As we approach grilling season, it's time to get together our favorite summer recipes and start looking for new ones. Whether in a side dish or as part of the main event, you can almost always count on seeing hot dogs at a summer cookout.
They're a summer staple for a reason — there's not much that can beat a steaming hot, slightly charred dog coming straight off the grill at the ballpark or by the pool. They're also surprisingly versatile: You can smother them in sauces, batter and fry them, or even turn the leftovers into a breakfast hash.
Here are five ideas for hot dogs so you can make the most use of all of them all summer.
Carlynn Crosby, Times correspondent
Chili Cheese Dog Cups
Turn chili cheese dogs into an easy bite-sized appetizer with this recipe. To make them, start by heating the oven to 325 degrees and greasing two muffin tins with nonstick spray. Using 1 tube of store-bought biscuit dough, slice each biscuit in half and press into each cup of the muffin tins, making sure to cover the bottom and the sides of each. Spoon your favorite chili recipe into each cup. Slice hot dogs into small rounds. Top chili with 4 to 6 hot dog slices per cup. You'll probably need about 8 hot dogs altogether. Finally, cover the top of each cup with shredded cheddar cheese. Brush the cups with egg wash and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from tray and serve with your favorite garnishes like chives, scallions, onions or sour cream. Recipe adapted from delish.com.
Hot Dog Hash
Probably the best way to use any leftover hot dogs the morning after a cookout (especially if you ran out of buns), this hot dog hash is the opposite of haute cuisine but it's an inventive breakfast dish nonetheless. To make it, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add in 2 cubed hot dogs, sauteing until crisp. Then, remove from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined tray. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and saute 1 large, cubed Russet potato until crisp. Next, add ½ diced white onion and 1 clove minced garlic to the potatoes and cook until soft. Finally, add in hot dogs and toss, seasoning with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Garnish with your choice of toppings: a fried egg, hot sauce or ketchup, or chives and cheese. Recipe adapted from macheesmo.com.
Homemade Corn Dogs
Corn dogs are a lot of fun to make, especially over the summer when the kids are home. They're pretty easy, too. Make these by heating a large pot of vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Next, combine 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Then, whisk in 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Dry 8 hot dogs and arrange on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Insert an ice pop stick into each hot dog, leaving enough room to create a handle. Coat each hot dog, one at a time, in the batter and carefully drop into hot oil. Fry until they're golden-brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on baking sheet and, when dry, serve with your choice of condiments. Recipe adapted from thestayathomechef.com.
Pigs in a Blanket
Pigs in a blanket is a classic hot dog snack, but these are fun because they combine the traditional hot-dog-and-biscuit with another snack favorite: jalapeno poppers. Prep them by heating the oven to 375 degrees, lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper and cutting 1 tube store-bought crescent roll dough into thirds, lengthwise. Lay the dough out on the baking sheet. Next, in a medium mixing bowl, combine 8 ounces softened, room temperature cream cheese with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon and 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Then, using a knife, spread the cream cheese mixture onto each strip of crescent roll dough. Cut 8 jalapenos in half, removing ends and seeds, and place 16 mini hot dogs, or 8 hot dogs cut in half, onto the dough halves. Then, place the jalapeno halves on one end of the dough, roll them up and brush with egg wash. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes on prepared baking sheet, then cool and serve. Recipe adapted from delish.com.
Beans 'N' Weenies
Everyone should have a beans 'n' weenies recipe on hand, especially as we approach summer and all the barbecues that come with it. If you don't have one, make this recipe your go-to. While not necessarily as quick as heating a can of beans with hot dogs, ketchup and maple syrup, it's far tastier and worth the effort. Start by soaking 1 pound of dried pinto beans overnight in 8 cups of water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. When ready to cook, drain the beans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil and cook 1 medium diced yellow onion until translucent. Add 4 cloves minced garlic and cook until softened, for about another minute. Then, stir in ½ cup molasses, 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne powder, 2 teaspoons mustard powder and ¼ cup brown sugar. Add the pinto beans to the pot, along with 1 cup brewed black coffee, a pinch of baking soda and ¼ pound salt pork (optional). Cover the bean mixture with water, then cover the pot and cook in the oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours, stir, re-cover with water if necessary and cook for another 30 minutes, or until beans are tender. Turn the oven to 400 degrees and add 8 hot dogs, sliced into ½-inch pieces, to the pot. Cook uncovered until sauce is thick, about another 30 minutes, and serve warm. Recipe adapted from homesicktexan.com.