Create a Gourmet Hot Dog Bar by offering a variety of buns, cheeses, slaws, mustards, spreads and condiments! Grilled hot dogs are an All-American Food, but you can take it to the next level by offering different ethnic toppings! Here are some ideas for a fun-filled, fancy hot dog bar!
The Ultimate Gourmet Hot Dog Bar is an excellent alternative to the traditional taco bar, and requires little effort! Fire up the grill, set out the toppings and enjoy the summer! But, first things first, the meaty frankfurter must be good. After all, it is the star of the show, so don’t scrimp on quality or cost!
High-Quality Hot Dogs
Sure, anybody can slap some dogs on the grill, but in order to offer your guests a gourmet hot dog, the frankfurter needs to be of high-quality, preferably an uncured, all-beef hot dog with no fillers, additives, sugar or gluten. I use Boar’s Head Uncured All-Beef Hot Dogs.
These dogs are usually found in the gourmet cheese department or in the deli at your grocer. I like them because they stand up to the heat of the grill and they don’t shrink. They also have no nitrites or nitrates, or caramel coloring and are bit longer than the “other” packaged dogs, which makes for a nice presentation.
Hot Dog Buns
The second important element of an awesome hot dog bar is the variety of buns you offer. Now, some folks want the same old packaged buns, but kick it up a notch by offering brioche hot dog buns, pretzel buns, sesame seed or poppy seed buns!
How to Make Toasted Sesame Seed, Poppy Seed or Salted Hot Dog Buns
Poppy seed and sesame seed hot dog buns are hard to find, but you can easily make them at home! Get the bun of your choice and lightly spray it with oil. Sprinkle the seeds and/or salt over the buns and bake at 350ºF for 5 minutes. The seeds and salt stick to the buns and you’ve got a “designer” gourmet hot dog bun!
Condiments for a Gourmet Hot Dog Bar
Condiments are a personal preference, so be sure to offer plenty of options to your guests! Of course, you’ll want to include the traditional offerings- mustard, ketchup, onions and relish-but try adding some different condiments of interest to your picnic party.
Look in the Gourmet cheese section for crumbled feta, olive tapenade or fresh Mozzarella. Be sure to swing by the olive bar in the delicatessen and grab some marinated olives and feta, garlic and roasted tomatoes or marinated mushrooms!
The All-American Hot Dog
Nothing speaks sports and summer like a good ole’ All-American hot dog. Simple with a soft white bun, warm dog topped with your choice of toppings: mustard, ketchup, onion or relish. Serve with mayo-free coleslaw or potato chips!
Think Mediterranean… we’re talking olives, olive tapenade and Pepperoncini peppers over a warm dog…put it in a salted pretzel bun and garnish with crumbled feta cheese! Serve with Eggplant fritters!
An Italian hot dog in a mini French bread loaf, topped with salami, melted Mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers and a touch of Parmesan! Serve with fried zucchini fritters!
Condiments for the Ultimate Gourmet Hot Dog Bar
Ramp up the condiments to create an impressive selection of flavor and texture to your hot dog bar! In addition to the typical condiments, consider adding some of these!
- Brown spicy mustard
- Whole grain mustard
- Creamy horseradish sauce
- Spicy ketchup
- Pickled okra
- Spicy green beans
- Spicy bread and butter pickles
- Roasted garlic
- Marinated garlic and roasted tomatoes
- Variety of Cheeses: Mozzarella, Feta, Cheddar, Parmesan, Manchego
How Do I Set Up a Hot Dog Bar?
- Set up your hot dog bar in a central area, where your guests have access to all sides of the table.
- Consider the process of making your own hot dog and go from left to right: plates or baskets, buns, dogs, condiments, sides. Consider buying some throw-away hot-dog containers.
- Keep the hot dogs and buns in warming trays, each with a pair of tongs. This ensures nobody sticks their grubby hands in the tray:)
- Place toppings and spreads in the center of the table in medium sized ramekins, each with their own spread knife.
- Finally, set out sides at the end of the table, again with tongs or mini forks (for pickles, etc).
Now that you’re ready to host the Ultimate Gourmet Hot Dog Bar, it’s time to fire up the grill! For easy clean-up, consider purchasing disposable hot dog trays or baskets. Stock coolers with plenty of cold drinks and enjoy your hot dog bar!
Got Comments or Questions? I’d love to hear from you!