Three-day weekends plus spring / summer weather mean lots of time spent outdoors for cookouts, pool parties, and barbecues! My brother-in-law wanted to have a fun cookout for his birthday, and as I’m always looking for ways to bring a bit more fabulousness to the everyday, I tried to think of ways to spice up traditional cookout fare. We decided to have a hot dog bar, where we could grill up a bunch of dogs and provide creative ingredient options for hot dog bar toppings so guests could build their dogs their way. If you’re looking for ideas for a hot dog bar for the 3-day weekend or your next cookout, you’ll want to pin this post!
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Hot Dog Bar Setup
To set the hot dog bar, we first grilled up a bunch of hot dogs (I am personally a huge fan of Ball Park’s bun-length franks) and set them out with a bunch of hot dog buns and baskets. I then grouped the hot dog bar toppings by each of the hot dog recipe combinations below in individual plastic bowls from the dollar store. Grouping them together with a sign helps guests create one of the recipe ideas, or mix-and-match from the different toppings to create a unique recipe of their own. I also included some additional, more traditional hot dog toppings, which I have listed below. Guests grabbed a basket, a bun (or not – you can go low-carb and just top your dogs without the bun), and a hot dog and went to work on their creations.
Hot Dog Bar Supplies
Here are the supplies and accessories needed to set up your hot dog bar.
- Plastic deli baskets (available in different colors)
- Checkered basket liner sheets
- Checkered tablecloth
- Hot dog bar signs. You can get the blank printable sign templates I used for our different hot dog bar toppings from Pocket Change Gourmet here.
Hot Dog Bar Toppings
OK, I know you came here for the hot dog bar toppings, so here they are!
Banh Mi Dog
This adds a Vietnamese twist to your dog! You’ll need:
- Pickled veggies – cucumber, carrots, radishes (see how to make quick pickled veggies in my Vegetarian Banh Mi Bowls recipe here)
- Spicy mayo
Peach Salsa Dog
A dog with a summery, spicy kick. I like this recipe from Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls.
Almost like a Cuban sandwich, but on a hot dog. You’ll need:
- Chopped ham
- Shredded Swiss cheese
- Diced pickles
Reubens are my all-time favorite sandwich, so naturally I had to have a Reuben version of a hot dog. You’ll need:
- Shredded Swiss cheese
- Thousand Island dressing
- Optional: shredded or chopped corned beef
Three words: bacon, truffle mayo. Plus a few other swanky additions. Get the recipe on Munchies here.
Tzatziki sauce and your usual Greek salad ingredients top this dog. You’ll need:
- Tzatziki sauce
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Chopped cucumbers
- Chopped tomatoes
- Diced red onion
Mac n’ Cheese Dog
So simple, but so genius. All you need is prepared mac n’ cheese for this family-friendly dog. Optional (but delicious): crumbled bacon and chopped green onions.
This light and fresh dog is oh-so-good. You’ll need:
- Chopped or sliced avocado
This one is inspired by a delicious hot dog we had at Chase Field for a Diamondbacks game. You’ll need:
- Cooked tater tots
- Melted nacho cheese
- Chopped green onions
- Sour cream
Think of those tasty wings you eat on game day, but make it hot dog style instead. You’ll need:
- Wing sauce
- Crumbled bleu cheese
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
Believe what you want about pineapple on pizza, but let me tell ya, some grilled pineapple is divine with hot dogs. For this island-inspired dog you’ll need:
- Teriyaki sauce
- Grilled pineapple chunks
For this traditional Chicago-style hot dog, you’ll need:
- Yellow mustard
- Chopped white onions
- Sweet pickle relish
- Dill pickle spears
- Tomato slices or wedges
- Pickled peppers
- Celery salt
Since we live in Texas, this one is a no-brainer. The toppings double as side dishes for your hot dog bar, too, so make sure you have plenty. You’ll need:
- BBQ sauce
- Cole slaw
- Baked beans
Or, try out a Tex-Mex or Southwestern mix of toppings on your dog. You’ll need:
- Black beans
- Salsa (either a sweet fruit salsa or a spicy/smoky salsa would work)
- Optional: corn, cilantro, sour cream (or better yet, a creamy cilantro sauce), melted queso
Other Hot Dog Bar Toppings
In addition to the hot dog bar ideas and ingredients for each of the specialty hot dog recipes above, here are the staples and classic hot dog condiments you need to have for your hot dog bar, plus a few fun extras to take your hot dog bar to the next level.
- Sriracha sauce
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Diced onions (white and/or red)
- Grilled onions
- Crunchy fried onions
- Pickled jalapenos
What are your plans for the three-day weekend? Are you firing up the grill too?
More grilling and cookout recipe ideas:
- Garlic-Lime Grilled Fish Tacos recipe with the easiest two-ingredient marinade!
- Keto Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus with Lemon Aioli Recipe
- Creamy Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad Recipe
- Tater Tot Mini Cheeseburger Bites recipe
- Chili Cheese Dog Bites
- Pinchos de Pollo (Grilled Puerto Rican Chicken Skewers)
- Red, White, and Blue Taco Bites
- Dutch Apple Pull Apart Pie
- Mini Cherry Hand Pies
- 4th of July Brownie Bites (the best mini brownie bites recipe)
- Bring out the red, white, and blue: decorations, supplies, and food ideas for the easiest 4th of July party ever