Tailgate Time: Bratwurst and Hot Dog Recipes

Ah, fall! Visions of stadium parking lots and portable grills are dancing in my head.


Sure, you could just throw a couple of dogs on the fire, but why not get a little inventive? Here’s how to update your red hots and brats: get them a passport. Italy? Vietnam? Mexico? I’ve got you covered.

Pizza Dogs
Makes 8

  • 8 oblong Italian rolls, split and toasted
  • 8 grilled Italian sausages (sweet or hot, turkey sausages also yummy)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, heated
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, julienne
  • Dried oregano and red pepper flakes

Put a sausage in each toasted roll. Top each with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce; sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (heat of sauce will melt the cheese). Scatter basil, oregano and red pepper flakes to taste on top of melty cheese. Delicioso!


Bahn Mi Dogs
Makes 8

  • 2 baguettes, cut into quarters lengthwise, split and toasted
  • Spicy mayo (1 cup Hellman’s mixed with 1/4 cup sriracha sauce and 1 tablespoon soy sauce)
  • 8 of your favorite brats or large hot dogs, grilled
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 red jalapeno chile, seeded, cut in paper-thin slices
  • Quick-pickled carrots and daikon (recipe follows)
  • Whole cilantro and mint leaves for garnish

Spread each toasted baguette length with spicy mayo to taste. Put a brat in each baguette. Top each with cucumber, scallions, chiles, pickled veggies and cilantro and mint leaves. Eat and weep with pleasure.

Quick-Pickled Veggies

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 cup matchstick daikon radish

In small saucepan, combine water, sugar, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil. Cool slightly. Place carrots and daikon in a clean glass jar. Pour vinegar brine over veggies and let sit for 1 hour at room temp. Let cool in the jar, then cover and refrigerate. Will keep for 2 weeks.


Mexican Hot Dogs
Makes 8

  • 8 beef hot dogs
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 8 oblong bollito rolls, split and toasted (sub a nice crusty sandwich roll)
  • 1 can refried beans (I like Bearitos vegetarian refried black beans), mixed with 1/4 cup tomato salsa and heated
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • Green hot sauce (Tabasco is fine, El Yucateco is better!)
  • French’s yellow mustard and Hellman’s mayo, in squeeze bottles
  • Lime wedge

Wrap each hot dog in a strip of bacon and grill. Place in toasted bollito rolls, and top evenly with beans, chopped onion and tomato. Drizzle with tomatillo salsa, mustard and mayo. Serve with a lime wedge. Buen provecho!

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