnaise. Sorry, ketchup lovers. The recipe's only rule? Absolutely no sweet tomato condiments allowed near these puppies.

Eight words, forty-two letters. Say it and I’m yours: hot dogs, crispy fried potatoes, onions and peppers.

Let (man)go of your store-bought mustard and try a homemade mango mustard instead. With equal parts mango and Dijon mustard, plus a pinch of dried mint, this spicy-sweet condiment will brighten up any rich dish. When it comes to Malai Chicken Hot Dogs? Take the chicken dog, top it with your mango mustard, then finish it off with pickled jalapenos, fresh cilantro and creamy mayonnaise. It’s a flavor explosion you never knew you needed in your life.

The Kitchen shoot 4/21/2016 Photographer: Soo-Jeong Kang (917)575-5478

Photo by: Soo-Jeong Kang

Soo-Jeong Kang

Bacon wrapped hot dogs. That’s all; thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Gorgonzola glory! Tomato triumph! Onion outrageousness! Frisee funk! Whatever it may be, the endless possibilities and toppings that adorn Scott’s Beef Hotdogs will have everyone movin’ and groovin’ as they build their perfect hot dog. My toppings of choice? Gorgonzola and Marinated Tomatoes. Mmm, yes please.

A grilled hot dog with pickle relish on a bun placed on a white plate with red grid-like edging

A little-known fact about me: I love pickles, self-describe as a “pickle person” and adamantly live by the motto eat, sleep, breathe, pickles. If you love pickles as much as I do, then this recipe needs minimal explanation. If you don’t, prepare some of this Homemade Pickle Relish and you’ll soon see what all the commotion is about.

Sunny Anderson makes Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

It may sound cheesy, but these hot dogs are ~poppin~. The spicy cream cheese spread on the bun, the river of nacho cheese flowing over the crispy hot dogs, the fried jalapeno topping. What could be better?

Geoffrey Zakarian makes Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

I don’t know about you, but my goal each summer is to eat as many hot dogs as possible. It’s kind of like a Takeru Kobayashi situation except, instead of eating as many as I can in ten minutes, I spread it out over a couple months. The only problem I encounter is that, by the end of the summer, I’m kind of burnt out. Too many dogs. Not this summer, though! I’m mixing my hot dog game up by rotating condiments and this Spicy Pineapple Relish will for sure be in this year’s repertoire.

New York City is all about the good things in life: Dollar slices, Mister Softee ice cream cones (choco vanilla twist in a wafer cone with rainbow sprinkles, always) and, of course, the iconic hot dogs. No longer in that New York groove, but looking to reminisce? Try out these Street Cart Dogs with Onion Sauce and Grilled Red Pepper Relish for a trip down memory lane.

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