Post Image
Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Haute Dog Summer: 3 Fun & Fresh Ways to Level Up Your Grilled Hot Dogs

published May 27, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

As America’s first long, warm-weather weekend approaches, I’m thinking about hot dogs. Hot dogs, in my opinion, are a staple of Memorial Day weekend. They’re easy to cook, taste amazing grilled, and are a smoky, salty, savory canvas for culinary creativity. And what better way to celebrate than with some seriously impressive (and seriously delicious) hot dogs? Or haute dogs, if you will.

To create these fashion-forward franks, I tapped Jenn de la Vega, a Brooklyn-based chef, caterer-producer, recipe developer, food stylist, and YouTube cooking channel host. For the past year, she’s been designing weekly hot dog specials at Wonderville, an arcade gallery and bar in Brooklyn. She creates some wildly inventive combos, with fun, quirky names based on her favorite video games. I asked Jenn to share some of her favorite hot dog designs with us, and did she ever deliver!

Her creations are loaded with awesome toppings — kimchi and crispy garlic; nutty, spicy salsa macha; piles of grilled fresh veggies — but she dresses up the franks, too. In one recipe, she scores the dog, creating more space for the toppings. Another is cross-hatched before going on the grill, which gives you a cool look and more crispy bits. And then there’s the dog that’s split on the ends — it explodes out of the bun like a firecracker.

Ready to get going on your own designer dogs? Check out the lookbook below, then fire up the grill!

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Kimchi and Crispy Garlic Dogs
This hot dog is for the kimchi-lovers. Jenn doubles down on kimchi flavor by adding kimchi juice to Kewpie mayo and then topping the hot dog with chopped napa kimchi. She amps up all those flavors by frying garlic pieces until they are crispy, which will have you swooning with every bite.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Harvest Moon Dogs
This recipe is for the folks who crave summer freshness on their hot dogs. Jenn grills up corn and red bell pepper and combines it with cucumbers to make a fresh grilled salad. She serves the hot dogs with a garlicky yogurt that adds a cool, savory tang and goes perfectly with the smoky-crunchy vegetables.

Credit: Photo: Jason Rampe; Food Styling: Amelia Rampe

Salsa Macha Dogs with Takis
This must-make hot dog is a flavor and texture bomb. The recipe has a homemade salsa macha, which is sooooo good. I have eaten several pints of this salsa since testing the recipe. It is delicious on everything. But Jenn doesn’t stop there. She crushes Fuego Takis in the food processor and uses the crumbs to top the hot dog. The Takis give it heat, flavor, and a texture that keeps you coming back bite after bite.