Hot Dog! These Dogs Are Delicious

Hot Dog! These Dogs Are Delicious

July is National Hot Dog Month, and we are ready to celebrate. Think hot dogs are just for kids and baseball games? Think again! We hope to change your mind in this post. We'll cover ways to cook hot dogs that everyone will love. From corn dogs and pretzel dogs to authentic Chicago-style hot dogs and homemade buns, you’re going to be surprised by just how delicious hot dogs can be.

Start With a Great Hot Dog

It won’t matter what you put in or on or around a hot dog if you don’t start with a great hot dog. We checked out a few online rankings of supermarket hot dogs: Delish, Thrillist, Serious Eats, and Bon Appetit. The favorite and runner-up hot dog brands from each list are below.

Delish

  1. Sabrett
  2. Hebrew National

Thrillist

  1. Nathan’s
  2. Niman Ranch

It won’t matter what you put in or on or around a hot dog if you don’t start with a great hot dog. Nathan's is a Coney Island classic, and their packaged hot dogs are sold in supermarkets around the country.

Serious Eats

  1. Hebrew National
  2. Boar’s Head

Bon Appetit

  1. Boar’s Head
  2. Hebrew National

If you don’t already have a preferred hot dog brand, we have to recommend Hebrew National. It’s a winner or runner-up in three of these four lists. Boar’s Head is another top consideration, and both Sabrett and Nathan’s are New York City classics. We’ve never tried Niman Ranch, but we saw them on several lists (though never higher than second place).

Homemade Mini Corn Dogs

Corn dogs are a favorite among kids, and they’re surprisingly easy to make. We love this recipe from Just a Taste for mini corn dogs. Cut the dogs in half, then insert lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers. Two smart tips from the recipe we want to highlight: 1) Pour the batter into a tall glass before dipping the hot dogs into it. You’ll get better, more even coverage than if you try to roll the hot dogs in a bowl of batter. 2) Use a deep fry thermometer to ensure the oil is hot enough, but not so hot that it’s approaching the smoke point.

Homemade Pretzel Dogs

Another kid favorite is a pretzel dog. This recipe from The Food Charlatan features homemade pretzel dough, which is worth making whether you wrap it around a hot dog or not. One key step involves boiling the unbaked, dough-covered dogs in a pot of water with baking soda. Don’t skip this step: the boiling water makes the pretzels chewy, and the baking soda helps them brown and imparts that distinctive pretzel flavor. Baking soda raises the pH of the water, and the resulting alkalinity promotes the Maillard reaction. Without this step, your pretzels will be more like pale breadsticks.

While mustard goes hand in hand with both pretzels and hot dogs, consider trying a new dipping sauce. We gathered this selection of dipping sauces for fries, but we bet they would taste heavenly with pretzel dogs too.

Jalapeño Popper Dogs

Still not convinced hot dogs are for grownups too? This recipe from Delish is one that’s definitely for those with a broader palate. Watch the video to see how simple this recipe is, and how delicious those charred jalapeños look. You don’t have to use American cheese; choose any kind you like, or slice your own. But make sure you get hot dogs that are slim enough to fit inside jalapeños, and jalapeños that are big enough to fit around hot dogs.

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

There’s no better source for a Chicago-style hot dog recipe than the local Chicago newspaper. The video will be helpful where it comes to identifying ingredients like sport peppers, and to see how a proper Chicago-style hot dog is assembled.

In fact, you might consider making your own hot dog buns, especially if you can’t find poppy seed buns. Try this recipe from King Arthur Flour which works equally well for hot dog or hamburger buns. To really up your hot dog game, use the USA Pan hot dog bun pan for uniform bun shapes and sizes.