Elevate your summer barbecue with this cool serving station
Guests will love this creative idea.
If summer grilling had its own food pyramid, hot dogs would be on the foundation tier. They are essential to a barbecue. But frankly (see what we did there?!) hot dogs can get a little tired. Revive this summertime classic with a fresh take on it: build a DIY hot dog bar.
Decorate the table by making a tower of hot dog buns, displaying vintage condiment bottles, and using bright bowls to hold your toppings. Chopped onions, bacon bits, chili, and even jalapeños are all great culinary fodder for your hot dog. But if you’re up to the challenge, adding some non-traditional twists on hot dog toppings will make your bar as eclectic as it is beautiful! Here are some unique toppings to consider for your bar:
Sweet Pickle Relish
If you like a little tang to your hot dog, this pickle relish adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Unlike regular pickle relish, which is made with yellow mustard, this relish's pickling liquid is bright and fresh.
Rockerbox Garlic Flakes pack an extra punch of flavor in this guacamole recipe, and save you the time it would take to peel and mince fresh garlic without sacrificing the authentic flavor. It will add an extra special zing to your hot dog!
Green Chile Con Queso
Try this chile con queso recipe from celebrity chef Todd English. It isn’t a typical hot dog topping, but it will definitely pique your guests’ interests!
Click here for the Green Chile Con Queso Recipe
Hot Dog Bar Toppings and Ideas for Your Next Party
By: Jessica · Posted: May 9, 2018 · Updated: Mar 11, 2021 · This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This post has been sponsored by Kraft Foods. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s Hot Dog Bar Toppings and Ideas for Your Next Party!
Words cannot express how badly I have wanted to style a party at my parent’s farm, and last week… that dream came true, styling my, “Franks & Friends” Hot Dog Bar.
Food bars are one of my favorites to style for a party, so I knew this was a MUST.
What goes on a hot dog bar?
Good question! You’ll need buns, hot dogs (of course!), toppings (the more the better), and condiments. Below, we’ll give you options for each so that you can build a hot dog bar that will please everyone!
#1: Hot Dog Buns
When it comes to hot dog buns, you have a ton of options! You could just grab the usual grocery store packs, or you can take it to the next level with buttery brioche buns, lightly sweet Hawaiian buns, or even a salty pretzel bun. Gluten-free? Don't worry, there are a ton of great options on the market now! We love these and these! Both are sturdy, toast well, and taste absolutely delicious.
#2: Hot Dogs & Sausages
It's up to you whether you want to go with just hot dogs, or if you want to do a variety of hot dogs and sausages! Below are our favorite picks in each category.
Our Favorite Types of Hot Dogs
Hot dogs have quite a reputation for being a wee bit of a mystery, don’t they? Choosing a quality hot dog is KEY in making a hot dog bar that’ll go down in party history! Luckily, hot dogs have come a LONG way from when I was a kid. Whenever possible, I try to go for hot dogs that are made with grass-fed beef (read all about that here), are nitrate and nitrite-free, and are made with real-food ingredients. If you have a Costco membership, you can often find high-quality hot dogs at a great price there.
We recommend going with these Teton Waters Ranch Uncured Beef Hot Dogs (they’ve got a store locator on their site), these Organic Valley Uncured Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs, or these Applegate Naturals Uncured Beef Hot Dogs (the latter two are widely available and can be found at most grocery stores!).
For those who may not be crazy about hot dogs, sausages are a great alternative! We look for similar things in our sausages as our hot dogs – grass-fed or pasture-raised beef or pork, when possible, nitrate and nitrite-free, and made with minimal ingredients. Pederson's Farms, Aidell's, and Applegate all have a ton of great flavor varieties from bratwurst to pineapple & bacon chicken sausage, so there's something for everyone!
Vegetarian Hot Dog Options
If you want to have some vegetarian options on your hot dog bar, Beyond Meat bratwurst, Trader Joe's Sausage-Less Italian Sausage, and Field Roast are good options, or you can make your own!
#3: Lots of Toppings!
THIS is where the real fun starts! Everybody loves their hot dogs dressed a little bit differently, don’t they? My husband LOVES his hot dogs smothered with yellow mustard, dill relish, onions, and cheddar cheese, while I love a good chili dog. In order to have a better hot dog bar that pleases a crowd, you’ve got to have a variety of toppings that’ll jive with all of the different tastes and preferences! Below are some GREAT hot dog topping ideas (and remember that you don’t have to include them ALL in order to have a totally delicious, crowd-pleasing hot dog bar!)
Shredded Cheese – You can use whatever kind of cheese you like here, but we recommend a classic cheddar, a melty white cheese like smoked gouda, and a spicy pepper jack.
Onions – Here you can choose diced raw onions, or you can caramelize onions for extra flavor
Relish – Sweet pickle relish or classic dill relish are both great options! When picking out a relish, look for one that's free of dyes and corn syrup.
Chili (this one is easy and delicious – feel free to swap the bison for ground beef if you need to!)
An Easy Hot Dog Bar Idea for a Grilling Party
No matter how much we have going on, we make sure each and every weekend is filled with family-time. We may spend a day out and about exploring a St. Louis attraction, or just spend time together in the backyard. No matter what we end up doing, it involves lots of laughter, fun, and good eats.
Another definite thing that occurs during the weekend is my husband’s cooking and grilling. Making the perfect steak and anything we can get on the grill is strictly his territory. Since he works long hours on weekdays, the weekend is when we have cookouts and enjoy his delicious feasts. Often we invite family over and make it a get-together for everyone.
Sometimes he makes a 5-course meal complete with steaks for eight people and he spends most of the time cooking and is exhausted by the time dinner is over.
Other times we have our own little backyard grillathon. We love to grill all kinds of vegetables, pork, steaks, burgers and hot dogs. Grilling, prepping, and setting up food options before guests arrive is a great way to ensure plenty of socializing and family time.
Last weekend we made a Hot Dog Bar so everyone could make their own hot dogs to their liking. The kids helped me pick out some toppings to go with the hot dogs while my husband started grilling a few different varieties of Ball Park Park’s Finest. These premium beef hot dogs are made with 100 percent beef and contain no artificial preservatives, no artificial flavors, colors or fillers, and mo nitrates or nitrites added.
Ball Park Park’s Finest are available in 7 count, 14oz packages, in five bold varieties: Jalapeno Cheddar, Slow Cooked Chili, Signature Seasoned, Slow Smoked Hickory, and Cracked Dijon Mustard. With the different varieties infused with premium seasonings, they are still full of flavor without any toppings. They really elevate any grilling experience.
Once the hot dogs were grilled, I placed some in buns and tied with a little cut of fabric and string.
- Sweet Relish
- Chopped Red Onion
- Chopped White Onion
- Sliced Jalapenos
- Pico De Gallo
- Cheddar Cheese
- Sandwich Sliced Dill Pickles
- Sour Cream
Having a variety of toppings makes it easy for guests to dress up their hot dogs as much or as little as they please. I like a Ball Park Park’s Finest Jalapeno Cheddar hot dog with no toppings (the flavor is spot-on) and one topped with a little pico de gallo and guacamole.
These free hot dog toppings bar printables add such a fun touch to your get-together! The download includes the following:
- “Build your own hot dog bar” printable sign
- Topping labels for jars
- Condiment labels for squeeze bottles
- “America” banner
Prepare the above toppings for the best hot dog party on the block!
Score your hot dogs: Etch shallow diagonal lines (about 4-5 evenly spaced) with a sharp knife on at least two sides of your dog. Go crazy and spiral cut for maximum plumpness and topping capacity.
Trap those toppings: Spare yourself a million dishes by serving your assortment in a muffin tin!
Rally the crew to build their own ultimate BBQ Dog.
Our Favorite Combos:
‣Fried Onion Strings, caramelized onion, pickled Jalapeno, Head Country Original
‣Bacon, cheddar, raw diced onion, Head Country Hickory Smoke
‣Fresh Jalapeno, Fried Onion Strings, and Head Country Hot & Spicy
Build Your Own Hot Dog Party
As the weather gets colder, I am trying to have as many get-togethers in my back yard as possible before I have to pack it up for the winter. It's just such a great entertaining space! So as you could imagine, when Kayem asked me to throw a hot dog party, I jumped at the chance. My idea for this party was a make your own hot dog and sausage bar, complete with over 30 topping options for all my friends to let their hot dog imaginations run wild.This was the epic topping bar. So many options! It was so fun seeing what everyone came up with!
Almost ready ? #kayemkickoff
A photo posted by Bianca Garcia (@confessionsofachocoholic) on Sep 11, 2016 at 2:41pm PDT
I was manning the grill for most of the party. We had some Fenway Franks, Reds, Fire Roasted Pepper Jack Sausages, and Sweet Pepper Provolone Sausages, so there was even options when it came to the dogs themselves!
Everyone was having a good time coming up with topping combos.
Bianca put out a beautiful cheese board and some pigs in a blanket for pre-dog snacks. Cause there is nothing better than a hot dog as an appetizer for a hot dog!
Mac and cheese on a hotdog?OK ? #kayemkickoff
A photo posted by Bethany Everett (@twentysomethingplus) on Sep 11, 2016 at 3:04pm PDT
She also made a great mac and cheese that people were actually putting on top of their dogs! You can get the recipe on her website.
There were a lot of bloggers at my house, so there were people taking pictures of people taking pictures.
The Ultimate Hot Dog Bar
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ball Park. The opinions and text are all mine.
Hosting your own hot dog grillathon? Here are your MUST HAVES for the best hot dog bar on the block – perfect for your next BBQ or backyard party!
My two little boys have caused me to become somewhat of a hot dog connoisseur. If they had it their way, they’d eat hot dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Well ok, maybe a break for a meal consisting of ice cream, donuts, or oatmeal.
I’m so proud of my little foodies, can’t you tell??
Sarcasm. Instead, I’ve tried to embrace what they love and just take the whole idea up a notch when I’m serving it for dinner. I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m a complete hot dog snob. There are certain things that I make sure we have for our hot dog grillathon. It has now become a lengthy list, so I thought I’d share with you all how to have the absolute ULTIMATE hot dog bar at your next BBQ.
1. Hot Dogs & Rolls
First things first, get premium hot dogs. I absolutely love the flavor of Ball Park Park’s Finest made with 100% beef hot dogs, Signature Seasoned variety. I love that they have no artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, colors, fillers, or nitrates. The savory seasoning goes really well with sweet Hawaiian hot dog rolls, the kind that is split just right so that it won’t fall apart in your hands. Is there anything worse than a perfectly topped hot dog that falls through the bun in your hands? I think not.
2. Topping Options
For the toppings, make sure you have a wide variety available – that way your family and guests can customize to their hearts content. Here are our must-have toppings for the ultimate hot dog bar:
- spicy ground mustard
- shredded cheddar cheese
- hot sauerkraut
- hot prepared chili
- other optional toppings: diced onion, shredded lettuce, salsa, favorite hot sauce
A nice basket tray works well for a hot dog grillathon! I like using clear plastic punch cups from the dollar store to serve the toppings – it keeps everything looking uniform and clean, and it encourages everyone to go light on the toppings. When you’re using great tasting hot dogs, there’s no need to weigh it down with tons of toppings. Let the smoky grilled hot dog flavor come through!
So how about you, do you think you have what it takes to host the ultimate hot dog grillathon? Click here to enter The Finest Grillathon hosted by Ball Park and Food Network! You could win a trip for two to New York City where Ball Park and a team of grill masters attempt to break the world record for longest marathon BBQ by a team. Submit a video of yourself grilling your finest hot dog creation and you could be picked as part of the team!
Don’t miss another Mostly Homemade Mom recipe! Click here to have recipes delivered by email . Or, you can follow along via Facebook , Pinterest , Twitter , Instagram , or Google+ – I’d love to connect with you!
< linking up! >
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ball Park. The opinions and text are all mine.
How to Reheat Hot Dogs
Some hot dog serving suggestions (including some of the ones featured on this page) will show different ways of reheating the dogs but this is an incredibly easy way to do it, especially when you wish to reserve the brine from the can or jar for continued storage as you are not reheating all the dogs at the same time.
Pour plenty of cold water in to a big pot. Add half a small sliced onion and the dog(s) which is/are to be heated. Put the pot on a fairly high heat until the water just begins to simmer and no more. Be sure not to let the water boil. Turn off the heat and leave for three or four minutes, just to ensure the dog(s) are heated all the way through.
Lift the dog(s) one at a time with cooking tongs and serve as desired, with or without the onions as a serving companion.
Note: unless otherwise stated in the recipe, all the dogs featured below will have been reheated using this method.
Onion strands soften and separate as hot dog gently heats
A plain hot dog with onions, ketchup and mustard
9 Unique Vegan Hot Dog Recipes and Toppings
Summer barbecues don’t have to mean burnt flesh on a grill. With all the vegan meat products hitting store shelves, it’s easy to substitute compassion when choosing what to bring to the table.
Try these creative vegan hot dog recipes on for size. We think your barbecue buddies will be impressed.
1. Smoky Barbecue Carrot Hot Dogs with Creamy Chickpea Salad
Doesn’t this look divine? The creamy chickpea salad adds a protein punch to this healthy-yet-scrumptious carrot dog.
2. Mac and Cheese Dog with Cranberry Ketchup
Two bloggers at Hot for Food competed in a “vegan hot dog challenge,” and this delicious mac and cheese dog took first prize.
3. Vegan Hot Dog with Crispy Onion Strings and Jalapeño Corn Relish
This puppy came in at a close second.
4. Tempeh Bacon and Quick-Pickled Beets, Mango Tomatillo Salsa, and Blackberry Barbecue Sauce and Rainbow Carrot Slaw
Sweet Potato Soul teamed up with Lightlife Smart Dogs to bring us these gorgeous dog ideas. You can just imagine the unique flavor combinations—it’s enough to make you run out and grab some ingredients right now.
5. Vegan Japanese Eggplant Dog
Since it’s topped with mustard, Vegenaise, Sriracha sauce, and white miso, you can’t lose with this creative, Japanese-inspired vegan dog.
6. Vegan Carrot Dogs Done Three Ways
The Classic is topped with spiralized pickles and onions. The Chipotle Cheese is smothered with avocado, fresh jalapeño peppers, and cashew cheese, and The Hawaiian features—what else?—diced pineapple.
7. Quick, Classic Carrot Dog
Watch our quick video to learn how to make a delicious marinated and roasted carrot hot dog:
8. The Sonoran Dog
This recipe was inspired by a hot dog style originating in Sonora, Mexico, featuring green chili peppers, pinto beans, and jalapeño sauce.
9. Vegan Hot Dogs Done Four Ways
These hot dog recipes include a vegan Totcho Dog (topped with tater tots and nacho cheese), a Mac and Cheese Dog, a Tex-Mex Dog, and a French Onion Dog.
Here are some vegan hot dog brands available at your local grocery or health food store:
Inspired to go vegan? Order our free vegan starter kit today to help you make the transition: