While we realize it’s easy to pick up a 24-pack of hot dogs (and another large but not equal number of buns, because buns and hot dogs are never sold in the same quantity, ever) take some time to think about a crowd-pleasing plan for the first big grilling holiday of the summer. Now’s your time to shine. These tubesteaks are anything but ordinary, and whether you’re making sausages at home or simply grilling the perfect crisp sausages for your ravenous guests, there’s something for you here.

Recipe: Merguez Dogs With Pickled Carrots And Cumin Aioli

These attractive hot dogs are served European style, on a baguette, but that doesn’t mean they’re not perfect for a pigskin nosh. They’re just not beef franks, and we’re okay with that. The cumin in the aioli plays nice with the cumin in the sausage. Good sportsmanship all around.

Lemongrass double as skewers and a flavoring agent. (Photo: Alex Farnum.)
Lemongrass doubles as skewers and a flavoring agent. (Photo: Alex Farnum.)

Recipe: Duck And Lemongrass Sausage Patties

These fragrant sausage patties are great grilled and used in a simple rice-bowl meal with herbs or in a bánh mì. The mixture can also be crumbled into a stir-fry, grilled on skewers (or lemongrass, as in the photo), encased in a dumpling wrapper and steamed, or formed into little meatballs and combined with noodles in a noodle soup broth.

Combine your favorite broccoli rabe accompaniments on a bun. Finito!

Recipe: Broccoli Rabe And Provolone Hot Dog

Make a batch of these updated hot dogs at your next barbecue and watch nobody mention with disdain how much they were looking forward to a plain old weenie with a neat line of yellow mustard. Not that those aren’t tasty, too.

Give your hot dog a Seattle twist. (Photo: Russell van Kraayenburg.)
Give your hot dog a Seattle twist. (Photo: Russell van Kraayenburg.)

Recipe: Seattle-Style Hot Dog

This strange Seattle creation likely came to be in the 1980s or ’90s, when modern variations and the idea of haute dogs began influencing recipes. Not only are these dogs almost impossible to find outside of Seattle, they can be tricky to find within Seattle as well. That hasn’t stopped this deliciously spicy and creamy dog from collecting a cult following. Loaded with veggies, jalapeños, sriracha and cream cheese, these dogs are all about thinking outside of the bun.

Photo: Gabi Porter.
A tamer version of their Isan counterparts, these homemade sausages will impress all cookout-goers. (Photo: Gabi Porter.)

Recipe: Harold Dieterle’s Chiang Mai Sausage Lettuce Cups

Dieterle likes this recipe because while the sausage is slightly sour, it’s not as intense as some of the versions you will find in the Isan region of Thailand (far northwest). The move here is to make the sausage and allow it to refrigerate overnight, which lets the casing set (so it won’t fall apart once it hits the grill). You can also make the chili sauce ahead of time. Once the sausage is cooled, slice it up and make these lettuce cups.

25 Grill-Tastic Burger And Hot Dog Recipes, Right This Way...

Recipe: José Dog

First came the gourmet burger. Now it’s all about the hedonist’s hot dog. Of the wonderfully quirky wieners created by Bubbledogs chef James Knappett, GQ recommends the José dog, in which Mexican meets Americana to fantastic effect.

Photo: Sunset Magazine
Photo: Sunset Magazine

Recipe: Cowboy Hot Dog

The aroma of caramelizing onions builds anticipation for these over-the-top bison dogs, loaded with the onions, bacon and barbecue sauce.

cooking with sausage
Spice up your hot dog game now. (Photo: Mark Shaw.)

Recipe: Merguez Dog With Zucchini-Mint Slaw

Everywhere I went in Morocco, I was guaranteed three things: merguez, zucchini and couscous. And believe me, I tried really hard to incorporate couscous into this sausage recipe, but it simply didn’t take. Instead, julienned zucchini and chopped fresh mint make a crisp, refreshing topping to cut through spicy lamb sausage. The result is so much more than your average backyard hot dog.

Bonus: Watch chef JJ Johnson make a Jamaican Jerk Hot Dog: