A simple squiggle of ketchup on a hot dog is an otherworldly pairing. That’s undeniable (unless you’re from Chicago). But ketchup doesn’t have to be what you grab from the fridge door every single time franks are on the menu. Since hot dogs themselves are so simple, so nostalgic—we bet you can taste one if just think about it hard enough—we recommend getting creative in the fixins department. If you need inspiration, here are some Sporked-approved condiments that make great, albeit, unexpected hot dog sauces, just in time for BBQ season.
- Heinz Mayoracha
If it’s a Sporked list of the best sauces, there’s a pretty good chance Heinz Mayoracha is making an appearance. Ever since the team tasted it during their quest to find the best mayonnaise, it’s been an office staple. Senior writer Jordan Myrick described it as “creamy, spicy, garlicky, and just plain wonderful.” Try Mayoracha on a hot dog if for some strange reason you have any left in the fridge after you’ve already put it on all of your sandwiches, sushi, and rice bowls. We’ve tried it and it rules.
- Kewpie Mayonnaise
If you like the idea of a creamy condiment on a hot dog, but the “racha” part of Mayoracha makes you nervous (what’s up, Minnesota fam), give Kewpie a shot. Contributing writer Danny Palumbo likened Kewpie to a smooth, spreadable egg salad, and if you can eat both at a picnic in the park, why can’t you put them together? Plus, it comes in a squeezable bottle that makes it ideal for draping on a hot dog in one swift stroke. If you’re still questioning whether mayo is truly a best hot dog sauce, just look at Sonoran hot dogs and trust that it works!
- Famous Dave’s Sweet & Zesty BBQ Sauce
Speaking of Midwesterners, they really nailed it when they put Lit’l Smokies in a crockpot full of BBQ sauce and called it a dish. Whenever they’re on the snack table at a party, I tend to covertly sneak over because if anyone saw how many I ate, they’d probably call the authorities. It’s an addiction and one I’m ready to bring into the world of Lit’l Smokies’ big brothers, hot dogs. As advertised, this sauce is sweet and zesty—the “gold standard of BBQ sauce,” according to Jordan. And Famous Dave’s is based in Wisconsin, so this is truly a perfect Midwestern treat.
- Queso Mama White Queso with Diced Green Chilies
It’s no secret that cheese sauce is a hot dog’s best friend. (If you’ve ever hit up the nacho cheese dispenser at 7-Eleven at 2 a.m., you know what I’m talking about.) And this isn’t just any cheese sauce—it’s actual white queso, replete with green chiles for just a little bit of heat. As Jordan put it in their ranking of the best store-bought queso, ”Queso Mama manages to keep the heat low while bringing tons of good, cheesy flavor with notes of cumin and green chili that fill your mouth.” Save that giant vat of cheese sauce for a future party and elevate your dog with Queso Mama.
Related: The Best Store Bought Queso
- Follow Your Heart Chipotle Vegenaise
If I was a lesser man, I would make a joke about hot dogs not being real meat anyway, so what’s the point of a vegan hot dog/sauce combo? *At an open mic* What do you call a hot dog without any meat? A hot dog! *Booooos from the crowd* In all seriousness, vegan dogs are great and so is this vegan chipotle mayonnaise. According to Jordan, Follow Your Heart Chipotle Vegenaise is “smoky, a little spicy, and super creamy.” Even if you eat meat and dairy, this sauce turns even the lamest veggie dog into something exceptional.
Related: The Best Vegan Mayo