Basic brats and hot dogs always make a satisfying meal during football season. Most preparations are pretty forgettable, though. Whether you’re looking to impress your friends or just want to try something new, these seven recipes have you covered. This lineup includes everything from a breakfast-inspired corn dog to a spicy twist on pigs in a blanket, so there’s something for every taste.
1. Breakfast Corn Dogs
Just when you thought corn dogs couldn’t get any better, High Heels and Grills decided to try using breakfast sausage instead of a hot dog in this simple recipe. Served with maple syrup for dipping, it’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet. Make sure to pick up fully cooked sausage for this dish, otherwise the meat won’t have enough time to cook through before the batter is finished.
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 8 cooked breakfast sausage links, halved
- 48 ounces vegetable or canola oil
- Maple syrup
Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda to combine. Make a well in the center, then stir in the buttermilk.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep, heavy pot. Oil should climb about 3 to 4 inches up the sides of the pot.
Dredge sausage halves in cornstarch, shaking to remove excess. Skewer each sausage, then dip in the batter, turning to fully coat.
Fry corn dogs about two or three at a time until golden brown and crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining sausages and serve with maple syrup.
2. Cajun Andouille Hot Dog
For those who like things a little spicy, these Cajun-inspired hot dogs from Country Cleaver will really hit the spot. You’ll start with a grilled andouille sausage, then top it with celery, onion, bell pepper, pickled jalapeño, and a bit of cheddar cheese. For even more spice, top these dogs with a little bit of hot sauce.
- 4 andouille sausages
- 4 hot dog buns
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped roasted red bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- 1 jar pickled jalapeño slices
- 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
Directions: Preheat a grill to high heat. Cook sausages until lightly charred and heated all the way through. Remove to a plate and set aside. Toast buns, cut-side down, until golden.
Top each bun with a sausage, then equally divide celery, bell peppers, onion, pickled jalapeño, and cheese over top. Serve.
3. Mexican Chorizo Pigs in a Blanket
Give pigs in a blanket some Mexican flair with these tortilla-wrapped chorizo sausages from Food Network. A smear of refried beans and a sprinkle of cheese add even more flavor and help the tortilla adhere to the chorizo. While the avocado crema is completely delicious, you can also dunk these snacks in any of your favorite salsas. Even plain sour cream would be good.
- 4 (4-ounce) lines fresh Mexican chorizo
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 ripe avocado
- ¼ cup picked fresh cilantro leaves
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Juice of 1 lime
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
- ½ cup canned refried beans
- ¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Prepared pico de gall, strained of excess liquid
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil. Toss chorizo with 1 tablespoon of oil on prepared baking sheet, transfer to oven, and bake, turning halfway through, until fully cooked, about 25 to 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off the casings, making sure to leave sausages intact.
Meanwhile, cut avocado and scoop into a food processor. Add cilantro, sour cream, lime juice, ¾ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Blend until very smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Place one tortilla on a work surface and spread with 2 tablespoons of beans, leaving a ½-inch border. Sprinkle with one-quarter of cheese, leaving a ½-inch border. Place a chorizo link on top of one edge. Roll tightly, and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas, beans, cheese, and chorizo.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add rolled sausages to skillet and cook until browned on one side. Turn in one-quarter increments, allowing to brown, until outside is fully browned, about 5 minutes.
Transfer rolls to a cutting board and let cool briefly. Cut each into six pieces with a serrated knife. Serve with avocado crema and pico de gallo.
4. Italian Sausage Sandwiches with Sweet and Spicy Giardiniera
It wouldn’t be a football lineup without an Italian sausage sandwich, so we went for a deluxe one topped with mozzarella and giardiniera from Cooking Channel’s Nadia Giosia. If you’re cooking for a crowd, set out all the components and let guests build their own sandwiches. You might want to cut the sausages and rolls in half if it’s going to be part of a big potluck spread.
The giardiniera takes at least two days to absorb the flavors and soften up a bit, so plan in advance for this one. Want to make this dish even faster? Buy some jarred giardiniera from the grocery store and jazz it up by stirring in some chile flakes and fresh herbs.
- 1½ cups white wine vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups cauliflower florets, cut into small chunks
- 1 cup pitted green Italian olives
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 red finger hot chile, sliced
- 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 6 black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 Italian sausage links
- 1 baguette
- 4 bocconcini or other fresh mozzarella, drained and sliced
Directions: Combine all giardiniera ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Fill two large, clean mason jars with mixture. If needed, add a bit more vinegar just to cover vegetables. Close lids and store in the fridge at least 2 days prior to serving.
Heat olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Use the tines of a fork to prick sausages in a few places. Reduce heat to medium low, add sausages, and cook for 20 minutes, turning every 4 minutes.
Slice baguette into four segments. Toast until golden. Arrange mozzarella and sausage over each segment. Serve with a generous scoop of giardiniera.
5. Slow-Cooker Bourbon Cocktail Wieners
Crockpots make cooking during football season so much easier because recipes come together in no time and the food will stay hot throughout the game. For an easy appetizer, try Macheesmo’s cocktail wieners in a bourbon sauce, featured on Tablespoon. Just sweat some jalapeño and add some ketchup, brown sugar, bourbon, and water, then stir in the mini hot dogs. After a quick simmer, this recipe is ready to hang out in the slow cooker.
- 2 pounds mini hot dogs
- 1 large jalapeño, sliced
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as canola
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup bourbon
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
Directions: Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add jalapeño and cook just until it begins to soften, about 1 minute. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, and water. Remove pan from heat, add bourbon, then return to burner.
Add hot dogs, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a small slow-cooker and keep warm over lowest setting. Serve.
6. Bratwurst and Red Cabbage
Sick of the same brats with sauerkraut and mustard? Give the sausages new life with Bon Appétit’s brats with cabbage, horseradish, and beets. This fancy-sounding dish is actually pretty easy since you use the same skillet to cook everything. It’s also easy to adapt using different ingredients. Try apples instead of beets or use a different style of beer.
- 1 pound uncured bratwurst
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle pilsner or other lager, divided
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- ½ medium head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 medium red beet, peeled and coarsely grated
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Freshly grated horseradish or prepared horseradish
Directions: Prick bratwurst in several places with a knife. Add to a large skillet and add oil and half of beer. Add water until liquid rises to just over halfway up sides of sausages. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, turning, once, just until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high and cook until liquid is evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Roll sausages to edges of skillet and add onion to center. Cook, turning sausages and stirring onion, until sausages are browned and onion is soft, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate.
Add cabbage and beet to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, and remaining beer. Cover and cook until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve cabbage with sausages and top with horseradish.
7. Chili Coney Dogs
Feeding a serious appetite usually means downing a few sandwiches, but it doesn’t have to if you make these substantial chili dogs from Taste of Home. This version comes together really fast thanks to a simple chili recipe. Feel free to finish these dogs with any of your favorite toppings. We like a little bit of chopped raw onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and some crushed corn chips.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 8 hot dogs
- 8 hot dog buns
- Chopped onion
- Shredded cheddar cheese
Directions: In a large skillet, cook beef and garlic over medium heat until no pink remains in beef. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato juice, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 20 minutes. Keep hot.
Grill or broil hot dogs until fully heated. Serve hot dogs in buns topped with chili and your choice of toppings.