Build Your Own Hot Dog Party Hot
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council designates July as National Hot Dog Month and July 23 as National Hot Dog Day!
Even though you’ll have to wait until August for National Mustard Day, you can celebrate this favorite food by creating a Hot Dog Bar for your residents. Include all the condiments and sides needed to replicate the variety of ways to remix the classic hot dog.
Prepping for the event
When putting together your Hot Dog Bar, be sure to keep these pointers in mind:
• Ensure that you have a few kosher and vegetarian versions of dogs available - for those residents that want or need them.
• Keep lots of extra serving spoons available in case someone walks off with one of them accidentally.
• Ensure your condiments are well organized with clear containers and labels.
• Print out a list of suggested hotdog "recipes" to create some of the classic hotdogs from across the country.
• Keep the drinks simple, classic, and eco-friendly with traditional recyclable glass Cokes and Sprites with straws, but also keep other refreshing drinks like chilled water, and lemonade available.
• Don’t forget the sides. Some great side dishes include classic chips, potato salad, garden salad, and fresh fruit. Many of the toppings can also double as sides as well – for those that don’t want to experiment with new toppings on their classic dogs. Have extra plates and bowls available for the slaw, chili, and beans.
For a fully comprehensive hot dog bar prepare a few different types of dogs and toppings based on your community’s demographics:
Read though this list from Huffington Post and Hot-Dog.Org for some of the more classic American hot dog preparations including collecting all the toppings and ingredients to make; Taco Dogs, Pizza Dogs, Ruben Dogs, Seattle Style Dogs, and Danger Dogs, as well as other traditional toppings and preparations.
• Prepare a mix of grilled and broiled all beef hot dogs, kielbasas split in half, and Polish sausages.
• For a truly gourmet experience, make all sizes and types of rolls available, from classic buns to larger baked and seeded rolls.
• Consider prepping mini dogs as well for the kids by pre-cutting hotdogs and buns into half-size servings.
• For condiments that need to be kept warm, consider investing in a couple of crock pots for use throughout the year. Crock pots are great for preparing meals ahead and can also be used to keep toppings like nacho cheese and chili warm while serving. (*Note* - In the winter months you can reuse the pots for things like spiced apple cider, hot chocolate, soups, and stews.)
Suggested toppings and spices:
• Bell peppers
• Green Relish
• Chopped onions
• Chopped or sliced tomatoes
• Sliced pickles
• Dill pickle spears
• Pepperoncini peppers
• Shredded cheese
• Bacon strips
• Pinto beans
• Nacho cheese
• Celery Salt
• Yellow Mustard
• Classic ketchup
• Cream cheese
• BBQ sauce
• Thousand Island dressing
• Hot sauce
This party is not just about the food it’s about the whole atmosphere as well!
For a truly authentic experience ditch the paper plates and purchase ahead some classic red and white food service trays ($7 for 50 pieces) to hold in the condiment-covered dogs and minimize mess. If you plan to make this a recurring event you may even want to consider buying a bunch of longer white paper hot dog containers, ($13 for 500 pieces) and a set of nostalgic red, yellow, and clear condiment containers ($6 for the set).
Decorate the clubhouse with hot dog themed decorations, and condiment colored balloons. Think red, white, brown, and yellow! You may also want to download some free printable recipe signs, and make your plain white paper napkins ($3.50 for 250) more fun by folding them into pinwheels for an extra special touch.
Also, remember to add labels on the condiments so your residents know what’s what!
*BONUS* If you really want to go all out, consider renting or purchasing a classic hotdog or condiment costume to wear the day of your event.
*BONUS* Encourage residents to bring their own hot dog inspired dishes with recipe cards to share. Or collect the recipes from residents to put together in a recipe booklet and mail out in your weekly newsletter after the event.
Have fun celebrating everyone’s favorite food!