5@5 - Turn your hot dog into top dog
June 29th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe. July 23 is National Hot Dog Day

Unless you're going rogue on some frankfurters this summer like the competitive eaters at Coney Island, you're going to want to make sure your dog is dressed to impress for the festivities.

Thankfully, Josh Sharkey and Brandon Gillis of Bark Hot Dogs have got all the fixins' to make sure your sausage turns up in the wiener's circle.

Five Tips for Hot Dog Success: Josh Sharkey and Brandon Gillis

1. Start with the classics
"Why mess with a good thing? We're big believers in keeping American classics classic. That's why we love Heinz for ketchup, French's and Gulden's for mustard and of course, Hellmann's for mayonnaise.

These condiments provide the perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, tang and fat for dressing dogs. Plus, they work so well with other all other toppings. If it isn't broke, why fix it?"

2. Pickles, pickles and more pickles
"We use a lot of pickles - bread & butter pickles, dill pickles, pickled red onions and pickled jalapeƱos to name a few. The crisp, sweet acidity of pickles provides the perfect contrast to the rich and fatty snap of a hot dog.

Want to make your own special relish, but don't have the time? Buy a few different types of pickles from the store, chop finely and you have relish in an instant.

Balance the relish out with some mayonnaise and mustard and you have hot dog nirvana."

3. Cabbage a million ways
"Cabbage is such a versatile condiment. We love how varying the cooking or preserving method can yield such a different array of condiments. You can pickle it, braise it, ferment it (sauerkraut), or slice it thinly and dress with oil and vinegar for an instant topping.

For our slaw dog, we take cabbage and carrots, salt them overnight, and then toss with our version of a traditional slaw dressing. The cool, sweet, and tangy slaw provides a nice counterbalance to the rich and smoky flavor of a dog.

If you want to be ambitious, braise sauerkraut with bacon, onions, wine and apples for a hearty topping for the dogs."

4. Meat-on-meat
"Take one part hot dog, add chili (no beans please), smoky bacon or pulled pork and you have just created a carnivore's dream. The full flavor of a hot dog comes through with the addition of some soft, sweet and fatty braised or slow-cooked meat.

And if you want to ramp up the smoky qualities of your dog, a few pieces of crisp bacon will definitely do the trick.

To cut the richness of the meat-on-meat combo add some slaw or pickles. Either way you really can't go wrong. "

5. Putting it all together
"Let's face it - hot dogs are really hard to ruin. Just don't overload the dog with toppings. It shouldn't look like a clothes hamper from your college days. The idea is to dress the dog so that you can taste the flavor of the hot dog.

Try to play around with different flavor combinations such as sweet and sour or hot and spicy. Use braised pork shoulder with spicy slaw and mustard, or chopped pickles with marinated cabbage and mayo as a couple of options.

But if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of really great hot dog, we suggest you leave it plain and remember the reason why you came to love them in the first place."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

See all our best grilling advice at Grilling 101

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Filed under: 5@5 • Bite • Dishes • Hot dogs • Think

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Mike S. of Huntsville, AL

    I think all kinds of toppings on hotdogs are fabulous. I had ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish, pickles, chili, cheese, onions and bacon bits on the last pack I ate. However, if I can eat hotdogs in the company of a fine looking lady (or two!) then toppings don't matter. Meat always tastes better with company. As a bald, middle-aged handicapped man, I don't get much company these days, unless its an escort I hire or the paramedics that come when I can't get myself out of the tub. The paramedics won't eat hotdogs with me – I have asked. And, the escorts look at you kind of funny when you ask them to eat with you. The ones that charge the least money look like they could use a good meal but I digress.

    August 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • mike S.

      Funny shit dude. :)

      June 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  2. best dog food brands

    It's truly a nice and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    August 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

    Pick de Gallo on a hot dogg...you can thank melater

    May 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

    Being Mexican and having leftover Pico de Gallo after grilling some carne asada..I topped my dogs with it and WOW!!! Pico is made with one white onion, 6 Serrano chillies, 2 large tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice...You will not be disappointed!

    May 27, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  5. Podunk

    My wife swears by cream cheese. Skip the mayo & try that.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  6. CrispyAdventures

    My favorite hot dog topping is definitely Onion Crunch. I recently discovered these crispy, fried onions, quite by chance. With 0 grams trans fat and low cholesterol content, I can sprinkle on an extra serving or two without worrying about the consequences. This is my favorite hot dog: http://onioncrunch.tumblr.com/post/6631526686/a-norwegian-hot-dog-wrapped-in-bacon-grilled-and

    Wrapped in bacon, grilled, and topped off with Onion Crunch, ketchup, mustard, and pickles, this hot dog has the perfect amount of crunch!

    July 4, 2011 at 3:47 am |
  7. Susie Q

    I like my hotdogs with mustard and onions, ketchup sometimes, and from a place I used to go to in my childhood - COLESLAW AND KETCHUP ON MY HOTDOG! That's right...they really served it like that and I have been craving them lately. So...yeah! Don't knock it 'til ya try it. If this freaks you out, you can leave the ketchup off! haha But try one sometime with your favorite coleslaw. Yummy!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  8. chana

    sourkraut onions and mustard yummmy!

    July 1, 2011 at 5:56 am |
  9. Ms. Grammar

    Making me hungry for 2 cremated Rutt's Hut dogs. Just add their onion relish to it and I'm in heaven! Going to Clifton NJ on Sunday. Bringing a couple rippers back for RH (I didn't forget)!

    June 30, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  10. Brian S

    "Just don't overload the dog with toppings. It shouldn't look like a clothes hamper from your college days. " So very true! With hot dogs – less is more. With a real high quality dog, just mustard and a great roll works just fine. I'm hungry for one right now!

    June 29, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  11. Wood

    Ketchup does not belong on a hot dog. Neither does Catsup.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Maty

      Thank you, Woody, the voice of sanity. Only spicy brown mustard for this chick!

      July 3, 2011 at 1:17 pm |

      AMEN, brother! However you spell it, Ketchup on a hot dog is SACRILEGE in New York!

      July 4, 2014 at 9:37 am |
  12. Wait, what?

    So two guys wrote an article about 5 things you can do with hot dogs, and they came up with: basic condiments, pickles, sauerkraut, chili, and then all of those on one.

    I'm honestly at a loss for words. Do I sarcastically congratulate them for stating the most obvious and used toppings for hot dogs? Do I point out that "for Dummies" parodies aren't very funny and have been done to death? Or is this the point where I remark about how the internet is literally a wasteland...a couple of good things lost in so much noise?

    Seriously... Mayonnaise on hot dogs? Who would have guessed taking the third most popular condiment and putting it on something garnished with condiments?

    That's it, I'm adding to the list:

    #6 Hot Sauce – Hot sauce is hot
    #7 Pretzels – Why separate the two?
    #8 Beer – Soak the bun in it to save time on drinking
    #9 Cough syrup – Enjoy the taste of hot dogs and cough syrup. Put them together and you won't!
    #10 A cheeseburger – It'll be like a Chili cheese dog with out the spice or beans!

    June 29, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • ATL Native

      I know this is satirical, but #6 is no joke. My kit for going to minor league baseball games always includes some Crystal or Texas Pete for the hot dogs.

      June 29, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
      • I want da gold!

        Bring the heat, Texas Pete!

        July 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      Hot sauce should go without saying though. It's good on just about every type of food known to man.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  13. Al

    Why not just get some more sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate to slather on the dog? It's loaded with them anyways. Remember the story of the anthropologist who dug into a 50-year-old American landfill and found hot dogs still almost like new, preserved with all those nitrites/nitrates? Just think how they'll warp your DNA. Yummy. Not.

    June 29, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • The Witty One

      So what you are trying to say is that if I eat hot dogs I will live forever/forever?

      June 30, 2011 at 11:40 am |
      • I want da gold!

        If that's true it's dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from now until the end of time for me!

        July 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  14. JamieinMN

    I've never heard of mayo on dogs before either. Burgers yes, hot dogs no. As for me, I like the cheapest dogs you can get, yes lips and a$$holes with ketchup, mustard, and relish.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • JainaJade@JamieinMN

      there is a hot dog truck in my area that has lime mayo on their hot dogs which adds just the right pop.
      http://thetopdogtruck.com/menu/ for more information :-D

      June 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
      • JamieinMN

        Very interesting....I would have never though to put mayo on a dog.

        June 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      Lol. Then you need to come to the Southwest and get you some Coronados.

      Ingredients: Beef , Pork, Mechanically Separated Chicken, Potassium Lactate, Sodium Diacetate, and Red 40.

      mmm...mmm good

      July 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  15. ATL Native

    Why work so hard? Just get two all-the-way dogs at The Varsity for hot dog nirvana.

    June 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • ATL Native

      For the uninitiated: http://www.thevarsity.com/

      June 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
      • The Witty One

        Do they deliver?

        June 30, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • S Travis

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Varsity!

      June 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Varsity! http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2010/08/25/last-naked-dogs-served-at-atlantas-varsity-jr/

      June 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
      • ATL Native

        This is sad news of which I was unaware. I live in the East (SF) Bay now, but when I was at Emory in the 80's, the Varsity Jr was my "local" Varsity. I ordered some of their canned Chili recently, so I will have a couple of all-the-way dogs in its memory

        June 29, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  16. Josh

    There are children starving in Africa and CNN is giving money to semi-literates to tell you that Heinz ketchup tastes good on a hot dog.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Anonymous

      African children like hot dogs?

      June 29, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
      • The Witty One


        June 30, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • mikey_t

      And their parents are all here illegally looking to marry and American so they can come here and eat hot dogs with ketchup. Freedom? Hot dogs.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • JamieinMN

      This may shock you...........................brace yourself................................there are starving kids in AMERICA too!!!!! AND YES, ketchup IS good on hotdogs. Amazing how people have different opinions than YOU.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
      • Jerv


        June 30, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • Arick

      How much of your income do you donate to feed those children in Africa Josh?

      June 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • I want da gold!

      Then go feed them. I'll stay here and read this article.

      July 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Ylan

      Unfortunately, you could say this about a manner of other things, but it's not going to change the fact that companies won't be sprinting to donate their money to starving African children when they can also release articles/media that appeal to their "fanbase."

      Also, hot dogs are so versatile; just top them any condiment and they're golden.

      July 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
  17. fob

    Hot dogs roasted over an open fire with just ketchup-

    June 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  18. Truth

    I relish these threads!

    June 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • ShutUpHippie

      *rimshot* lol

      June 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  19. ShutUpHippie

    Though it doesn't really correlate with the basic hotdog, I did piece together an amazing treat a while back that I actually plan on making again tonight: Either slice a hotdog down the middle and stuff it with american cheese (or much quicker and simpler method, just buy Oscar Meyer cheese dogs), wrap in bacon, secure the bacon with toothpicks, deep fry at about 375 degrees for one or two minutes to get the bacon crispy, take them out and drain on paper towels. Once they've cooled slightly, wrap them in refrigerated crescent roll dough and bake until the crescent rolls are golden brown. Let the rolls cool for a few minutes (trust me, that cheese is a little hot), and serve.

    If I ever kill anyone, I want those as my last meal on death row!

    June 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • mikey_t

      I remember eating those at a diner in Pennsylvania years ago. They were called "Texas Tommies" for some reason I never knew. PBS dd a documentary about PA diners a number of years ago and the place was featured in it.

      But nothing beats a Hoffman's Snappy Griller and Wolf Brad chili w/ onions and yellow mustard.

      June 29, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • S Travis

      You'll probably kill someone with that hotdog. Sounds tasty though!

      June 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Arick

      Called a pig in a blanket here in Kentucky.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • HD FAN

      I do the same thing with Chili. Use a food processor to puree it and a an injector to put it inside the dog. But then put a strip of partially cooked, thick cut, smoked bacon around it and grill. More chili, mustard, onions, relish, jalapenos, and catsup and toasted rolls to finish. I always use kosher dogs or brats as they seem to stand up to grilling very well

      June 30, 2011 at 8:03 am |
      • Jerv

        That sounds fantastic.

        June 30, 2011 at 8:10 am |
      • RichardHead@HD Fan

        Brilliant,but where's da cheese?

        June 30, 2011 at 8:10 am |
      • I got dat gold!@RicH

        You can have dat cheeze cuz I got all dat goooold!

        June 30, 2011 at 8:13 am |
    • Susie Q

      I just take refrigerated crescent rolls, cut the hotdogs in half, cut sliced American cheese squares in half to form a triangle, and just stick them right in the crescent roll and roll 'em up and bake 'em. No bacon in there but it doesn't take long to do.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  20. bigboxes

    Mayo? Never heard of mayo on a dog. Oh and you forgot onions.

    June 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • JOE

      You can't be serious?

      June 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
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