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'Haute' dogs: Fargo-Moorhead restaurants joining weiner-wagon with creative hot dogs

Pineapple sausage topped with mango salsa at Würst Bier Hall in downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum1 / 3
Sidestreet’s Fargo Dog features a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried, all-beef hot dog with pulled pork, swiss cheese and special horsey mayo sauce. Davis Samson / The Forum2 / 3
Drunk Dog features beer-battered, deep-fried, all-beef hotdog with beer cheese soup and bacon crumbles at Sidestreet Pub and Grille in downtown Fargo. David Samson / The Forum3 / 3

FARGO - As a Fourth of July tradition, eager competitors will stuff their faces with dozens of hot dogs in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on New York’s Coney Island today.

But here in the Upper Midwest, consumers of the tubular snack are taking a more relaxed approach, delightfully sampling funky new combinations of sausages, sauces and toppings.

Fargo-Moorhead restaurants like Würst Bier Hall, Sidestreet Grille & Pub and others have jumped onto the weiner-wagon with creative takes on the basic meat-in-bun.

At Würst, you can get a pineapple pork sausage topped with mango salsa off the eatery’s special summer menu. Sidestreet has long offered the Fargo Dog, a hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep fried and topped with pulled pork, Swiss cheese and horseradish sauce, and the Drunk Dog, a beer-battered, deep-fried hot dog topped with beer cheese soup and bacon crumbles.

Just try finishing one in a sitting.

“I’ve noticed around town that hot dogs are kind of becoming the new burger,” says Frank Thomas, Sidestreet’s kitchen manager. “Everybody’s got a hot dog now, and they’re doing all kinds of crazy stuff to them.”

In his new book, “Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns, and Condiments,” (pictured at right) food blogger and hot dog lover Russell Van Kraayenburg offers hundreds of twists on the classic cookout staple, divided by category.

He defines “haute dogs,” which have been popping up all over the world, including right here in Fargo, as “the edible manifestation of the world’s love for this time-tested meal in a bun and the culmination of over a century of culinary creativity.”

Wayne Rheault, owner of Meats by John & Wayne in south Fargo, says brats are better suited for culinary experimentation than traditional hot dogs. He sells 15 different flavored brats, including a peanut butter and jelly variety.

“You can do more with brats. They’re not smoked; it’s a fresh product. Typically, if you like what is put into them, you’re going to like the brat,” he says.

The wild rice-Cheddar, strawberry-jalapeno and blueberry are among John & Wayne’s biggest sellers, but the shop also offers Andouille sausage, country sausage, Cajun sausage and more.

“We give you the product, and you come up with the concoctions,” he says.

Here are a few to try for yourself from the “Modern American Dogs” chapter of Van Kraayenburg’s “Haute Dogs”:

Scrambled Dog


Spicy Bean Chili (recipe below)

classic bun

beef and pork hot dog

yellow mustard


finely chopped white onions

pickle slices

oyster crackers


Prepare Spicy Bean Chili according to the recipe, or warm store-bought chili until hot. Get out a classic bun. Panfry a beef and pork hot dog on a flattop. Place the dog in the bun. Add a line each of yellow mustard and ketchup. Top with a heaping pile of chili, a handful of chopped onions, and a scattering of pickle slices and oyster crackers.

Spicy Bean Chili

Follow the recipe below, but double the chili powder and cayenne. Add 1 cup cooked beans and a few drops of your favorite hot sauce with the beef stock.

Classic Hot Dog Chili

Makes about 1 quart, enough for 4 hot dogs.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large white onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 pound ground beef

1 cup beef stock

8 ounces tomato paste


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and beef. Cook until beef is browned and no trace of pink reminds. Reduce heat to medium-low and add beef stock and tomato paste. Stir until evenly combined. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Kansas City Dog


sesame seed bun

all-beef hot dog

brown mustard

Swiss cheese


caraway seeds


Preheat a boiler. Get out a sesame seed bun. Pan-fry an all-beef hot dog on a flattop grill. Place the hot dog in the bun and smear with brown mustard. Place a couple slices of Swiss cheese on top and put the dog on a baking sheet. Broil the dog until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Top with a pile of sauerkraut and a sprinkling of caraway seeds.

Seattle-Style Hot Dog


oil, for sautéeing

finely chopped white onions

sliced jalapenos

chopped cabbage

classic bun

Polish sausage or hot dog

cream cheese, room temperature



Warm a splash of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, jalapenos and cabbage and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften and brown, about 10 minutes. Get out a classic bun. Slice a Polish sausage or hot dog in half and grill it. Spread enough cream cheese on the inside of the bun to coat and place the sausage on top. Top with a handful of onions, jalapenos and cabbage. Add a few drops of sriracha on top.

Recipes from “Haute Dogs”

Meredith Holt

Meredith Holt is a features/business reporter for The Forum who covers topics in health, mental health, social issues, women's issues, arts and entertainment, food and more. She also writes a column on health and wellness, body image and media representationShe was a copy editor/page designer for six years prior to joining the features team in March 2012.

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