True, grilled meat doesn't need much gussying up to taste good, and most of your July 4th barbecue guests will be happy to scarf down a plain old hot dog and move on with their lives. But you can get a basic frank at any ballpark, and if you're ever going to make a homemade hot dog really special, July 4th is the day to do it. Grind your own sausages, add beer or wing sauce, or—yes, you crazy carnivores—serve them deep-fried and wrapped in bacon. For more recipes to make the day memorable, visit our complete Fourth of July entertaining guide.
The Best Grilled Hot Dogs
With a hot grill at your disposal, turning out a decent hot dog takes minimal effort. But if you want your dogs truly great, poach them first in beer and onions.
Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs With Avocado, Tomato, Onion, Mayonnaise, and Potato Chips
This beast of a dog is made by wrapping a hot dog in bacon, deep-frying it, and tucking it into a roll stuffed with salted tomatoes, avocados, onions, and pickled jalapeños. Add a few dollops of lime mayonnaise, chopped cilantro, and crushed-up potato chips for texture.
Orange and Leek Loukaniko (Greek Sausage)
This homemade Greek sausage is a bit time-consuming, but absolutely worth it if you're hoping to impress die-hard meat eaters. It draws a fresh acidity from orange zest and depth from a mix of herbs, spices, and leeks, all of which blend in a flavor that's unexpected yet perfectly appropriate for summer.
Grilled Italian Sausage With Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions
Sure, it's marginally more labor-intensive than throwing some sausages on the grill, but this is a classic Italian-American combo for a reason. Onions and peppers cook down in a sweet, vinegary glaze that goes great with either sweet or hot fennel-scented Italian sausage.
Hot Slaw Dogs
For a simple but super-tasty way to enjoy a hot dog this Fourth, try topping your links with cole slaw. This slaw, with its slightly sweet, punchy tang, goes really well with the salty snap of a good dog—add a touch of mustard between the two to make it even better.
Buffalo Chicken Sausages
Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce and a dose of cayenne are the secret to these peppery homemade chicken sausages. Cubed chicken thighs are marinated in the sauce before grinding for a fuller infusion of flavor.
Grilled Hot Dogs With Sauerkraut
Innovation is great and all, but when it comes to comfort food, sometimes there's no improving on the tried and true. And when serving hot dogs, it's hard to go wrong with the clean, straight-up flavor of plain sauerkraut and a squirt of good spicy brown mustard. To really do it up New York style, simmer the dogs in a jar of stewed onions.
Grilled Bratwurst With Beer, Mustard, and Sauerkraut
Bratwurst simmered in sauerkraut, thyme, and lager, with a good whole-grain mustard to finish it off, is a natural pairing. (Save some beer to simmer yourself in while you wait on those sausages.)
This Mexican version of a typically Spanish pork sausage is seasoned with ground chilies and complemented with additional herbs and spices, like oregano, cinnamon, and cumin. The heavy seasoning translates to a wildly delicious sausage that can be stuffed into casings and grilled or used loose.
Grilled Chorizo-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Obviously, they don't belong in a bun, but these stuffed poblanos are wonderful for grilling and really showcase the awesomeness of chorizo. The filling runs the gamut of flavors and textures: fresh, tangy, creamy, spicy, cheesy, meaty, and more. Chorizo is sautéed with onions and garlic before being combined with crema, rice, and tomatoes, then stuffed in poblanos, topped with cheese, and grilled.
Grilled Spicy Mango Chicken Sausage
These homemade sausages use dried mango for an intense fruity flavor, then match it with cilantro, garlic, and jalapeño. The heat of the jalapeño is mild enough to allow the mango's sweetness to shine through.