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Spring is really here. The polar vortex is just a faded memory thanks to beautiful blue skies and sunny days. Which means it’s time to pull out our grill! We love grilling throughout the summer and hot dogs are a great crowd pleaser. Of course I can’t just have a plain hot dog. I decided to create an international toppings bar for hot dogs around the world to spice them up. Luckily these grill recipes are super easy. You can purchase most of the toppings already made.
I’m the cook in our home, but my husband loves to grill. After arguing over charcoal versus propane, we finally bought our gas grill. I was glad to get rid of our charcoal grill! So I guess I won the argument? The first time he used our new grill, he was convinced. For small amounts of food, a gas grill was just more efficient.
We picked up these new Ball Park’s new Park’s Finest hot dogs at my local Safeway. I love that they have no artificial preservatives or nitrates. I also lucked out that this package came with a peelie coupon, but you can save $0.55 on one Park’s Finest product by visiting the Safeway website. Hurry, because the coupon is only good from May 26 through June 1. Just in time for Memorial Day weekend!
Make sure to use tongs to turn your hot dogs. If you use a fork, those tasty juices will run out of the dog. If you like a smoky hot dog, keep the grill cover down while cooking them. Park’s Finest hot dogs are fully cooked, but heating them on the grill just makes them taste like summer.
While my husband grills the hot dogs, I head to the kitchen to make our international toppings bar. We always have mustard and ketchup on hand for our dogs, but it’s time to let my taste buds travel around the world!
In honor of my Louisiana heritage, I had to make a Cajun Hot Dog. This plump puppy is topped with smoky, spicy shrimp etouffee (and its sauce) and topped with scallions and cornbread croutons. If you can get your hands on crawfish, I recommend using them instead of shrimp. I searched several stores in my area and crawfish tails were nowhere to be found. Never made etouffee before? My recipe is at the end of the post.
Tip: Buy pre-made cornbread from the bakery to make the croutons. Just cut into cubes and toast in the oven.
For some reason I crave guacamole in the spring and summer. You can buy guacamole from the store, but I made fresh. I like my guac with a little more lime juice and a lot more heat. For the Mexican Hot Dog, top with creamy guacamole and diced jalapeno peppers. Simple, but delicious.
My husband loves Vietnamese banh mi, so how could I not make a hot dog version? This Vietnamese Hot Dog is topped with Sriracha mayo and tangy cilantro carrot slaw. (Click for my recipe.) It was good. Really good. A combination of spicy, tangy, and savory. Are you hungry yet?
So far we’ve visited Louisiana, Mexico and Vietnam. Of course there’s the traditional ketchup and mustard hot dog too. You can easily expand your topping bars by adding mango chutney (India), bolognese (Italy), or poutine (Canada). The possibilities are endless for hot dogs around the world recipes!
So which hot dog was the winner? Both my husband and I loved the Cajun Hot Dog the most. Making shrimp etouffee takes a bit of patience because of the roux, but it’s definitely worth it. I adapted a recipe from John Besh’s My New Orleans Kitchen Cookbook. If you want authentic Louisiana recipes, add this cookbook to your shelf.
- 3 T canola oil
- 3 T white flour
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 1/2 red or orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken stock/broth (use shellfish stock if you have it)
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 1 pound peeled 21-23 count shrimp, raw
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tabasco or Louisiana style hot sauce
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Whisk flour into the hot oil. The flour will sizzle but keep whisking until combined with oil. Reduce heat to medium and continue whisking and cooking roux until it turns into a dark brown color. This can take up to 15-20 minutes.
Add onions, reduce heat and cook until the onions caramelize, about 5-10 minutes.
When the roux turns shiny and dark, add celery, bell peppers, garlic, cayenne, and paprika. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and chicken stock and turn heat on high.
Once sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Stir every 5-7 minutes to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Simmer until sauce has thickened to cover the back of a spoon.
Add shrimp and stir gently as the shrimp cooks. Do not overcook. Add butter and stir until melted.
Before serving, add 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Serve topped on hot dog, or for more traditional route, over rice.