Now that the weather is heating up, it's time to fire up the grill! I've got some great hot dog topping ideas along with some barbecue and beer pairings for your next cookout!
We've had such wacky weather here in the Pacific Northwest: this month we've had everything from sunshine and temperatures in the high 80s, to rain with temperatures in the low 60s, thunderstorms, and high winds.
This has made the spring-to-summer fever hit me even harder, as those nice warm days were the perfect opportunity to dine al fresco and enjoy the spring sunshine!
BBQ Entertaining Tips
Even when we're experiencing rainy weather, I still like to grill indoors and bring a bit of that spring sunshine back inside onto our dinner table. Here are some simple ways that I love to brighten up our spring indoor/outdoor grilling adventures:
- Use bright colorful plates and napkins with playful patterns.
- Use vibrant outdoor lanterns as decorative beer holders/chillers.
- Bring freshly cut spring flowers and place in small vases throughout the table setting. My favorites are simple white daisies, because they honestly go with every type of table setting imaginable!
- Switch out muted outdoor pillows for pretty pastels or bold hues.
- Pair your main entrees with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies.
A table bursting with vibrant, bright colors is a great way to help transition your dinner table, whether indoors or outdoors, into spring!
Yummy hot dog toppings + barbecue and beer pairings
One of my favorite main dishes to serve for spring barbecues is a platter of my favorite hot dogs. My kids and I don't have hot dogs often, but they are SO fast and easy to make on the grill.
When we do enjoy hot dogs at our BBQs, I am pretty picky about the kind we eat. I look for ones that have no artificial flavors, colors, fillers, or by-products. They may cost a little more than some other brands, but the extra quality is definitely worth paying for. I love eating them in salads, as well as in traditional hot dog buns!
As for toppings, come spring time, I don't just like the decor to be bright and happy, I love for my hot dog toppings to sing of spring as well. In my opinion, when food looks good, it tastes even better! And, I've learned through the tough job of taste testing (hey, someone's gotta do it!), that these deliciously topped hot dogs taste even better when paired with the right adult beverages.
Here are three of my favorite colorful hot dog toppings that would be perfect for your next BBQ. Plus: my tips for barbecue and beer pairings!
Cucumbers & Red Onions + Cider
For a light and bright topping, try ¼ chopped cucumbers with 2 tablespoons of finely chopped red onions, tossed with 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Makes enough for 2-4 hot dogs, depending on your preferred amount of toppings. Both the cucumber and the red onions give this all-beef frank pairing a nice bit of crunch with each bite!
PAIR WITH: your favorite local cider (hard or non-alcoholic). I love hard cider, and we're so lucky to live in Oregon where there are so many different local cideries who produce amazing ciders. And, I will be honest: I will drink all kinds of cider with whatever happens to be on my plate if that's what I'm in the mood for. Yet this particular barbecue and beer pairing works well because the fizz and brightness of the cider really complements the lightness of the cucumber and subtle zing of the rice wine vinegar.
Tomatoes & Avocado + IPA
You guys, this is my absolute FAVORITE hot dog topping of the moment. I've been on a HUGE avocado kick this past year, and I am in love with how the fresh tomatoes and the soft texture of the avocados go with these all-beef franks.
To make this topping, simply dice one small Roma tomato, one regular-sized avocado, and toss gently with salt and pepper. Makes enough for 2-4 hot dogs, depending on your preferred amount of toppings.
PAIR WITH: your favorite IPA. The textures of the toppings for this hot dog make it go really well with a nice hoppy IPA. A sturdy set of toppings call for a sturdy beverage that can hold it all together.
Peppers & Onions + Stout
I love to toss about a ¼ cup each of sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, along with a ½ cup of sliced onions and one finely minced garlic clove, onto a grill pan and serve them on your favorite hot dogs. This is a right, hearty, fulfilling topping that has extra smoky flavor thanks to the grilled vegetables.
PAIR WITH: your favorite stout OR IPA. A hearty topping calls for a hearty beverage! While a thick stout does the job, I also like this topping paired with a hoppy IPA to help bring out those grilled pepper and onion flavors even more.
As you can see, it really doesn't take much time or effort, and you also don't have to spend a lot of money either, to create these bright, colorful, delicious, premium toppings for your next spring BBQ. Super delicious can be super easy!
What are your favorite barbecue and beer pairings?
Which of these three hot dog toppings would you enjoy the most?