The Perfect Hot Dog

Sometimes simple is best. You don’t have to go through contortions to make the perfect hot dog. All you need are the perfect ingredients.

The hot dogs must have casings. Otherwise, you do not enjoy that satisfying “snap” when you bite into a dog. Nathan’s is my preferred brand. Trust me on this — just try them once. I would not want to say that your life will be transformed. But it will.

The hot dogs must be grilled. There is no room in this world for the boiled hot dog. None at all. And grilling them is so easy, because hot dogs are already cooked. All you’re doing is adding a charred, tasty exterior. And because there’s so much fat in a hot dog, you can’t screw it up — even if you’re a beginner. I made mine on my Performance™ 4 Burner Gas Grill by Char-Broil with the TRU-Infrared Cooking System.

The buns should be potato buns. They are softer and have an intensely yeasty flavour. You must split them, butter them and grill them. That way, you get the crunch of the bun and the snap of the dog.

This will be controversial except where I live. My perfect dog has chilli and it has to be chilli/no beans from Vietti. Yes, it’s in a can. It’s that perfect, thin chilli you see hot dog vendors use. Vietti is mainly sold in the South, which is why the company can get away with putting Bible verses on the can. We are always looking for ways to have a religious experience, even when it comes to chilli dogs. Look for your regional brand. Probably without any divine guidance.

The dog must be finished with chopped Spanish onions and plain yellow mustard. You could add cheese but you would ruin it. Just kidding. But I don’t think cheese brings a lot to the party in this case.


6 hot dogs with casings
6 hot dog buns
1 can Vietti no-bean chilli, or similar
1 small onion, diced
American yellow mustard


  1. Preheat the grill to medium high.

  2. Put the hot dogs on the grill and turn occasionally, until every side has nice grill marks. Reserve.

  3. Split the hot dog buns and butter. Add to the grill, butter side down and grill for about 2-3 minutes or until they have nice grill marks. Remove and reserve.

  4. Heat the chilli in a small saucepan on the stove or on the grill if you have a side burner.

  5. Assemble the dogs by placing them in the buns, and topping with chilli, onion and mustard.