Never overlook the humble hot dog again in favor of more “grown-up” fare with this sweet & sticky copycat J Dawgs hot dog sauce.
I recently read an article on Chowhound about how it is completely against the rules to eat ketchup on hot dogs as a grown-up. Apparently it’s a kid-thing only to have anything “sweet” on a hot dog and ketchup has sugar in it. Well, I’m gonna break that rule because it’s ridiculous and because there are a whole bunch of us so-called grown-ups who are kids at heart. And anyway, those hot dog police have probably never had the chance to try the awesomeness that is this copycat recipe for J Dawgs hot dog sauce.
If you aren’t from Utah County or didn’t go to BYU, then you have probably never heard of J Dawgs. But stick with me here, because this seemingly silly little recipe for hot dog sauce is going to totally change the way you feel about the humble hot dog that is typically overlooked at summer barbeques in favor of more “grown-up” fare. I get it. I was never a huge hot dog person either. But then J Dawgs came along and my world was turned upside down. And took the “no ketchup on hot dogs” rule to a whole new level of ridiculousness.
J Dawgs started as a little hot dog stand in a shack south of campus in 2004 during my senior year. When I was in law school, it was a quick walk from the law building to the original shack location and it’s popularity was such that there was always a wait to get one of their amazing creations stuffed with toppings and dripping with their signature sweet J Dawgs hot dog sauce. It’s no ball park, game-day hot dog with traditional mustard. It’s a whole new approach and flavor profile for a hot dog and it rocks my world. Especially with plenty of sauerkraut (try it! you will like it! don’t be afraid!) and sometimes with the extra diced onions.
Another thing that J Dawgs does that sets its hot dogs apart is to cut diagonal slashes into each hot dog before grilling them, which creates more surface area for the sauce. They kind of start to curl up on the grill a bit and get all blistery on the outside. And for an authentic J Dawgs experience, you can wrap your finished hot dog up in foil to keep them warm and to keep the drippy, stickiness of the sauce getting on your hands to a minimum.
With the 4th of July and summer barbecues coming up, you definitely, really, absolutely, must give this sauce a try.
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon bbq sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- dash of black pepper
- All-beef or Polish hot dogs (We like the Costco ones best)
- Quality hot dog buns
- Diced white onions
- Banana peppers
Combine all of the sauce ingredients together in a small pan. Stir over medium-high heat just until the sauce starts to bubble. Remove from heat and allow sauce to cool to room temperature.
To prepare the hot dogs, make diagonal cuts in a "W" pattern down the length of each hot dog, slicing about half-way through. This will create more surface area for the sauce. Grill hot dogs on a preheated grill until they are heated through and have nice char marks. The buns can be buttered and toasted on the grill alongside the hot dogs, if you like (which we like!).
Assemble grilled hot dogs and buns and then top with whatever toppings you desire (I like sauerkraut and white onions but J Dawgs also has pickles and banana peppers that are popular options) and drizzle with a generous amount of the sticky sweet sauce. Wrap the hot dogs in foil to keep them warm and to make it more like the real J Dawgs experience!
The sauce can be refrigerated for a week or two if you have any leftover.
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