Football Party Food: Hot Dog Bar
Football season is in full swing and with it comes the need for football party food. Whether you’re tailgating, hosting everyone at your house or going to someone else’s house for the big game, you’re most likely going to be in charge of the food at some point this fall. For me, food is the best part about football season. I am not a big football fan so I will gladly take charge of the food and keep the yumminess coming out of the kitchen during the game. Whether you don’t mind missing the game and staying in the kitchen or want to whip up the food ahead of time and still cheer on your favorite team, a hot dog bar is the way to go!
Hot dog bars are my favorite because they are easy, tasty, and still allow you to have enough variety to make everyone happy. The hot dogs themselves are simple to prepare – throw them on the grill or in the oven and they’re good to go giving you plenty of time to focus on the toppings, sides, sweets, and even tackling the project of making your own hot dog buns!
Homemade hot dog buns are not that difficult to make – they are just a tad time consuming. Don’t let the idea of working with yeast intimidate you, it really is a fun project. King Arthur Flour has a wonderful hot dog bun recipe that gives you tips on how to know when the dough is right, how to shape the buns, etc. It is well worth the effort, just take your time, don’t try to rush the dough, and have fun. You’re guests are sure to be impressed with your homemade buns!
Aside from impressing your crowd with your buns, the key to a successful and fun hot dog bar is the toppings. Variety is important here – you need all the classics that are everyone’s favorites as well as some new and interesting ones. Take your favorites and add a little twist to them. For example, sauerkraut is a popular hot dog topping, so I had that, but also offered beer braised sauerkraut. And don’t be afraid to get creative – include anything you can think of. You never know what someone might try.
The toppings I offered for Mod City’s Hot Dog Bar were:
– diced red onions
– diced white onions
– caramelized onions
– beer braised sauerkraut
– cream cheese
– blue cheese
– swiss cheese
And of course, I couldn’t forget the ketchup. If you want to really go the extra mile, make your own! It isn’t difficult. In fact, most of the time is hands off while you leave the ketchup on the stove to simmer and thicken up. Clean Eating Magazine has a wonderful recipe for homemade ketchup and they also have recipes for a delicious smokey bacon ketchup and a chipotle cumin ketchup. The chipotle cumin was a big hit among Mod City’s football loving friends.
But with all those options to top your dog with people might not know where to start. Go ahead and give them suggestions to get their hot dog topping creativity flowing! Simply just search the web or check out some hot dog stand menus and find some that sound good to you. I suggested the Mexican Charred Corn Dog, the Seattle Dog, Hawaiian Dog, New York Dog, and the BLT Dog.
Crunchy, salty things are also a must when it comes to football food. I chose to make my own BBQ Sweet Potato Chips, Crispy Potato Strips and Crispy Onion Straws. You will be standing in front of that hot pot of oil for a while frying, draining and seasoning, but get all three of them prepped beforehand then just drop them in the oil one right after the other to make your life easier and to save some time. I might also suggest putting some of the onion straws on your hot dog.
Football food also screams bacon to me. I had it as a topping option, but you might have a couple marriage proposals from some football and meat loving guys if you wrap the hot dogs in bacon. I used it for another savory snack with these Bacon, Blue Cheese, Apple Stacks, but also went the sweet and savory route with this amazing, to die for Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn.
And last, but not least, for all your friends with a sweet tooth, we can’t forget the sugary goodness. Since it’s fall, I had to incorporate pumpkin somehow into the menu. I took this amazingly delicious Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Glaze and made it into cupcakes – I don’t think anyone ate just one. And because bourbon is my all time fall (or year round) flavor, I had to make these Bourbon Marshmallows that I drizzled with chocolate and topped with graham cracker crumbs.
And if those yummy recipes aren’t enough, I might suggest you also give these a try!
Salty & Savory
Vanilla Bourbon Bundt Cake w/ Bourbon Drizzle
Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Angel Food French Toast Kabobs
Chocolate Beet Cupcakes
Chocolate Whole Wheat Cookies
Salty Sesame Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Covered Coconut Oatmeal Squares
Black Bean Brownie Bites
Happy Football Season! Go Team!
photo credit: Brittany Gross