The Dog Days of Summer

Produced by Brett Levine

Food Styling by Lily Plauché

Photography by Becky Staynor


Coneys. Frankfurters. Wieners. Call them what you will, but the hot dog is a traditional American summer treat. Whether grilled or boiled, covered in mustard or eaten plain, devoured at a ballpark or in the backyard, the hot dog is a delight like no other.

We Americans love regional cuisine and few treats generate more traditions than the hot dog. Whether it’s a part of a Coney Island eating contest or bursting with a certain city’s classic toppings, hot dogs are as identified with specific regions as baseball teams are.

As you settle into summer, try these fresh takes on the traditional dog. There’s the Chicago, a true legend, made famous by the tomato wedges, pickle spears, and poppy seed bun. Then there’s the Birmingham Dog, blending classic flavors from potato chips and barbecue sauces to create an experience like no other. And the quickest way to add a kick to your summer is with the Atlanta Dog: Who would expect something so sweet yet so hot? It combines classic Georgia peaches and Vidalia onions to make a dog so unexpected your taste buds will be begging for more.

So fire up the grill this summer—Whether you are inspired by the windy city or the gems of the South, these dog recipes will get you and your guests’ tails a waggin’.


Chicago Dog

Serves four


4 all-beef hot dogs

4 poppy seed hot dog buns

8 tomato wedges

4 dill pickle spears

Yellow mustard

¼ cup sweet pickle relish

¼ cup diced white onion

4 pepperoncini

celery salt


Cook hot dogs according to package directions. Place hot dogs in buns and accompany with tomato wedges and pickle spears along either side of each hot dog. Top dogs with yellow mustard, relish, onion, peppers, and sprinkle with celery salt.


Birmingham Dog

Serves four


6 cups potato chips (such as Golden Flake)

1 cup all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup buttermilk

3 large eggs

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large onion, peeled, cut into ¼ -inch thick rounds

cooking spray

¼ cup Alabama barbecue sauce (such as Golden Rule)

2 tablespoons ranch dressing

½ cup slaw mix

4 all-beef hot dogs

4 hot dog buns

sub and hoagie pickle relish (such as Wickles)


Preheat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse potato chips in food processor until finely ground; place in a shallow dish. Whisk together ¼ cup flour, buttermilk, eggs, and cayenne in another shallow dish. Place remaining ¾ cup flour in a paper bag and add onion; shake to coat. Dip each onion ring into buttermilk mixture, then into chip mixture. Arrange onions in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Spray with cooking spray and bake 16 minutes or until golden and crispy. Combine barbecue sauce and ranch dressing in a medium bowl; add slaw, tossing to coat. Cook hot dogs according to package directions and place in buns. Top with slaw, relish, and onion rings.


Atlanta Dog

Serves four


1 tablespoon butter

1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 cup cola

2 medium peaches, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

salt and pepper

4 all-beef hotdogs

coarse-grain mustard

4 hot dog buns


Heat butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions; sauté five minutes or until translucent and tender. Add ½ cup cola, and cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ½ cup cola; cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid evaporates. In a medium bowl, combine peaches, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook hot dogs according to package directions. Spread mustard onto buns. Place hot dogs in buns and top with onions and salsa.

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