Dress up the dog: How to make your hot dogs haute

In this image taken on July 30, 2012, hot dogs, from left, Greek spanakopita, Indian curry, taco and pizza are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
If we’re being frank, the plain old hot dog can get a little boring — especially by the third or fourth cookout of the season. This summer, ditch the boring bun and common condiments and get creative with your foot-long.

Pictured from left: a Greek spanakopita hot dog, an Indian curry hot dog, a taco hot dog and a pizza hot dog. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

In this image taken on July 30, 2012, Indian curry hot dogs are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
The Curry Dog

The Associated Press’ food editor has the perfect recipe for an Indian curry hot dog. It calls for potato buns, paneer, mango chutney and fresh cilantro. Find the full recipe here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

In this image taken on July 30, 2012, a taco hot dog is shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
The Taco Dog

Pile refried beans, tortilla chips, sliced jalapeños, tomato salsa, black olives and shredded cheddar cheese on top of your hot dog for a taco twist. Find the full recipe here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This June 29, 2013 photo shows, from top left, the sweet peach, Italian and Hawaiian hot dogs in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Hawaiian, Sweet Peach and Italian Dogs

Create a Hawaiian hot dog using thin slices of pineapple, jalapeño peppers and bacon. The “sweet peach” calls for chopped peaches, barbecue sauce, shaved red onion and fresh cilantro. Wrap your hot dog in salami before throwing it on the grill, then top with pickled peppers and provolone cheese to make an Italian dog. Find more hot dog ideas here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

In this image taken on July 30, 2012, Greek spanakopita hot dogs are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
The Greek Spanakopita Dog

Break out the pita and top your dog with sauteed spinach, feta cheese and tzatziki to make a Greek spanakopita hot dog. Find the full recipe here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

In this image taken on July 30, 2012, a pizza hot dog is shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
The Pizza Dog

Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil make a pizza hot dog. Find the full recipe here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

 

 

 

This Oct. 31, 2011 photo shows winter chili dogs in Concord, N.H.  To serve, divide the mashed potatoes between 4 serving plates. Top each with a hot dog, then ladle the beans over them. Top with cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and red onion.    (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Winter Chili Dogs

It doesn’t have to be winter to eat a winter chili dog. Serve each hot dog on top of a bed of mashed potatoes and top them with beans, cheese, sour cream, jalapeños and red onion. Find the full recipe here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

This April 11, 2011 photo shows hot dog dippers in Concord, N.H. Instead of grilling hot dogs and serving them on buns, try wrapping pizza dough "buns" around the hot dogs and then grilling them.     (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Hot Dog Dippers 

Instead of grilling hot dogs and serving them on buns, try wrapping pizza dough “buns” around the hot dogs and then grilling them. Find the recipe here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17:  The Dog House on display at Hot Dog Happy Hour with Mo Rocca during the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at The Standard, High Line, Biergarten & Garden on October 17, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
The Kimchi Dog

Add a Korean twist to your hot dog with a topping of kimchi. An Asian-flavored slaw will also do the trick. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Homemade Chicago Style Hot Dog with Mustard Relish Tomato and Onion
The Chicago Dog 

Russell van Kraayenburg, author of “Haute Dogs,” admits the Chicago dog, loaded with relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices and celery salt, is his favorite. Find a recipe for a Chicago dog here. (Thinkstock)

This June 22, 2015 photo shows a hot dog with Korean gochujang in Concord, N.H. Gochujang - a thick, Korean chili paste - is made from chili peppers, rice, fermented soy beans and salt. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
The Gochujang Dog

Gochujang — a thick, Korean chili paste — is made from chili peppers, rice, fermented soy beans and salt. Mix some up with ketchup and spread it on your hot dog bun for a spicy twist. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**      Low-fat Pigs in a Healthy Blanket are seen in this Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 photo. You can assure your guests that these usually high fat but always tasty finger foods have kept the flavor but reduced the fat. Whole-wheat pizza dough and nearly fat-free hot dogs keep these Low-fat Pigs in a Healthy Blanket guilt free. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
The Pig Dog

Of course, you can turn your dogs into pigs by wrapping them in puff pastry. Find the recipe here. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

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In this image taken on July 30, 2012, hot dogs, from left, Greek spanakopita, Indian curry, taco and pizza are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this image taken on July 30, 2012, Indian curry hot dogs are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this image taken on July 30, 2012, a taco hot dog is shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
This June 29, 2013 photo shows, from top left, the sweet peach, Italian and Hawaiian hot dogs in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this image taken on July 30, 2012, Greek spanakopita hot dogs are shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this image taken on July 30, 2012, a pizza hot dog is shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
This Oct. 31, 2011 photo shows winter chili dogs in Concord, N.H.  To serve, divide the mashed potatoes between 4 serving plates. Top each with a hot dog, then ladle the beans over them. Top with cheese, sour cream, jalapenos and red onion.    (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
This April 11, 2011 photo shows hot dog dippers in Concord, N.H. Instead of grilling hot dogs and serving them on buns, try wrapping pizza dough "buns" around the hot dogs and then grilling them.     (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17:  The Dog House on display at Hot Dog Happy Hour with Mo Rocca during the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at The Standard, High Line, Biergarten & Garden on October 17, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
Homemade Chicago Style Hot Dog with Mustard Relish Tomato and Onion
This June 22, 2015 photo shows a hot dog with Korean gochujang in Concord, N.H. Gochujang - a thick, Korean chili paste - is made from chili peppers, rice, fermented soy beans and salt. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**      Low-fat Pigs in a Healthy Blanket are seen in this Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008 photo. You can assure your guests that these usually high fat but always tasty finger foods have kept the flavor but reduced the fat. Whole-wheat pizza dough and nearly fat-free hot dogs keep these Low-fat Pigs in a Healthy Blanket guilt free. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

WASHINGTON — If we’re being frank, the plain old hot dog can get a little boring — especially by the third or fourth cookout of the season.

This summer, ditch the boring bun and common condiments and get creative with your foot-long.

Russell van Kraayenburg, author of “Haute Dogs,” has spent years traveling, eating and experimenting with different ways to dress up the dog. He’s offering his best tips on how you can spice up the picnic staple. So fire up the grill, turn on your imagination and eat with great relish. (Yes, pun intended.)

Beyond the bun

Van Kraayenburg, who has been “quite obsessed [with hot dogs] from a very young age,” says often times he’ll bypass the eight-pack bag of buns and serve his frankfurter in something more interesting.

Naan, the oven-baked flatbread often found in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines, makes a great wrap for a hot dog (take it one step further and top the dog off with some curried lentils or saag paneer). Put a French spin on the all-American food and sub out the bun for a baguette. 

Or, go completely naked.

“You don’t even have to use a bun,” Van Kraayenburg said. “Just throw a hot dog on a stick and deep-fry it.”

Serve the deep-fried dog alongside some spicy peanut dipping sauce for a Thai-influenced dish, or wrap the hot dog in sticky rice for a sushi-esque treat.

Go global by tapping into toppings

Van Kraayenburg sees the hot dog as a blank canvas.

“It really is the perfect vessel to just throw whatever toppings you want on it,” he said.

And when it comes to toppings, the options are endless. He says some of the best are ones you likely already have on your picnic spread, such as baked beans, pulled barbecue, potato salad and coleslaw.

“I think those foods lend themselves amazingly to be hot dog toppings,” he said. “And of course, you can look to any of your favorite cuisines for inspiration for toppings.”

Prefer to go Italian? Try throwing some sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and pesto on your hot dog and serve it in an Italian-style bread bun. Add a Korean twist with a topping of kimchi.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to something more familiar. Van Kraayenburg admits the Chicago dog, loaded with relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices and celery salt, is his favorite. But he encourages you to experiment with your own taste preferences.

“Try to have some fun with it, and try to see if you can outdo your neighbor with your hot dogs this year. The possibilities are endless,” Van Kraayenburg said.

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