Nothing says summer like enjoying a tangy, juicy chili dog wrapped in a fresh steamed bun.
Whether you’re catching a game at the ballpark, tailgating, or grilling out in your backyard with friends, a chili dog feels like a vacation on a plate.
During hot dog season, which is Memorial Day through Labor Day, Americans traditionally consume an average of 7 billion hot dogs. That equals 818 hot dogs per second during a 98 day period!
Americans take their hot dogs seriously…
The chili dog has an illustrious history. For over 15,000 years, sausage has been a part of our lives dating as far back as Ancient Rome and Medieval Europe.
British immigrants brought bangers to America during the 17th and 18th centuries; however, the hot dog is more closely related to the German sausage. In the late 1700s, sausages were common street food in America.
After the Civil War, they industrialized the sausage and moved from the butcher shop to the factory where they homogenized the sausage was and the hot dog was born.
While the exact origin of chili is unknown, by the 1870s San Antonio, Texas was serving up a meat and chili dish that was very popular with the tourists. Interestingly, it was women who were selling it in booths which caused quite a stir.
Both chili and hot dogs gained popularity at about the same time during the industrialization of America with the convenience it provided consumers. Naturally, they just paired beautifully.
If you’re wondering how to serve up a chili dog that rivals any pro, we’ve got you covered. We have all the answers to your sizzling questions such as:
- What are chili dogs made of?
- What types of chili make a good chili dog?
- What toppings go on a chili dog?
Let’s dig in!
What Are Chili Dogs Made of?
They make chili dogs of a hot dog, sausage or weiner that’s encased in a steamy bun and covered with saucy chili or meat sauce. Primarily, pork and beef are the key ingredients of a traditional hot dog.
They typically make wieners of veal and pork, which gives them a slightly unique taste to their beef counterparts. Nestled in a steamed bun, we usually top them with yellow mustard, chopped onions, celery salt and a meat chili.
What to Serve With Chili Dogs?
Great Side Accompaniments to Chili Dogs
- French fries
- Potato salad or German potato salad
- Baked beans
- Macaroni salad
- Potato chips
Are There Vegan Hot Dog Options?
A lot of consumers are turning to plant-based options to replace some or all of the meat in their diets. Made with no animal products, vegan hot dogs often comprise soy protein, pea protein and wheat gluten.
They actually look and taste like traditional hot dogs. You can even cook and grill them the same as the real deal. Another plus is that they’re low in cholesterol.
There are other significant health benefits derived from opting for vegan dogs. They make some from sunflower seeds which are rich in B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Below are the top 6 vegan dogs suggested for grilling:
- Tofurky’s Jumbo Hot Dog
- Field Roast’s Frankfurter
- Lightlife’s Jumbo Smart Dog
- Beyond Meat’s Brat Original
- Yves’s Good Dog
- Loma Linda’s Big Franks
What Types of Chili Make a Good Chili Dog?
For topping your hot dog with chili there are two schools of thought. The first is a good can of chili with or without beans is a great option.
The second being a homemade hot dog chili sauce. There are some diehard chili fans who believe if the chili recipe isn’t from Texas, then it’s not actually chili.
Whatever your preference, there are many options to choose from. You’ll want to take into consideration the thickness of your sauce and the heat or spiciness of the chili.
Below are the 7 most popular canned chili options for hot dogs:
- Hormel Chili With No Beans
- Hormel Chili With Beans
- Armour Hot Dog Chili Sauce
- Stagg Silverado Beef Chili With Beans
- Castleberry’s Hot Dog Chili Sauce
- Chef-Mate Hot Dog Chili Sauce With Meat
- Wolf Brand Chili Hot Dog Sauce
How can I jazz up a can of chili to taste more homemade or authentic?
If you’re wanting to add a little flair to a can of chili, try adding any, some, or all these ingredients to kick it up a notch:
- Cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Diced tomatoes
- Red pepper flakes
- Fresh chopped onions
For those who want to venture into the homemade chili realm, we’ve included a simple recipe that’s easy to follow, quick to make, and is the perfect sauce for a fantastic hot dog chili recipe.
1 lb. Lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 T fresh garlic, finely minced
⅓ C water
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
¾ C ketchup
1 T yellow mustard
1 T sweet paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Black pepper
- Over medium high heat, brown ground beef and onion until the beef is no longer pink, and the onion is soft (Approx. 8-10 minutes). Use a wooden spoon to break up the pieces of ground beef. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Add water, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until the consistency has a slight thickness.
- Serve warm over hot dogs and add your favorite toppings.
What Toppings Go on Chili Dogs?
We dress a traditional American chili dog with a chili sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, and onions. Some people enjoy adding dill pickle or sweet relish for a nice finish.
However, the possibilities are endless. You can add fresh chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, and bacon. There’s no wrong answer.
What is the Difference Between a Coney Dog and a Chili Dog?
The general thought throughout America is that a chili dog is a hot dog with chili or meat sauce spooned over it and topped with cheddar cheese.
We consider a coney dog to be a hot dog covered with a meat sauce, topped with cheddar cheese and onions. We serve both in warm, steamed buns.
We dive a little deeper here with a great Coney Dog recipe.
Are Chili Dogs Bad for You?
If you’re looking for a healthy option for dinner, a chili dog is probably not at the top of your list. However, as with most things, if eaten in moderation you shouldn’t concern yourself about your health.
A hot dog isn’t as bad for you as you might think. It’s definitely a way to get protein into your diet. As long as your menu plan doesn’t consist solely of chili dogs, you shouldn’t be alarmed.
If you’re wondering how many calories are in a hot dog, it’s only about 150 per serving. They’re also an inexpensive and fast meal option.
With a variety of toppings, it’s worth allowing yourself a chili dog now and then without feeling guilty about it.
For all things hot dog related, we’re here to help!
Whether you’re looking for hot dog recipes, cooking tips, or just information about the beloved frankfurter, we’re your go-to for answers.
Grab your friends and fire up that grill. Enjoy our great American icon, the chili dog. With so many scrumptious possibilities of mouth-watering options, what are you waiting for?