28 Ways to Serve a Hot Dog (& Why Your Kid Will Hate Each One)

Hot dogs are the one food you can count on in summer. By July, franks are always in your fridge or your shopping cart.


When you need dinner on the quick, hot dogs are there. When you are too hot to even think about a meal with more than two ingredients—dog, bun—hot dogs are there. Even when you’re out and about, hot dogs are there! They are being served at all of your local street fairs, festivals, carnivals, BBQs, sports concession stands, bowling alleys, skating rinks, flea markets, theme parks and, apparently, Burger King. (But why, The King, why?!)

Lunch or dinner, grilled or microwaved, or when it’s 7:49 in the pm and the kids’ last meal was an ice pop at 2:14, hot dogs remind you that your culinary giddy up has given up, and they don’t care. Hot dogs DGAF. Hot dogs aren’t judging you. Hot dogs, legend has it, are made of cow noses and pig butts. What does a hot dog have to prove? Nothing. It’s one of only two foods that are consistently partnered with everyone’s least favorite condiment: yellow mustard. The other food is giant pretzels, which are sometimes delicious, and sometimes a threat to your dental work.

As the wise philosopher and total beach bum, Aristotle, once said, “Hot dogs are to summer what ‘something from the crock pot’ is to winter. What can I tell you, kids? Mom’s all out of give a sh*ts.”

But if you’re feeling a bit bored by the summer festival of frankfurters, fear not! There are so many new and exciting ways to serve a hot dog this summer. No, not hot dog pie (let’s pray that’s not a thing) or frankfurters en flambé (yes, we mean in flames over a campfire).

Here are 28 classic ways to serve hot dogs this summer:

1. With perfect grill marks that your kids will think are gross.

2. Boiled because you forgot to pick up charcoal.

3. Brushed off after falling in the grass because you told your kid to hold the picnic plate with two hands but what the hell do you know? You’ve only been carrying hot dogs on plates for the last 31 years.

4. In a bun that your child won’t eat, but will insist on having.

5. With relish.

6. With ketchup.

7. With mustard.

8. With whatever your kid asked to have on it and then later decided was “bis-gusting,” so you ate it because of course you did.

9. With a side of ennui because how many effing times are we going to have hot dogs this summer?

10. At a family BBQ, to that guy your sister started dating who spends May–August shirtless, no matter what the occasion.

11. At a company picnic where you were recruited to man the hot dog station with the person from HR who wants to tell you about this vacation timeshare you should really get in on.

12. For breakfast because you have a fridge full of leftover hot dogs from the neighborhood block party and someone’s going to eat these damn things, dammit.

13. For $9 a dog at a baseball game your children are begging to leave.

14. Poolside.

15. Lakeside.

16. Beachside.

17. Inside.

18. Outside.

19. Without pride, because it’s too hot to cook real food.

20. On a boat.

21. On a float.

22. To a goat…whoops, nope, that’s your toddler making bad choices at the petting zoo.

23. While camping and wishing you had booked a hotel.

24. To a crying child who asked for a hamburger.

25. As bratwurst, hot dog’s chubby cousin, because you cannot eat another mother-loving hot dog.

26. To someone who insists on calling it a “frank.”

27. To someone who is named Frank.

28. As a substitute for whatever it was you planned on serving but burned beyond recognition on the grill.

Welcome to the middle of summer. Just like the ever-present wiener, it’s hot, sometimes it makes you feel greasy, and the kids are starting to get bored with it. There’s a hot dog for that.

More Mom Truths: