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What Is a Gourmet Hot Dog?

Andrew Kirmayer
Andrew Kirmayer

A hot dog is a long, thin piece of meat, such as beef or pork sausage, contained in a bread bun. Since first appearing in the 1800s, it has taken on many variations. A gourmet hot dog is one that is more sophisticated than the sausage roll often accompanied by basic ingredients such as ketchup, mustard, or relish. It is presented in a different way and can incorporate ingredients associated with different ethnic cuisines. Hot dogs made of alternate types of food are common as well.

The traditional foods of many countries are often included with a gourmet hot dog. Feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives, and other things associated with Greek food, are sometimes mixed in, while guacamole and tortillas can be used in a Mexican-style hot dog. Asian style varieties often incorporate soy sauce, onions, garlic, and ginger. Sometimes teriyaki, chives, and pineapple make the list of ingredients for the finished product.

Hot dogs.
Hot dogs.

Other types of gourmet hot dog are wrapped in bacon, or topped with pork rinds or cheese. The many variations often develop locally and spread to regional markets. Another method to making hot dogs is to use alternate meats or vegetarian ingredients. A pork, lamb, or tuna hot dog can be produced, as well as one made with tofu. The tradition of this kind of food is to keep it simple and not overload it with ingredients, but still many variations can be found throughout the world.

Guacamole can be used to make a Mexican-style gourmet hot dog.
Guacamole can be used to make a Mexican-style gourmet hot dog.

Healthy meats and toppings are often found in a gourmet hot dog. There are varieties that are suitable for people on a variety of diets, or which lack any compounds that are associated with health maladies from improper food intake. Sold at ball parks, restaurants, malls, and street carts, hot dogs are often available in traditional and alternate varieties. The hot dog buns can even be made from different types of bread and be toasted, steamed, or cooked in a number of other ways.

A gourmet hot dog is not only one that can be purchased elsewhere. There are generally numerous recipes online with easily found ingredients that can be put together quite simply; one can also come up with his or own gourmet hot dog. An average sized hot dog can be changed significantly with just a few additions.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - Even just a plain hot dog with ordinary ingredients like ketchup and mustard seems like a gourmet hot dog to me at the moment. It's a very American food and I'm living overseas at the moment so it's difficult to get.

The few places I've found that serve a proper "American" hot dog always seem to prepare a lot of bun and not very much sausage.


@pleonasm - Honestly, I kind of disagree there. I think that the hot dog is probably going to be healthier if it's made out of a higher percentage of protein (rather than starch and fat which is usually the case) but the taste of the dog is usually not the main thing to me. I'm more interested in the type of sauces, the quality of toppings and the combinations of those.

I'll enjoy a tofu hot dog as long as it has the right kind of sauce on it. And if it's wrapped in bacon then it's going to be heaven no matter what kind of dog is being used.


To some extent this is all about individual tastes, but I would venture that the hot dog itself always needs to be of high quality in order to call it gourmet. Hot dogs are often made with a lot of filler, even more so than sausages, and might as well be another hunk of bread for the amount of meat in them.

If you're thinking about making your own dogs, check the ingredients lists of all the different options at the supermarket and see what percentages they give. If anything other than meat is the first ingredient, you should pass it by.

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    • Hot dogs.
      By: Natika
      Hot dogs.
    • Guacamole can be used to make a Mexican-style gourmet hot dog.
      By: Brad Pict
      Guacamole can be used to make a Mexican-style gourmet hot dog.