Goodbye, Dog Days of Summer

fun hot dog toppings

I feel like I was just saying HELLO to summer and already it’s time to bid farewell. It goes by so fast doesn’t it? Like a long-awaited vacation or a three-day weekend, good things always come and go so quickly!

Our friends have been staying in an awesome house on Balboa Island this summer, and we’ve enjoyed many Friday nights with them. They have a little boy only a year younger than Kellan, and the two love playing together while the grown-ups hang out. We always eat something fabulous, watch the kiddos destroy the house, clean it all up, and then walk to get dessert somewhere on the island. We’ve had balboa bars, donuts, cookies, and cupcake sundaes. It’s been a great summer.

Reed is an excellent cook. I’ve bragged on him before and probably will again. Every time we come for dinner he grills something delicious and whips up some amazing homemade sauce to go with it. A few weeks back we were greeted with one of my favorite smells of all time- bacon. Is there anything that smells or tastes better? My eyes quickly found a pan of super crispy, hot-from-the-oven bacon, and I practically tripped over my feet trying to get to it. Reed had decided to candy some bacon. I know. It was as delicious and wonderful as it sounds, and I ate more than a few of the men.

This past Friday I decided I should probably be the one to cook the main course. I’m a chef after all, and can’t stay on the sidelines for too long. I decided to go with hot dogs. Fancy, right? I know you’re thinking that I took the easy way out, but hot dogs have been on my mind for a while. I’ve been wanting to try out a bunch of new topping combinations, so making them for a crowd seemed like the best idea. I mean how many hot dogs could BJ and I go through on our own?

We had grilled dogs with four different toppings to choose from. There was cherry pepper BBQ sauce, Caper-Dijon Butter garnished with fried capers, Banana Pepper Ketchup with Caramelized Onions and Reed’s skillet BBQ sauce with chicken-fried IPA onion rings. Yep, another Reed speciality.

hot dog toppings

hot dog toppings

We had such a great time coming up with these combos and an even better time eating them. I may or may not have seen one of the guys throw all of the toppings on a pile of onion rings, just to “finish it all off”. I won’t name any names but they know who they are. 🙂 Doing hot dogs this way is a really easy, really delicious way to celebrate Labor Day and summer’s last hurrah! You could even encourage everyone who comes to your get-together to bring their own fun topping idea. The possibilities and yumminess are endless!

Happy Labor Day!

Cherry Pepper BBQ Sauce

Combine chopped cherry peppers (from a jar) and your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce. Stir to combine and serve on hotdogs, hamburgers, or use as a dipping sauce.

Caper-Dijon Butter

In a food processor, combine a stick of butter, 1/2 cup dijon mustard, 1/4 cup capers, salt and pepper, 1/4 cup parsley, zest and juice of 1 lemon, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Pulse until everything is combined and mixed well. Serve on a hotdog, hamburgers or use as a dipping sauce.

Banana Pepper Ketchup

Combine ketchup and chopped banana peppers. Serve with caramelized onions as a hotdog or hamburger topping.

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