When it comes to March Madness food options, you can stick with a literal basketball theme, embrace a spherical shape, get inspired by pub grub, or choose to latch on the “madness” part of the moniker and dream up lots of crazy combos, which is what we did for hot dog toppings. Whether you’re a dedicated fan with your pride (or money) on the line, or couldn’t care less about bets, brackets, or watching NCAA basketball, game gatherings are always a great excuse to indulge in beer-friendly fare, so it seemed like a great idea.
Actually, we first spotlighted these creative options, as discussed on Chowhound’s General Topics forum, in an earlier version of this article back in 2014—but we thought they were well worth revisiting today (if only to gawk in a couple cases). Plus, we’ve added some of our own inspired recipes to round out the offerings.
Ketchup and mustard may be eternal, but for the times when they seem run-of-the-mill, give these hot dog toppings a try instead. And obviously, they’re also perfect for baseball season (and all summer long).
Sweet fruit is a classic partner to certain savory cuts of meat (think pork chops and apples), so why not hot dogs? A spicy-sweet cherry relish makes a pleasantly piquant topper, and goes great with grainy mustard too. Get our Spiral-Cut Hot Dogs with Spicy Cherry Relish recipe.
Movie-inspired snacks are too good to be reserved for the Oscars, so try topping a hot dog with gooey nacho cheese sauce and sliced jalapeños any time of the year. Crushed tortilla chips lend crunch (a trick we might have picked up from one of our Chowhound community members, as you’ll see below…) Get our Nacho Hot Dogs recipe.
Bacon makes everything better. So does cheese. Combine them both on a hot dog and you’ll be in flavor heaven. This is the real dream team (and the one we’re rooting for). Get our Spiral-Cut Bacon Cheese Hot Dog recipe.
And now, on to some of the most notable Chowhound community creations of yore!
Barbecue Frito Crunch Dog
laliz suggested a grilled hot dog “swabbed with BBQ sauce” and topped with crushed Fritos. Take your pick from the plethora of regional barbecue sauce styles to make it your own. And consider using chili cheese Fritos for extra oomph.
Mexican Mayo and Jalapeño Dog
mrszondo said her Mexican family’s way of topping hot dogs is with grilled onions and jalapeños, mayonnaise, and cotija cheese. Um, yes, please. (Jack cheese is good too if you like a little more melty stretch.)
Cheezy Chili Stix Dog
deborah24‘s “best hot dog ever” is topped with Easy Cheese (yes, the kind in a spray can), chili, and potato sticks for crunch. Honestly, this sounds extremely intriguing—and like a prime candidate for 4/20 eats too…
Bacon-Wrapped Avo Dog
pacz‘s dog is wrapped in bacon and served with avocado, sour cream, and salsa. Maybe this was what inspired our own bacon dog recipe above?
Spicy Pickle Dog
tartiflette topped Toronto “street meat” with “hot mustard, hot peppers, green olives, sliced pickles and a few dribbles of Sriracha sauce.” That’s quite a mouthful. And not completely dissimilar to a classic Chicago dog.
Fried Egg Dog
Sometimes simple is best: wanderluster opted for a fried egg, which “improves everything.” Honestly, we can’t argue with that.
Baked Bean Dog
kcijones001‘s twist on a chili dog was to swap in baked beans and add sauerkraut and spicy mustard. We’ve definitely eaten baked beans with hot dogs plenty of times, so may as well pile them on the bun!
Per the blurb for this one from 2014, “jjackiex33‘s idea for a sweet-savory combo of marshmallow creme, hot fudge, and melted peanut butter comes from the now-closed Papa Jim’s Exotic Hot Dogs in Winchendon, Massachusetts.” Whether this sort of thing contributed to the closing of said establishment is a mystery, but please report back if you try this at home!
And to wash ’em all down, check out actually-delicious upgraded versions of your favorite crappy college drinks. Prefer sweet stuff? Vote for your favorite contender in our interactive Sweet 16 Dessert Bracket!
Related Video: Five Hot Dogs with Unusual Proteins
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