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How to Chill and Grill in the Dog Days of Summer [Recipes]

by Pam Silvia

July 22 is National Hot Dog Day, and you know what that means—it’s time to chill and grill out on the patio. Yes, the peak heat is upon us, but that shouldn’t get you down. Get down instead! Whether you plug in a fan or summer-proof your deck, keep cool and carry on with these 6 recipes for loaded hot dogs.

Be sure to click on the recipe links for full instructions, including prep and cook times, ingredient quantities, and serving sizes.

1. Bacon Mac and Cheese Dog

To make this loaded hot dog, you must first prepare your mac and cheese. Instead of reaching for that Kraft box of instructions, we implore you to make your own from scratch!

Melt some butter in a skillet on medium heat and whisk in flour until combined. After one minute, or until the mixture is golden, pour in the milk and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the contents of the skillet reach a creamy texture and add cooked macaroni elbows to coat them.

As you’re grilling the dogs, be sure to keep your bowl of warmed mac and cheese on hand. Spread this cheesy delight on top of your freshly grilled hot dog and top it off with crumbled bits of crispy bacon.

2. Chili-Cheddar Hot Dog

Take a cue from the world-famous hot dog franchise, Wienerschnitzel, by adding a chili-cheese dog to the menu. This grilled hot dog recipe from Rachael Ray challenges you to whip up your own chili.

The ingredients for a delicious homemade chili include extra-virgin olive oil, ground sirloin, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, chopped garlic cloves, chili powder, and canned tomato sauce. When you’re ready to chill and grill, have this bowl ready to spread on top of your hot dog. Don’t forget to sprinkle some grated cheddar on top along with some diced red onion.

3. Turkey Bratwurst Dog with Sauerkraut

If you’re craving a healthier alternative, turkey sausages contain fewer calories than their porky counterparts. For vibrant flavor, make it a bratwurst dog!

Brought to you by Betty Crocker, this grilled hot dog recipe recommends preparing some grilled onion—just cook sliced onion in a nonstick skillet with oil over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the contents are browned and softened.

On your gas or charcoal grill, cook your bratwursts, uncovered, for up to 15 minutes, turning your dogs until they’re charred to your satisfaction. As you transfer your bratwursts to warmed buns, wrap each dog with a slice of Swiss cheese, and top each of them with sauerkraut, the grilled onions, and your mustard of choice.

4. Seattle-Style Hot Dog

Trademarked by its inclusion of cream cheese and sautéed onions, the Seattle-style hot dog is a worthy contender for your National Hot Dog Day menu. Think of this treat as the love child of a hot dog and a bagel—that’s Washington state’s game-day staple.

Before you chill and grill, this recipe recommends splitting each sausage lengthwise while keeping the two halves together, kind of like a deep incision. This method ensures that the toppings won’t overcrowd your hot dog, making it easier to eat.

When you’re ready to grub, add some grilled onions to the side of the dogs, pipe softened cream cheese on top or inside of the bun (sandwich bags make excellent makeshift piping tools), and finish off your creations with fresh jalapeño slices and a squirt of Sriracha.

5. Paneer Veggie Dog

If you’re looking for a meatless offering, we’ve got you covered. For a vegetarian hot dog that rivals the “real thing,” try out this Indian-inspired recipe! The protagonist of this dish, paneer, is an unaged, non-melting soft cheese that can substitute the semi-robust texture of sausage.

On your cooktop, pour a little bit of olive oil in a medium saucepan, and stir together chopped tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, and grated carrots until they are softened. Season with salt and pepper as you incorporate some scrambled paneer. Mix everything well—be sure to remove the pan from the heat quickly so that the crunch is retained and nothing is overcooked.

Spread the mixture in hot dog buns, and bake these in the oven, making sure to spread ketchup inside each bun and top each veggie dog with grated cheddar before closing the door.

6. Chicago-Style Hot Dog

We’re rounding out our list of grilled hot dog recipes with the beloved Chicago-style dog. As testament to its virtue, how New Yorkers safeguard their pizza is how Chicagoans esteem these Wrigley Field favorites. Here’s how to recreate the magic at home.

Poppyseed buns are a must—and you can’t skimp on the pickled green peppers. When you’re ready to chill and grill, prep some chopped onion and tomatoes to top off your hot dogs. Assemble your treats by also adding a spoonful of relish on top, along with a squirt of mustard. We recommend sweetening the deal with a dash of celery salt over the whole thing.

Of course, along with the fixings, the quality of your hot dog rests on the cooktop, range, or grill you use. Check out our inventory of indoor and outdoor kitchen appliances and call our experts today to see how we can help you revamp your home.