Nothing says summertime in America like hotdogs on the grill. This Fourth of July, take the party outside and serve up some American favorites — with a tasty twist.

Alicia Cahill, creative director for Coast and owner of The Kitchen Chicken, 528 23rd St. in Galveston’s downtown, offers a variety of toppings for hot dogs, along with other food and entertaining ideas your guests are sure to relish. Everyone will be oohing and aahing long before the fireworks begin.

Salty Dog

INGREDIENTS

6 all beef hot dogs

Homemade pickle relish (see recipe)

Yellow mustard

Ketchup

DIRECTIONS

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Add hot dogs to the grill and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. To assemble the hot dogs, place hot dogs in each bun, squeeze a line of mustard along one side of the hot dog; squeeze a line of ketchup along the opposite side. Generously top with relish down the middle. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 hot dogs

Sriracha Guacamole Dog

INGREDIENTS

6 all beef hot dogs

Sriracha guacamole (see below)

6 hot dog buns

1 Roma tomato, sliced and cut into half-circles

Sriracha guacamole

2 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled

1 mango, peeled and diced

3 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1 teaspoon sriracha, or more to taste

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,

to taste

DIRECTIONS

Preheat grill to medium high heat. While grill is preheating, prepare guacamole by gently mashing avocados in a medium bowl. Fold in mango, red onion, cilantro, sriracha, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

Add hot dogs to the grill and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. To assemble the hot dogs, place a hot dog in each bun, top with guacamole and garnish with tomato. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 hot dogs

The Cowpoke

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, cut into half moons

4 all beef hot dogs

4 potato hot dog buns

About 6 tablespoons mayonnaise

About 2 tablespoons. spicy brown mustard

About 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Place a large cast iron frying pan on the grill and heat it to medium hot (about 350 degrees; you can hold your hand 5 inches above the pan for only 7 seconds). Add oil. Cook onion until deep golden and very tender, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from grill.

Grill hot dogs until slightly charred all over, about 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Add buns and grill, turning frequently, until warmed and lightly charred, about 3 minutes.

Spread buns with mayonnaise and drizzle with mustard and barbecue sauce. Set hot dogs in buns. Sprinkle cheese on top, followed by caramelized onions. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 hot dogs

Greek Hot Dog

INGREDIENTS

1 (7-ounce) container plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon grated cucumber

2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

½ teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

4 all beef hot dogs

Hot dog buns

Shredded romaine lettuce

Thinly sliced red onion

Diced tomato and cucumber

Bottled Greek dressing

DIRECTIONS

Mix together yogurt, mayonnaise, grated cucumber, chives, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Preheat grill to medium high heat. Add hot dogs to the grill and cook until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. To assemble the hot dogs, place a hot dog in each bun. Top with shredded lettuce, yogurt mixture, red onion, diced tomato and cucumber and Greek dressing. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 hot dogs

Frank & Beans with Bacon

INGREDIENTS

16-ounce can of baked beans

4 slices of thick-cut apple wood bacon fully cooked and crumbled

4 all beef hot dogs

Hot dog buns

DIRECTIONS

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Heat beans in a cast iron pan on grill until hot. Set aside.

Add hot dogs to the grill and cook until golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. To assemble the hot dogs, place hot dogs in each bun, generously top with beans and bacon. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 hot dogs

Hula Dog

INGREDIENTS

8 all beef hot dogs or Polish sausage links

8 hot dog buns

2 ripe avocados, sliced

Mango Salsa

1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced

½ a small red onion, diced

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 serrano chili, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper

Pineapple Mustard

2/3 cup chopped fresh pineapple

½ cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of honey

1 small garlic clove

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the grill to high heat. While grill is heating, dice and combine all the ingredients for the mango salsa. Toss and set aside.

Process the pineapple, honey, garlic and Dijon mustard in a food processor or Vitamix until smooth. Set aside.

Open the buns and grill face down for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Grill the hot dogs for 5 to 6 minutes, rotating for even char marks.

To assemble the hot dogs, place a hot dog in each bun. Top with mango salsa, pineapple mustard and sliced avocado. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 hot dogs

Le Creuset stoneware platter and red and white check tablecloth by La Moda available at The Kitchen Chick.

Summer Smash

INGREDIENTS

1 nectarine, halved

1 lime, cut into 4 wheels

4 cherries

½ ounce simple syrup

2 cups crushed ice

3 ounces aged cachaça, such as Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged, or any well aged rum

Garnish: sliced nectarine

DIRECTIONS

Pre-soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. While skewers are soaking prepare your charcoal grill arranging coals on one side of grate. If using a gas grill, select the highest heat setting. Cover and preheat grill for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grate.

Arrange halved nectarines, lime wheels, and cherries on skewers (one fruit variety per skewer) and place over hot side of grill. Cook until fruit begins to bubble. Rotate as necessary so that char lines appear on all sides. Cherries will take about 4 minutes; nectarines and limes 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Quarter nectarines.

For each cocktail, muddle 2 cherries, 2 lime wheels, 2 nectarine quarters, and ¼ ounce simple syrup in the bottom of a glass until nectarine is broken up. Remove lime wheels.

Pack ½ cup crushed ice in glass, add 1½ ounces cachaça, and stir gently. Pack in another ½ cup crushed ice and garnish. Repeat for second drink. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 cocktails

Quick Pickled Red Onion

INGREDIENTS

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 red onion, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt and 1 cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over onions. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Onions keep, chilled, 2 weeks. Drain before serving. Yield: About 1½ cups, undrained

The 100 percent cotton twine by The Twinery; flour sack towel by Moda Home both are available at The Kitchen Chick. “Gone Fishing” stainless steel flatware by Yamazaki is available at Macy’s.

Homemade Pickle Relish

INGREDIENTS

2 cups finely chopped cucumber

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup distilled white vinegar

¼ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

Fresh dill

DIRECTIONS

Wrap cucumber and onion in several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

In a medium sized heavy saucepan bring vinegar, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Continue boiling until mixture reduces to about a ½ cup, for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add cucumber-onion mixture to saucepan and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer relish to a bowl or jar, add fresh dill to taste, and chill, uncovered, until cold, about 1½ hours. Relish keeps, chilled, 1 month. Yield: About 1½ cups

Bowtie Paper Napkins

Buy red, blue or patriotic patterned paper napkins and ribbon.

Step 1: Open your napkin and fold the two sides into the center.

Step 2: Fold the two halves on top of each other to make a thinner napkin.

Step 3: Fold the top and bottom halves into the middle, overlapping one side just a bit over the other.

Step 4: Use ribbon to tie the utensils to the bow tie. (Tips by asweetspothome.com)

Blue stripe herringbone runner available at

The Kitchen Chick.

Slider Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

1 dozen vanilla cupcakes

1 dozen chocolate cupcakes

White frosting

Food coloring

Sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS

Bake or buy a dozen vanilla cupcakes and a dozen chocolate cupcakes. If baking the cupcakes, cool them completely before assembling the “sliders.”

Slice the vanilla cupcakes in half horizontally to form each “bun.” Slice the chocolate cupcakes in thirds horizontally to create the “patty.” Set aside.

Using white, store-bought or homemade frosting, divide frosting into three small bowls and tint red, yellow and green. Place each color of frosting in a piping bag fitted with a round tip, or place frosting in a strong, plastic sandwich or freezer storage bag and carefully snip off one corner.  

Assemble each “slider” starting with the bottom half of a vanilla cupcake. Add the middle slice of a chocolate cupcake. Pipe a line of “mustard” and “ketchup” frostings around the edge. Pipe a few squiggles of “lettuce.” Top with a vanilla cupcake top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Yield: 12 cupcakes

Pedestal cake stand in cherry by Le Creuset and red and white check tablecloth by Moda Home, both available at The Kitchen Chick.

Watermelon Grill Centerpiece

INGREDIENTS

1 medium small round watermelon

2 pints blackberries

Red grapes

3 kiwi

1 pineapple

Fresh cherries

DIRECTIONS

Slice watermelon in half horizontally. Scoop out pink fruit, leaving a thin layer along the rind. Fill cavity with blackberry “coals.” Insert skewers horizontally about ½-inch below the cut, spacing them to resemble a grill grate. Score each skewer with a knife, bend and break off extra length. Push skewer end into melon so that it is flush with the outer rind.

Slice fruit and assemble individual skewers.

Arrange the melon so that the skewer grate runs horizontally. Poke a skewer vertically into the wall of the melon at the mid point. Poke another skewer vertically into the melon’s wall on the opposite side. Pick up the other half of the watermelon and place it at an angle over the grate, overlapping the far edge of the bottom melon to form a “lid” for the barbecue. Poke the vertical skewers into the “lid” adjusting as needed to balance the barbecue. Place fruit skewers on the “grill.” Place centerpiece on table.

Party Crashers Basket

Tell unwanted guests such as mosquitoes to buzz off in a festive way with a clever basket. Create your own sign, grab a basket, line it with a patriotic bandana and fill it with bug repellent and other items so you’re invited guests stay comfortable.

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