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Celebrate National Hot Dog Day !

Let’s Celebrate National Hot Dog Day on 18th July! 

Hot Dog parties are a fun way to get together with friends and family. Don’t underestimate the humble hot dog. A good quality Sausage with a choice of toppings in a toasted bun is difficult to beat.

A hot dog party is easy to cater for but with a little imagination can be elevated to gourmet status.

Whether you can meet up with friends in these difficult times or just have a family backyard cookout ( the Kids love a Hot Dog Party) grilled sausage is everyone’s favorite.

The three main components of a Hot dog are traditionally a Weiner or Frankfurter is Barbecued, topped with relish, and served in a split bun. All three of these options can be elevated to serve a Gourmet Hot Dog.

Tips on grilling your Hot Dogs.

  • Traditional Hot Dogs may look pink but in fact, they are already cooked to eat straight out of the packet. The chilled hot dog can be heated through before tossing them on the grill to char. If you prefer to do this then place them in a pot of hot water for a minute or two to increase their temperature. Don’t allow them to boil for any length of time as not only will the skin split but all of the flavors will be transferred to the water!
  • Many chefs advocate placing the hotdog in a pot filled with beer, seasoning and onions before placing them on the grill to char. This seems to add to the final flavor.
  • Hot Dogs must be cooked over Indirect Heat on the grill grate. They should be turned frequently to make sure that each side gets touched by the heat. This way you won’t burn or overcook your hot dogs. If you place them straight away on the direct flame the casing will split and burn.
  • If you need a refresher on Indirect vs Direct grilling click the below link to access an earlier pitmaster and the cook article Dogs
  • Additionally, if your heat is too cold the hot dog will dry out and become tough. Make sure if you are using a gas grill to preheat for a few moments. On a gas grill, the recommended temperature is 220 degrees C cooking for about 8 mins.
  • Use tongs to place and turn your hot dogs. Don’t use a fork as by piercing the hotdog you will allow all the delicious juices to run out.
  • Consider purchasing a hot dog roller for your barbecue. This genius accessories allow hot dogs to be easily turned whilst still getting the heat and resultant smoky flavor.
  • Click on the link to order in from Amazon.
  • Don’t forget the Hot Dog Bun. Ideally, a bun should be gently toasted. Throw the buns on the grill for about one minute per side before serving.

Ingredients for the Perfect Hot Dog


Whilst traditionally a hot dog is a Weiner or Frankfurter – no rule says that you cannot use other sausages. Offering your guests a variety of textures and tastes is the way to go.

If possible don’t use Cheap Brand Hot Dogs. They normally lack any flavor. Look for all-beef hot dogs. They normally don’t cost much more and are widely available.

Offer at least three meat options. A suggestion list from which to draw from is below.


  • Weiner ( American)
  • Frankfurter ( American /German)
  • Bratwurst ( German)
  • Knockwurst ( German)
  • Pork Bangers ( British)
  • Andouille ( Cajun American)
  • Kielbasa ( Polish)
  • Hungarian
  • Chicken sausages
  • Vegan sausages 

All of these sausages work well on a Barbecue and with a little effort can be found in your local butchery/supermarket.

Why not serve “Hot dogs from around the World”?

The Bun

A standard Hot Dog Bun can be found in any supermarket. Made of soft white bread they often come pre-sliced

Buns and rolls with poppy or sesame seed toppings are also easily found.

As an alternative consider serving mini baguettes. These will give an added crunch to the bread.

Even pretzel buns work well with hot dogs.

Ring the changes with toasted Tortillas or a black sesame seed bun!

Try a Brioche oblong-shaped hot dog bun ( Sweeter bread but rich ).

Whichever bun you choose remember to give it a quick toast on your grill before serving.

Relish/ Condiments

This is where you can let your imagination run wild. There are so many options than the usual ketchup and mustard. A good idea is to create a condiment bar. Display a variety of condiments so that your guests can create their hot dog to taste. Its fun and the display can look amazing.

Remember to use ingredients that will stay fresh. If you decide to go out for a hot dog picnic then just create a mix of sealed containers with a variety of relishes. These can be easily opened at your picnic table.

Aim for a mix of fresh, pickled, crunchy, sweet, creamy, savory, and spicy. This way you will appeal to all the tastebuds. Pick from the list below.

  • Mustard, 
  • Ketchup,
  • Onions both fresh and caramelized 
  • Chilies,
  • Sweet and Jalapeno Peppers,
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheese –all types Cheddar, Feta even Crumbed blue cheese, Vegan Mozzarella
  • Sauerkraut – especially with Franks
  • Coleslaw
  • Pickle Spears
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Habanero Hot Sauce
  • Bacon – Bacon-wrapped Hot dogs are a must anyway!

Decorate your Hot Dog Bar with Red, White and Blue serviettes. Make little labels indicating the type of Relish.


This hot dog party can be as big, complex, or just a simple small family occasion as you choose. Don’t forget Saturday the 18th Hot Dog Barbecue!

Hot Dog


Posted in: Articles

About the Author:

Hi, I am a writer based outside Cape Town in South Africa. I come from a Barbecue obsessed family. With the great weather we have in Cape Town ( most of the year) we enjoy Cooking Outside in our Backyard as often as possible. South African's love to "Braai" anything! The trick to continuing to enjoy Barbecuing is loving the old favorites but experimenting with new foods and methods often.

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