These Hot Dog Hacks Are Perfect For Celebrating Labor Day

The days of summer and lounging around on picnic blankets may be coming to an end but there's one last hurrah before you bid farewell to the sunny days. Labor Day weekend is a great time to gather friends and family, fire up the barbecue, and enjoy grilled meats with a chilled drink in hand whilst soaking up the sunshine.

If you're hosting a Labor Day bash, chances are you're thinking of serving a hot dog slathered in ketchup and mustard to your guests and you probably aren't the only one to do so. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council found that, in 2019, Americans ate 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the latter marking the unofficial end of the hot dog season.

As great as hot dogs are, they can get a tad boring. But, if you're hosting a Labor Day barbecue this weekend, there are ways to amp plain ol' hot dogs into flavor bombs. The simplest way to do so is by swapping mustard and ketchup for other sauces. Think spicy mayo, ranch dressing, or even some BBQ sauce (via Bon Appétit). If you'd like to make your hot dogs a bit more fun, though, there are several quick and easy hot dog hacks to try!

Get creative with your hot dog toppings

Traditional hot dogs can transform into entirely new dishes with just a change of toppings. Insider recommends turning a hot dog into a Vietnamese banh mi by adding chopped-up cucumbers, pickled carrots, onion, and cilantro, as well as by swapping a hot dog bun for a toasted baguette. If you are a sucker for mustard — it is a hot dog classic after all — you could add some sauerkraut to the classic hot dog for a German twist.

You can also add some guacamole or pico de gallo for a kick of fresh flavor and color. Adding chili and cheese to a hot dog is sure to be a hit amongst your guests, too. Stuffing a sliced hot dog with cheese and wrapping it in bacon before barbecuing is another favorite. Food 52 suggests tossing caramelized onions for pickled onions, which will add some much-needed acidity to the hot dogs. Hosts can pickle onions at home by simply soaking sliced red onions in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, kosher salt, and sugar for an hour (via Bon Appétit).

If these toppings are too much of a kicker, there are several other ways to elevate plain hot dogs without ditching the standard buns and condiments. Skewering your hot dogs and slicing them into spirals before grilling them can make the hot dogs a bit more crispy. Toasting the buns for a crunchy texture also goes a long way in making hot dogs a stellar cookout food.