Elevate Your Dog

Elevated hot dog photo by Cindy Dyer.

The ubiquitous hot dog has its place almost any time and anywhere. It’s tailgate season and even if your tailgate is at home, make these always-popular chili dogs. They’re easy and they don’t take you far away from the big screen and roaring crowd. Make the chili ahead. Grill a quality hot dog like Hebrew National all-beef dogs and toast your buns right on the same grill where you grilled the hot dogs.  (A sturdy vessel is needed to hold all that chili you’ll put on the dogs.) Serve them with hot dog chili (my recipe here), some store-bought cheese sauce, mustard and chopped onions. Add some easy sides, various chips will do, and get back to the game.

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh red pepper, finely grated
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 16-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • Salt to taste

Fry chopped onions over high heat, stirring often, until they begin to brown. Add the red peppers and ground beef ground beef, stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned.

Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, chili powder and beef broth. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Taste for seasonings, add salt and more chili powder if needed. Can prepare ahead of time and reheat. Freezes well. If the sauce begins to get dry, just add more beef broth.

Hints: Chili powder is a blend of spices typically used in Mexican-style dishes – cumin, chili pepper, oregano, salt, garlic. If you don’t have chili powder, season with these various spices to your taste. I recommend Better than Bouillon® beef base. It’s organic and really good.


After eating my chili dogs, our 12-year-old son says , “Mom, why don’t you just buy Hormel® chili without beans in a can? That’s what we do at Connor’s house and it’s really good!”

Like I said, elevate your dog and do it your way on your own schedule. If you make it they will come, and that’s hospitality!


4 thoughts on “Elevate Your Dog

  1. Hi, Barbara,

    I love them ‘air hot dogs (‘air is south Georgia-speak for there, as in “I love them there hot dogs.” A few years ago–okay, it was quite a few years ago— I was en route to Detroit and changed planes at O’Hare in Chicago and I had the hungries (that’s right, right? Change the y to I and add es?). I went to the terminal SlopJar and ordered two dogs with chili. When I entered the establishment I was the sole customer, so I anticipated fast service.

    The dogs were served on a paper plate, hidden by a mountain of chili comparable to the fire, brimstone and ashes that covered Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted and interrupted the lives of everyone in town—yep, sent almost the entire population to another realm. Judging from some of the frescoes that were painted on the walls of the numerous bathhouses, a considerable number of the population may have descended (as opposed to ascended). There is a slight chance that I could be wrong, of course.

    But I digress—back to the dogs. There were no utensils visible—no knives, forks or spoons, no solid silver, silver-plated, steel or tin and not even any of those flimsy plastic forks that reduce themselves to only one tine (prong), rendering it useful only as a toothpick. The attendant denied having any utensils under the counter, in the storeroom or in his pockets.

    I had to assume that the buns and the dogs were under the chili because there were two distinct oblong shapes visible, and I gave no thought to using my finger to confirm what was below the chili because steam was rising from the mixture and that’s how Mount Vesuvius started, and added to that was the fact that no paper napkins were in sight.

    I detest this phrase but I’ll use it anyway. To make a long story short, I sold the paper plate and its burden back to the attendant. I did not complain, and I made my request for reimbursement in words of one syllable (I hate that phrase also). I said, “I want my cash back.” He apparently had not been trained to offer an apology to a disgruntled customer, but he complied with the utmost alacrity in completing the refund transaction.

    Oh, I almost forgot—your dog posting is nicely presented with literary precision and superb graphics. Only one item is a slight turn-off for me in the posting, and that’s in the photo. I don’t hate mustard, but I avoid it whenever possible. I like mayonnaise on my hot dogs, and I refuse to dilute the mayo with even the slightest smidgen of chili.

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