Happy Pairing of Wine and Hot Dogs

Given my passion for both hot dogs and wine, it's only right that I reveal how the two can get along for a summer barbecue.

served wine with two empty glasses

136976009

served wine with two empty glasses

Photo by: Jelena Jojic

Jelena Jojic

If we're talking the basic New York-style frankfurter, with mustard and maybe a tangle of sauerkraut, you can’t do better than a nice dry rosé. Typically medium-bodied, redolent of red fruits, refreshingly crisp and affordable, it has never met a frankfurter it didn’t like. Similarly, Pinot Noir’s light-to-medium weight and juicy berry profile is universally dog-friendly.

Moving west, we find the Chicago hot dog, with its trademark sport peppers, pickles and celery salt, all of which cry out for a light-to-medium-weight wine with substantial crispness to match the acidity and salt of its toppings. A Sauvignon Blanc or Australian Riesling — both of which are dry and quite tangy — would more than give a Chi-town dog its day. Sauvignon Blanc has the added benefit of a green, grassy element that complements the pickles and peppers.

Heading south to Texas and its decadent chili dog, we are scouting for a pour that can stand up to the outsized flavors of chili sauce, onions and cheese. A full-bodied Shiraz from Australia or a Zinfandel from the States fit the bill; even better if it is in a style that has low tannins and a bit of sweet-seeming oakiness to cool down any spice or sliced jalapeños that are on the scene.

Finally, we return east to my native Jersey for the Ripper — that is, a hot dog that rips when it is deep-fried. What we have here, besides being a cardiologist’s nightmare, is a generous helping of meat and grease swaddled in a long bun. A simple bubbly, such as Cava, Prosecco or American sparkling wine, is just what the doctor ordered. Its bubbles and citric zip neutralize the naughtiness in your mouth and prime you for the next, hedonistic bite.


Mark Oldman is a wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the series The Winemakers. He shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical.

Next Up

50 Milkshakes

Make fun new milkshakes from Food Network Magazine all summer long.

Chefs' Burger Picks

Food Network stars name their top burger spots.

50 Burger Recipes

Fire up the grill! Food Network Magazine created 50 sizzling burgers — enough to keep you satisfied all season long!

Hot Dogs by Region

Feed a crowd with grilled hot dogs and fantastic regional hot dog toppings, from Chicago-style to Venezuelan.

19 Black-Owned Decor and Food Brands to Shop for Your Juneteenth Celebration

Deck out your Juneteenth table with these beautiful (and delicious!) items from some of Black Southern Belle's favorite brands.

The Quintessential Party in the Park

Getting together outside is an elemental part of the human existence. Here are the recipes and tips you need to get it right — plus some of our favorite stories about summer reunions.

What Is a Sommelier?

And how do you pronounce it?

Why You Should Keep White Lambrusco In Your Fridge All Summer Long

According to a somm, this cool kid wine is light, low-alcohol and pairs well with pizza.

Your Halloween Party Needs This Frankenstein Wine Keg

Our scary craft dresses up any ol' box wine for the occasion.