Tell me what’s on your hot dog and I will tell you what you are. Maybe that’s not exactly what French lawyer, politician, and food writer Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin had in mind when he said, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” But you can’t deny that hot dogs and how you top them inspire some strong feelings.
New Yorkers keep things simple with mustard and either sauerkraut or onions. In Chicago, they prefer a maximalist approach, loading up the sausages with mustard, tomatoes, onions, sport peppers, a pickle spear, celery salt, and a neon green pickle relish. Out west, you’re likely to find hot dogs wrapped in bacon (because, bacon).
With this in mind, we asked some of our favorite food folks one question: If you had a hot dog named after you, what would be on it? Not surprisingly, the answers were as different as the people themselves. Among the seven responses are BBQ chips, bacon, cheese, various mustards, and relishes and pickles of all types.
Read on to find out what’s on the Padma dog, the Jacques dog, and much more. Maybe you’ll pick up some inspiration for your very own signature dog.
Author, Emmy-nominated TV producer and host, and activist
“If I had a hot dog named after me I would have mustard, ketchup, pickled jalapeños, and crushed Lays bbq potato chips on it!”
Food writer and TV personality
“All-beef dog, two kinds of mustard (yellow and spicy brown), chopped pickles (but never relish!), sauerkraut, hot peppers. I just love all things sour, salty, pickled and spicy to counter the fatty, beefiness of the dog! Also mustard is my all-time favorite condiment. I put it on practically everything (within reason!).”
Dan “Grossy” Pelosi
Founder of Grossy Pelosi and author of “Let’s Eat”
“Few things make me happier than hot dogs. Warm, salty, juicy, and resting on a pillowy bun—they are the perfect canvas for all of your wildest dreams and desires. The Grossy Dog would be grilled a bit longer than the rest because I like a nice char. It would then be laid on a bun that is nicely toasted (more char) and blanketed in melted Swiss cheese. Resting in her bed of melty Swiss, our charred queen is doused in warm and spicy baked beans, a heap of deeply caramelized onions, a drizzle of honey mustard, and finally, a crown of crumbled bacon. I’m ordering two.”
Award-winning actor, restaurateur, and author of multiple books—the latest is “Trejo’s Cantina”
“If I had a hot dog named after me it’d be a mash-up between a classic Dodger dog they serve at the stadium of my hometown team and a Tijuana-style hot dog you get from street-cart vendors. It’d be wrapped in bacon and topped with mustard, ketchup, and extra griddled jalapeños. That’s about as O.G. L.A. as you can get.”
Legendary chef, TV personality, author, and artist
“If kids are around I’ll make a curly dog. I like to eat it on one half of a hamburger bun (less bread that way). I’ll add whatever mustard is around. I also like dill relish made with a dill pickle, mild onions, tomato, scallion, ketchup, hot chili sauce, salt, and sugar. If I top the hot dog, or curly dog, with dill relish I don’t add mustard.”
Emmy & James Beard Award-winning TV personality, chef, author, and teacher
“Well, I started Patty & Frank’s in Atlanta for that very reason, and the P&F Dog is essentially the one named after me since I’m ‘Frank.’ Lemon-cured cabbage, hot brown mustard, pickled jalapeños, and dried mint. It’s my take on the kraut and mustard dog of my youth. Lots of contrasts—temperature, texture, and flavor—all add up to what for me is the ultimate hot dog. It will change your life. It changed mine, that’s for sure!”
Creator of Joy the Baker and Drake on Cake and cookbook author
“My favorite hot dog is a Hebrew National on a potato bun with brown mustard, double sauerkraut, and bread and butter pickles stuck on the side. It’s sweet, sour, and salty—it’s a party.”