Hot dogs and onions are a classic combination, their flavors meld together to create a satisfying, taste-bud-tingling experience.
But onions aren’t a one-size-fits-all addition. They can be prepared in a myriad of ways to bring out different flavors and textures, each complementing your hot dog in its unique way.
Let’s explore some diverse onion styles to top your hot dog.
Some of the different ways you can enjoy onions with hot dogs
- Raw onions – Starting with the simplest form, raw onions provide a crisp, pungent kick to your hot dog. Thinly sliced or finely diced, their sharp flavor can be an excellent counterbalance to the rich, smoky taste of the sausage.
- Grilled onions – Grilled onions offer a softer texture and sweeter taste than their raw counterparts. The grilling process caramelizes the onions’ sugars, resulting in a subtly sweet and smoky flavor that beautifully complements a grilled hot dog.
- Caramelized onions – Try caramelized onions on your hot dog to take the sweetness up a notch. Slowly cooked over low heat, the onions turn a deep brown and develop an intense sweetness with a hint of savory complexity. It’s a time-consuming process but well worth the wait for the soft, jammy texture and deep, rich flavor they bring to your hot dog.
- Onion sauce – Famously served on New York pushcart hot dogs, this sauce is a flavorful mixture of slowly simmered onions in a tangy tomato base, often spiced with a bit of hot sauce or chili powder for an extra kick. Its sweet, tangy, and spicy flavor profile makes it a standout hot dog topping that’s rich in taste and tradition.
- Pickled onions – For a tangy crunch that’ll cut through the richness of your hot dog, look no further than pickled onions. Often made from red onions pickled in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt, they bring a bright, acidic pop to your hot dog. They’re a key component of Mexican-style hot dogs, paired with jalapenos and various salsas.
- Fried onions – Fried until crispy and golden brown, these crispy onions offer a delightful crunch and savory depth that’s hard to resist. They’re a key ingredient in Danish-style hot dogs, alongside remoulade and pickles, providing a wonderful textural contrast to the soft sausage and bun.
- Onion relish – Onion relish is a sweet, tangy condiment that perfectly matches hot dogs. Made from finely chopped onions, vinegar, sugar, and various spices, it combines the best of caramelized and pickled onions in a spreadable form. Its sweet and tangy flavor profile adds a delicious complexity to your hot dog.
- French’s Fried Onions – While not a preparation method per se, it’s hard to ignore this pantry staple’s potential as an alternative hot dog topping. These ready-to-use crispy onions bring a crunchy, savory element to your hot dog with zero prep time. Try them sprinkled over a barbecue sauce-smothered hot dog for a quick and easy take on a BBQ dog.
- Shallots – While technically not onions, shallots are a close relative with a more refined flavor that can bring a gourmet twist to your hot dog. They can be used in place of onions in many of the styles above, offering a subtly sweet and slightly garlicky flavor. Try them caramelized for a sophisticated take on the classic hot dog.
- Spring onions – Also known as scallions, these onions have a milder flavor than regular onions. The white part can be grilled or caramelized for a sweet, tender topping, while the green part can be finely chopped and used as a fresh, crisp garnish.
Do different locations have preferences when it comes to enjoying onions with hot dogs?
Different regions often have preferences for how they prepare onions for their hot dogs, contributing to the diverse array of hot dog styles found in cities across the United States and worldwide.
Here are a few examples:
1. New York, USA
New York-style hot dogs are famous for their onion sauce. This sauce is a concoction of onions slowly simmered until soft in a tomato-based mixture, usually spiced up with a bit of hot sauce or chili powder.
2. The Southwestern USA
In the Southwest, especially in places like Arizona, hot dogs are commonly topped with grilled onions.
Often wrapped in bacon, these hot dogs are served in a bolillo roll and topped with beans, tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, jalapeno salsa, and grilled onions.
Danish-style hot dogs, or “pølse,” are renowned for their use of fried onions as a topping.
These onions are thinly sliced and fried until they’re crispy and golden brown, providing a delightful crunch that contrasts with the soft hot dog and bun.
4. Chicago, USA
Chicago-style hot dogs are known for their garden-like assortment of toppings, which typically includes a fresh, raw onion, diced into small pieces.
The raw onion provides a sharp counterpoint to the other toppings, which usually include tomatoes, pickles, sport peppers, sweet neon green relish, mustard, and celery salt.
Mexican-style hot dogs, or “Sonoran dogs,” typically feature a variety of salsas, often accompanied by pickled onions. The onions, made from red onions pickled in vinegar, sugar, and salt, add a bright, tangy contrast to the rich, savory hot dog.
Bottom Line Onion Hot Dog Toppings
Whether you’re in the mood for a sweet and smoky combination, a tangy bite, or a crispy crunch, there’s a regional onion preparation perfect for your hot dog preference.
These are just a handful of examples; the world of hot dogs is full of regional variations waiting to be explored.
More from Articles
Hot dogs aren’t exactly considered one of the most expensive ingredients out there, right? On a scale from carrots to caviar, …