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Hot Dog cooking/preparation/topping(s)...Your favorite way?

  • c

Ah the hot dog. Whether you call it a frankfurter, frank, wiener, or weenie that little sausage is revered and loved by many, maligned and despised by some. Me? I pretty much like 'em quite a bit. And for a few good reasons. I guess first off because of it's ease of preparation.

Lately, I've been craving the frank. In trying to satisfy that craving a couple of weeks ago I bought a couple of packages of Foster Farms hot dogs. One chicken and one turkey. They were just okay. Heated some by boiling in a pot of hot water. And pan grilled some with the flat cast iron skillet. I found that both ways after getting them in the bun, and garnishing with mustard, sauerkraut or just mustard and little ketchup that by the time I got to the last bite of the first dog (I usually have 2) it had cooled somewhat. Half way through the second it had cooled it had cooled quite a bit. And with this brand of franks the skin is very thin and when pan grilled, what I thought my favorite way to cook them indoors, they just tend to blister instead of that seared grill texture.

So I went out and got some good 'ol Oscar Mayer Light 'Premium' Beef Franks. My gosh those FFs dogs, 1 dog 12 grams of fat! Two of those is a little 'fat overload'. The OM Lights, just 7 grams per dog. Whew! But I digress. When I looked through the wrapping I could immediately tell the difference in the skin between them and the FFs. So I had pan grilled some and noticed a big difference in how these do actually sear. But still got the cooling effect by the last bite. So I decided to try somewhat different method of heating. I turned up the toaster oven to the broil setting, foil lined the shallow baking pan and inserted the rack. Placed the dogs on the rack, and into the oven. Occasionally rotating with a pair of tongs they're fully heated and start to get a good sear under that broiler when they just start to curl up a bit. And heated in this manner I found that even by the time I get to eating the second dog it stays good and hot to last bite! Voila! My new favorite way to heat wieners indoors!

Now on to toppings/garnishings. I'm a lover of the kraut dog! Just give me some mustard and jar of Libby's 'Crispy' Sauerkraut and I'm lovin' that dog! Not much of a fan of sweet pickle relish or onions, unless the onion is finely, and I do mean finely, chopped and then just a little. Occasionally I do like them topped with chili and a little shredded cheese, and a little of the 'finely' chopped onion.

Okay those are pretty much the 'run of the mill toppings'. Now I think I'm going to try a 'slaw' dog, dog topped with of course, coleslaw. The sweetness of the slaw dressing is something I could handle as opposed to the over the top sweetness of sweet pickle relish. I think its the perfect ratio of sweetness to 'salt' of the dog. I'm also thinking along the lines of a kimchee topped dog as I'm a huge fan 'hot' spice! Oh and I just remembered we have on hand in the frig a couple varieties of Sriracha Hot Chil Sauce!!! Ooo, as well as some Tapatio and Castillo's Habenero sauces! Oh yeah, look out broiler, you're about to get 'busy' (LOL).

Okay so let's share our favorite prep methods as well as toppings/garnishings and ideas for 'exotic' T & Gs as well. And with late spring and summer approaching it will be break out the BBQs which of course we all know is the ultimate cooking method for the hot dog!

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  1. Yup, grilled is my favorite way. I like the mustard and kraut too, but I like my kraut fried until brown. NO onions and NO ketchup, but a sprinkling of celery salt is nice.

    1. My favorite has always been Thumman's natural casing in the blue lettered package (pork). As to the fat count I don't even look. The best cooking meathod is the Grioll, about the only thing I fire up the gas one for. Everything else gets grilled over charcoal. For toppings? Kosiusko (sp) mustard and kraut. I shudder when I see someone put Ketchup on a dog.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Eric in NJ


        Drive to Newark and go to Best Provisions (not a great neighborhood). Go inside and ask for the Don's Hot Dogs (come in 10# minimums. Go home and grill them up and you will taste the best hot dog of your life.

        Jfood brings them back to CT.


        1. re: Eric in NJ

          I love the foot-long dogs with mustard, kraut and yes - ketchup! Sometimes I will just add thousand Island dressing and shredded lettuce.

        2. I steam Oscar Meyer bun-length beef franks and place them on a non-toasted bun, top with minced pickled hot yellow peppers, mustard (ballpark or spicy brown) and celery salt.

          And, of course, chili cheese dawgs are a national treasure. Same as above, but with Wolf Brand (hot, no-bean) Chili, shredded extra-sharp cheddar, and minced yellow onion.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Take your chili cheese dog and make it a chili/cheese/slaw dog and now you're talkin'.

            May have to bring home some Jersey dawgs our next trip to NYC. Along with our two dozen bagels, ten pounds of dogs sounds like the makings for a nice midflight lunch.

            1. re: c oliver

              I lived in Jersey two years and not once did I have a Jersey dawg. I'll rue this oversight to the grave.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                You are aware, are you not, that there's a major airport in Newark?!? Sounds like a trip is in order. Or, hey, maybe they'd ship you 10#. It's not even close to lunch time here and I'm hungry.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Roundtrip fare from Lubbock to Newark is a bit steep for some dawgs. Even Jersey dawgs. That said, the Khantessa and I love Cape May and will visit there again one of these days. When that happens I'll make certain to dawg out like it's 1999.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    here is the website for Bests


                    Jfood is not sure what the minimum for shipment. Call and find out and then ask which are the Don's dogs which are 4/lb. ANother choice is the Syds dog which are 8/lb.



                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                        NJ should be proud of their dogs, glad to help.


          2. You've not had a Chicago-style dog? Otherwise, you'd say a proper dog has diced onions, day-glo green relish, sport peppers, yellow mustard, pickle spear, fresh tomato wedges, a sprinkling of celery salt, all on a steamed poppy seed bun. No ketchup -- ever.


            5 Replies
            1. re: Channa

              No cucumber?? I like it with all of the above, plus cucumber.

              1. re: Channa

                I freakin' love these...all the way in Massachusetts!

                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                      They do. The neo-green relish, tomatoes and onions are the veggies and the frankfurter is the dog. :-)

              2. A friend of mine made me a memorable hot dog - banh mi style. Boiled Dog in a toasted bun, topped with pickled daikon & carrot, thinly sliced raw jalapeno, and cilantro. Interesting, but I suppose it was really more of a sandwich at that point.

                Personally, I love my hot dogs pan-fried until a little crispy and then topped with pickled jalapenos, onions and mustard...okay, and ketchup. But don't tell anyone.

                1. grilled or griddled. mustard, brown, yellow or dijon. kraut. bun given a garlic bread treatment and grilled or griddled as well.

                  1. My favorite is the charcoal grill way to make the hot dog but in the event I can't cook them that way, I like to simmer mine in a little water in a skillet, then pour out the water and cook them until crispy on all sides.

                    Favorite toppings are like this: onions, mustard, chili and slaw or mustard & hot pepper relish or chili , onions & cheese or mustard & sauerkraut....in those combinations. Sometimes I'll make a caramelized onion red sauce to go on the dogs (like the NY cart dogs)..got to have mustard with that. Not a ketchup person on anything.

                    1. Two methods I prefer depending on the toppings

                      1. Steamed, Srircha sauce, dijon mustard and banana peppers

                      2. Deep fried (or pan fried in bacon grease), grilled onions and peppers, and pico de gallo salsa.

                      1. Scroll all the way down, and you'll find just about every conceivable topping combo:


                        4 Replies
                          1. re: jfood

                            In the Pastrami Reuben Dog and the Rosie O'Donnell Long Island Dog....amidst other additions ;-D

                            1. re: greygarious

                              its la-la land. jfood remembers a scene in Five Easy Pieces...probably cannot get just the mustard and kraut


                              1. re: jfood

                                That's my favorite movie scene ever - and very CHish, isn't it?

                        1. Warm your dogs whatever way you like and select your toppings. Cut a two inch piece of Italian or French bread and cut a pocket in the middle to hold your dog and toppings. Butter each cut side and grill until golden brown. Best hot dog ever.

                          1. To get a GOOD dog, you have to start with a good Dog - and Oscar Meyer ain't it! Hebrew National at the least or search around for better.

                            Don't worry about toppings until you have something good to top!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rich in stl

                              Actually, the more inferior the dog, the more you need the toppings.

                            2. The kimchi is a great dog topping. Mince it until it resembles relish in consistency. You can put it on a bare dog, add it with minced onion, chili, sweet pickle relish (the combo of sweet and hot can be awesome), and so on.
                              I personally prefer fresh kimchi over the sour for this, but either way is good.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: hannaone

                                Now THAT sounds fantastic.
                                I can't believe I never thought of kimchee on a hot dog.
                                Seems like a natural!

                                  1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                                    Yes Kimchi is great on a dog. Toast the bun a little.

                                    I found some ball park with no nitrate if you're health-conscious, but they have 16g fat per dog bun length. They're supposedly "Angus beef". Who knows though what you are eating with a hot dog. But they're delicious nonetheless.

                                    1. re: food_eater79

                                      My understanding is that relatively new federal regulations mandate that dawg manufacturers must explicitly include "variety meats" or "mechanically separated X" on the list of ingredients if the meat used is anything other than muscle cuts.

                              2. Usually top a dog with ketchup mixed with Taco Bell sauce or ketchup mixed with Frank's Red Hot.. Nix to mustard.

                                1. A pan fried Nathan's dog (original) is pretty good. A toasted potato roll makes a good wrapper. Gulden's for spice and diced raw onion for bite. Nothing else.

                                  12 Replies
                                    1. re: steve h.


                                      jfood is not a raw onion person. Have you ever tried those fried pepper strips from a jar. The vinegar and the sweetness of the peppers work really well with the saltiness of the dog. Potato rolls handles both as well.

                                      BTW - Jfood likes the HN Dinner franks or the Don;s Hot Dogs from NJ even better than the Nathan's.


                                      1. re: jfood

                                        I like pretty much everything on a good dog. Must be natural casing. I like McKenzies and Essem, preferably pan fried with a decent bun, but that's not easy to find. My standard toppings are diced onion, yellow mustard and ketchup.

                                        One time I had leftover seasoned bread crumbs for a chicken cutlet and dredged, dipped, rolled and baked some Hebrew National dogs and they actually came out great.

                                        1. re: jfood

                                          haven't tried the fried peppers. i'll put them on the list. we usually keep a jar of homemade pickled vegetables, a la Judy Rodgers, in the coolerator.

                                          I'll keep an eye out for the jersey dogs. what makes them special? who makes 'em? It's always good to know a dog's pedigree.

                                          1. re: steve h.

                                            They are made by Best's Provisions in Newark NJ. Not only are they made there you can visit the place and buy inthe back. Over the GW to exit 14ish.


                                            Jfood will give you a head's up though, it ain't Greenwich Ave. You pull up to the loading dock, walk through a door and there is one refrigerator case with a guy in a butcher's smock. Slip him a twenty he hands you a cryovac of dogs. walk quickly back to the car and zoom away, no ups no extras. make sure the garmin or the nav/loran is charged


                                            1. re: jfood

                                              born in nyc, raised in jersey. dad owned a trucking company. everybody should have connecticut's problems.

                                              thanks for the info. a good dog is worth the effort.

                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                jfood hears you, grew up at the end of runway 23R in elizabeth, spritos was the best italian restaurant growing up.

                                        2. re: steve h.

                                          "A pan fried Nathan's dog (original) is pretty good. A toasted potato roll makes a good wrapper. Gulden's for spice and diced raw onion for bite. Nothing else."

                                          Now that's a classic, steve h.

                                            1. re: bushwickgirl

                                              b & sh,

                                              Shoprite this week.....

                                              Gulden's spicy brown: $1
                                              Nathan's Crinkle Cuts half off: $1.99
                                              Nathan's Beef Franks, 12oz.- 1 lb., Any variety excluding cocktail franks: $2.29


                                              Sorry to tell you in New Jersey, the franks are only $1.78 per package. I stock up on the 12 oz. Natural Casing variety myself.

                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                Ok, thanks, Nathan's are about $3.99 here, at my local Associated. Guldens' Spicy Brown, $1.59. Jeez, I really need to move...not to NJ, though.;-)

                                                How's the golf game lately?

                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                  First round pf the season this past Easter Sunday with my son and nephew......four over par. After the round, we decided to get a quick lunch of pizza, but could not find a place open for 10-12 miles, so we expanded the menu to hot dogs and burgers. For the next 12 miles, again we could not find an independent location open.....lesson learned. Other than a restaurant, do not expect to find many options open on Easter Sunday.

                                                  btw....thanks for asking.

                                          1. 1. Chicago-style
                                            2. Brown mustard and sauerkraut
                                            3. Split open (after cooking) and filled with minced bird chiles, cream cheese, and red onion or shallot
                                            4. At any sporting event, "fresh" from a steam box and topped with lots of yellow mustard from a packet.

                                            1. I live in the Northwest and we just don't seem to have natural casing dogs around here. The only ones I've seen are Boar's Head and I didn't care for them. But you can buy Nathan's skinless at the local grocery and my favorite way to cook those is in the toaster oven until they're almost charred. Toppings are mustard, mustard and kraut, or beanless chili and chopped onion. I do remember seeing an episode of Ham on the Street on the Food Network about hotdogs and the host made a Venezuelan-style hotdog that was topped with crushed potato chips, finely chopped onion and cabbage, mayo, mustard and ketchup. Sounds like it could be interesting, except for the ketchup.

                                              1. My dad always makes pizza dogs. Split one lengthwise down the middle, then put pizza sauce, mozzerella cheese, and your favorite toppings and bake til the cheese is melted. I hate hot dogs, but love these.

                                                1. I only buy Nathans or Hebrew National. Potato buns, gently steamed. Grill or griddle the dogs. I like them two ways.
                                                  1. Yellow mustard, just a bit of sweet pickle relish and minced onion.
                                                  2. No bean chili and minced onion.

                                                  Hubby likes spicy brown mustard, cheese, chili, onion all together. Son likes bare naked dogs.

                                                  1. natural casing

                                                    bacon, sour cream, grilled onions

                                                    (no bean) chili, cheese, mustard

                                                    ketchup, mustard, tiny dab relish

                                                    No salad on hot dogs (except maybe slaw, haven't had)

                                                    1. Oh yeah, 'This Dog Has A Case Of The Blues!' hot dog.

                                                      Broiled till toasty seared dog.

                                                      Placed in a bun that has been split and the split has been lined with some Trader Joe's 'Salem Blue' Blue Cheese. It's soooo 'melty' good!

                                                      Top dog with coleslaw that has been 'laced' with some of the T J's SBBC as well.

                                                      Folks. This is adult hot dog heaven!

                                                      1. Grilled, with grilled onions and blue cheese. Yum.

                                                        1. in a skillet or grill pan, let it brown then add some butter at the end for about 45 seconds, the natural casing will crisp up

                                                          THEN, top with Siracha and Ketchup.....try it, you'll be hooked

                                                          1. Thumans or any really good dog grilled untill it splits all over.......
                                                            A "dirty water dog" with mustard and 'kraut and a yahoo
                                                            a Nathans roll with mustard and 'kraut (my vegetarian dog).

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                              I love a quality natural casing frank with mustard only. Why cover up the taste of a good dog with stuff that just serves to mask the flavor? Occasionally I'll add chili. But 90% of the time it's mustard only.

                                                              My favorite beef dog is the 5 to a lb (long and thin) dog from Best Provisions in Newark. Called the Syd's dog after the popular luncheonette that served this dog. I love it simmered in water than charbroiled on the backyard grill. Syd's boiled theirs and finished them off on a gas grill.

                                                              Other great beef dogs are Usinger's, Sabrett, Boars Head, and Hatfield's New York deli style. Not the inferior beef frank sold on dollar night at Phillies games.

                                                              I love Thumann's for a German style beef/pork dog. This dog tastes best prepared on a griddle as it is tender. I also prepare it in a cast iron skillet after heating in water. Other great dogs in this style are Hartmann's (from Canandaigua, N.Y. available at Wegmans), Sahlen's from Buffalo, and the various European butcher shops and pork stores. Near me I have Union Pork Store, Lutz's, and Kocher's. D.A. Barsch in Toms River makes an excellent dog.

                                                              1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                Mustard, chili, coleslaw - in that order.

                                                                1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                  I saw you again recently on the Travel Channel Hot Dog show. You're like a regular on that network now. Actually, you should get royalties or something.

                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                    That would be nice. It's been like a year and a half and they still show the episode once a week. I'll be on the Travel Channel's show Food Wars soon. I'll be a superfan for a hot dog joint. I'm confident I'll pick the right dog. I see that in last night's episode one of the superfans picked the wrong hot dog!

                                                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                      I've watched the show a few times and will make a point of looking for your debut on Food Wars. Were you invited? That's cool.

                                                                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                        Yes, I was invited and will be the superfan for Jimmy Buff's. The Food War will be between Jimmy Buff's and Dickie Dees, 2 establishments that make the Newark style Italian Hot Dog.

                                                                        1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                          Excellent, have a great time, I will definitely look for the show!

                                                                          1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                            please post before it airs on the time.

                                                                              1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                BTW - little jfood was quick to save the Don's dogs in the basement freezer during the 5-day blackout a few weeks ago. Man that would have been a disaster.

                                                                2. If you can't make it to Bests (thanks, jfood!) look for Sabrett. The dog is smokey and garlicky, quite salty, and has a very high fat content. Ditto to a lesser degree Hebrew National. Rosol's here in Connecticut makes a good dog.

                                                                  In the late '50s and early '60s there was a place called Adventurer's Inn in Flushing, New York. They served hot dogs and hamburgers and had a "toppings bar." In it were the most awesome, finely-cut onions; and they had a very distinctive, 'pickly' taste. I finally re-created that taste by mixing half white, sweet onion (minced) with minced pickled cocktail onions. That, and a little dijon or good-quality deli mustard and I'm happy.

                                                                  Oh, and Sabrett hot dogs should be boiled; the rest grilled for best results.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: shaogo

                                                                    Sabrett's are good boiled, but better on a griddle. The dogs served at Katz's, Papaya King, and Gray's in New York are all natural casing Sabrett's that have been prepared on a hot griddle which gives some char and imparts more flavor than boiling.

                                                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                      Mmm...Papaya King. Time for a flight back east!

                                                                      1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                        Sabrett's - I forgot about Sabrett's. Yes, definitely on the grill!

                                                                    2. Surprisingly little love for the Vienna dog on this thread. Always feel like the Chi is a little underrepresented on the home cooking board.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                        Vienna makes a quality dog but it is mild compared to other beef dogs. My favorite Chicago dog is from the Romanian Kosher Sausage Company.

                                                                      2. I'm somewhat surprised no one has mentioned my beloved Sahlen's, grilled to splitting with whatever you want on it -- I like a little mustard and ketchup, but their flavor holds up to a minimal or loaded dog. I grew up outside Buffalo, so that was the go-to dog at home or out (Ted's!). When Wegman's opened up in the Philly area, my first purchase was a packet of Sahlen's! If they're not there, I'll get their snappy grillers -- the Rochester-style white hot.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: lsmutko

                                                                          I mentioned Sahlen's above. One of my favorite beef/pork dogs. Great on the grill. I get mine at Wegmans.

                                                                        2. My fav method is cooked over a fire, as if camping. No bun, just eaten off the stick it was cooked on. Maybe a little mustard if I'm feeling zesty.