The humble hot dog is a beloved staple of American cuisine, deeply ingrained in our culture, from ball games to backyard barbecues. But the beauty of a hot dog lies in its adaptability and ability to dress up or down according to the diner’s preference.
Here are the 15 best things to put on a hot dog, taking you on a culinary journey through the limitless ways to elevate this simple, classic food item into a delicious work of art.
Ketchup and Mustard
These are the classic hot dog toppings that most people are familiar with. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, mustard remains the most popular hot dog topping among adults, while children prefer ketchup.
No matter your age, these condiments are a go-to for their tangy, sweet-and-sour flavor profiles that perfectly complement the savory taste of the hot dog.
This addition adds a crunchy texture and a sweet and tangy flavor to your hot dog. As noted by culinary expert John Mariani, “The crunch of the relish gives an exciting contrast to the soft bun and meat, enhancing the overall experience.”
Whether raw or caramelized, onions are another favorite topping. They provide a sharp bite if raw or a sweet, complex flavor if caramelized. As per a survey by Ranker, onions were voted as the third most popular hot dog topping.
Chilli dogs are an American classic. The hearty, spicy chili enhances the richness of the hot dog. As James Beard once wrote, “Chili applied to a hot dog is a delightful burst of flavors.”
This melted delight adds a creamy texture and rich flavor to the hot dog. Nielsen data shows that 41% of hot dogs are served with cheese.
This fermented cabbage is giant in New York-style dogs. It adds a tangy crunch that, according to chef Anthony Bourdain, is the “perfect counterbalance to the rich, juicy sausage.”
For those who like a little heat, jalapenos are the ideal topping. The Scoville Heat Scale rates jalapenos as 2,500-8,000 Scoville Heat Units, providing a nice kick to your hot dog.
It’s a more controversial topping, but mayo adds a creamy, tangy element to the hot dog. Mayonnaise was the most divisive topping in a YouGov survey, with 24% loving it and 27% hating it.
Everything’s better with bacon, and hot dogs are no exception. As celebrity chef Guy Fieri says, “Bacon is the duct tape of the kitchen.”
It’s a more unconventional topping, but the creamy, rich avocado-based sauce adds a refreshing element to the hot dog.
BBQ sauce brings a sweet and smoky flavor to the hot dog. According to a Condiment Survey conducted by Datassential, BBQ sauce ranks in the top five favorite condiments for hot dogs.
For those who like it spicy, a few dashes of hot sauce can amp up a hot dog’s flavor.
This southern favorite brings a calm, tangy crunch to the hot dog. As food writer Josh Ozersky said, “Coleslaw is the yang to the hot dog’s yin.”
A Chicago-style dog wouldn’t be complete without a pickle spear. The vinegar tang and crisp crunch provide a lovely contrast to the smooth, savory dog.
Fresh sliced tomatoes add a juicy, refreshing bite to the hot dog. They’re a key part of the classic Chicago-style dog and a beautiful way to add fresh flavors and colors to your bun.
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