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Put Some Pep in Your Hot Dogs This Grill Season [RECIPE]

Michigan Hot Dog (photo: Russell Van Kraayenburg)
Michigan Hot Dog (photo: Russell Van Kraayenburg)

Hot dogs are a perennial favorite for Americans, especially in summer. More than seven billion hot dogs are eaten in the three months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

While traditional preparations and fixings are always a hit, consider packing a little more punch with your dogs this summer. From exotic meat preparations to buns to tasty toppings, there is room for creativity.

“When I think of hot dogs, I see endless possibilities. Toppings are what take a dog from ho-hum to haute,” says Russell Van Kraayenburg, hot dog aficionado and author of the new guide to America’s favorite food obsession, “Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns, and Condiments.

Inspired globally, Kraayenburg seeks to reinvent the wheel where this classic is concerned. In time for Memorial Day, he offers a recipe for the “Michigan Dog” aka “The Michiganer,” a spicy, tomato-heavy take on the chili dog that’s popular all over the northeast and even in Quebec.


• 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

• 1 large white onion, diced

• 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• 1 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tbs ground chili powder

• 1 tsp ground cumin

• 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

• 1 lb ground beef

• 1 cup beef stock

• 8 oz tomato paste

• 4 classic buns

• 4 all-beef hot dogs

• Yellow mustard

• Diced white onions

• Hot sauce, optional


• Prepare the chili sauce: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about eight minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, spices and beef. Cook until beef is browned and no trace of pink remains. Reduce heat to medium-low and add beef stock and tomato paste. Stir until evenly combined. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

• Get out 4 classic buns. Panfry all-beef hot dogs on a flattop. Place the dogs in the buns. Top each with a huge pile of chili, a handful of diced onions, and a thin line of yellow mustard. Add a few drops of hot sauce on top, if desired.

More hot dog recipes and information about the book is available at

This Memorial Day and beyond, don’t give your hot dogs the short shrift. Take a cue from experts and put some pep in your prep.


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