The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat)

Three things make this The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat: A quality bun, diagonal cuts before grilling, and the Special Sauce. It’s so easy, you will be making this all summer! Invite me to your barbecue please! 

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat) from The Food Charlatan

My friend Kate is a fabulous concert level violinist. This weekend she was playing with the Sacramento Orchestra and scored tickets for Sandi (my sis-in-law) and I.

The first piece was amazing. A full choir sang with the orchestra, as well as a boy soprano. Both of us got chills, almost cried, the whole bit. The second piece…not so much.

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat) from The Food Charlatan

The moment the not-cool piece ended, Sandi turns to me during the applause and says, “I did NOT like that.” “Me neither!!” and then we start going on about how it paled in comparison to the first one.

THEN. Just wait you guys. Everyone is still applauding when the conductor turns to the audience and moves his hands in the universal “stand-up-now” motion. I’m halfway out of my chair when I look behind me and realize the conductor was not asking the audience to stand up. He was asking the man sitting directly behind us to stand up. And at least a half-dozen people sitting next to him. Our eyes widen in fear as we stare up at the man standing not 2 feet away from us, waving his hand to accept the applause.

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat) from The Food Charlatan

We fumble for our programs. Who is he???

THE COMPOSER. Who were the people standing next to him? The family of the dead guy that the piece was written about.

Someday when I die and I get to find out All The Stuff (you know, you find out Stuff when you die, right? Please say yes?) my first question will be, HE DIDN’T HEAR US DID HE??

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat) from The Food Charlatan

I wasn’t made out for the orchestra anyway, let’s be real. I’m more of a hot dog kind of girl. JDAWGS HOT DOGS to be specific. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you are not from Utah, but if you are ever passing through, you HAVE to try JDawgs. It started out as a tiny shack just off BYU campus (my alma mater). Like literally, a shack. Students would pick up a hot dog on their way home or in between classes. Now I hear they are opening their 5th location, this one in SLC. They haven’t made it out to Sacramento yet, so I make them at home.

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat) from The Food Charlatan

What sets these dogs apart from a regular ol’ hot dog is the fresh bun, the diagonal cuts, and the Special Sauce. A good quality hot dog goes without saying. It doesn’t seem that far off from a regular hot dog, but I’m telling you, it’s life changing. The cuts make it easier to eat, and then you get a higher ratio of sauce-to-dog.

The owner’s grandmother clipped the sauce recipe from a newspaper back in the 50s. This isn’t her recipe, but I think it tastes just like it. I don’t add any other toppings, (the sauce speaks for itself) but you could add onions, pickles, sauerkraut, whatever. Make this for your summer barbecues! You will never go back to ketchup!

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat) from The Food Charlatan

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Twitter

The Best Hot Dog You Will Ever Eat (JDawgs Special Sauce Copycat)

Yield: Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups sauce


    For the sauce:
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • dash black pepper
  • To assemble:
  • large all-beef or Polish hot dogs (Costco has the best!)
  • large buns (The ones at Costco fit perfectly)
  • butter
  • white onions
  • sauerkraut
  • pickles
  • banana peppers


  1. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and set over high heat. Stir occasionally until the mixture barely starts to bubble, then remove from heat.
  2. Let cool completely. I like it to be room temperature, but you can chill it if you want.
  3. When you are ready to cook the hot dogs, set your grill to medium heat.
  4. Use a sharp serrated knife to make diagonal cuts in the hot dog a little more than halfway through. You want the cuts to make large W's all the way down the dog. See photos.
  5. Grill the dogs until they are as black as you want them. Should take about 3-5 minutes per side. Don't forget to flip them halfway. The dogs will curl into a smiley face because of the cuts. It's because they're so happy that you get to eat them.
  6. Butter the inside of the buns and place on the grill. Leave them for just a minute or so, until they get slightly crispy on the edges. Don't overdo it or the bun will turn stale.
  7. Place the hot dog in the bun and top with tons of special sauce and any other desired toppings. If you are not eating right away, you can wrap the dog and the bun in foil to keep warm, like they do at JDawgs.

Source: Several sources influenced my version of this recipe: Clark’s CondensedThe Sister’s Cafe, My Recipe Confessions, and Oh Sweet Basil.

More good stuff:

Homemade Pretzel Dogs. These are a classic around here! I made them recently with mozzarella cheese instead of a hot dog, do try it.

Homemade Pretzel Dogs


Cuban Sandwiches << these are great for summer!

Cuban Sandwiches from The Food Charlatan


Caprese Burger with Artichoke Pesto Sauce:

Caprese Burger with Artichoke Pesto Sauce from


Easy Sausage and Broccoli Kebabs with White Bean Salad:

Easy Sausage and Broccoli Kebabs with White Bean Salad from


Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze:

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Hot Dogs forever!

Marinated Hot Dogs from Plain Chicken
Colombian Hot Dogs from My Colombian Recipes
Carolina Style Hot Dogs from Sugar Dish Me





  1. says

    Girl. Okay so your story? You had me cracking up. I have probably done something like that 10000 times. I am terrified to find out all the STUFF. But happy to eat all the hot dogs. The slashes + sauce are pretty genius!
    Heather @ Sugar Dish Me recently posted…In My New KitchenMy Profile

    • says

      That’s what we should have done! After the last performance (there was a 3rd piece played) the people right next to us turned around and congratulated the composer on his work, and we just stood there, looking forward, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. So bad!! haha.

  2. Tara says

    Oh my gosh, that orchestra story had me laughing! Here’s hoping they didn’t hear you!! I have been craving J Dawgs hot dogs forever! I lived right across the street from their first stand when I was at BYU and frequently ate one for lunch. Sadly, I haven’t made it back to Utah since graduating. That is awesome that they are expanding so much. I can’t wait to make this sauce this week, thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    Oh my gosh, that is awful! I hate when things like that happen! I’m SURE he didn’t hear you. :) Summer makes me crave hot dogs like every day, although I don’t ever get all fancy with mine like you do. Need to get on this!

  4. Brad says

    We can all identify with the story in one way or another. I finally just stopped laughing. You have inspired me to go to JDawgs for lunch. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll file that away but its easier to go to the store and buy a huge $10 bottle – sorry, I couldn’t resist. Greetings from Provo…

    • says

      Dude Brad if I lived in Utah I would be at JDawgs like every day. It’s an addiction. Even when I can make it taste the same at home, I swear, there’s just something about that place! Thanks for stopping by! Viva la BYU!

  5. says

    I usually am not tempted by hot dogs…like the only time I eat them is at carnivals or concerts, but THIS made me want a hot dog like right now. Actually, no, like yesterday. Like it should already be sittin’ in my belly by now. YUM!!! And the story about the orchestra – hilarious! But you know, whether he heard or you not, any artist (musician, painter, or even food blogger as we all know) has to be ready for people to not like their work so I’m sure he’ll be okay! :D
    Beeta @ Mon Petit Four recently posted…Charlotte FramboiseMy Profile

  6. says

    Honestly, I rarely eat hot dogs, but this one looks absolutely delicious that I’m craving it now, which is extremely weird. And that pretty cut is so easy to make. I actually came to check out how you do that. Haha
    Shinee recently posted…Sweet & Spicy Chicken SkewersMy Profile

  7. says

    Ohhhhhhhh my gosh Karen, I would’ve DIED. Like, literally died. Curled up in the plush symphony chair and cried and died. Maybe the conductor should’ve arranged to play that piece first, instead of the other one… So you wouldn’t have had that little moment. ;) But with a juicy hot dog like this to come home to? That would’ve made everything better!
    Amy @ Amy’s Healthy Baking recently posted…Clean Raspberry Mocha BrowniesMy Profile

    • says

      Amy, I actually think you WOULD have died. I can just see your adorable face turning purple with embarrassment. hehe!! Lucky for me I’m much more callous than you so I think I’m gonna make it :) :)

  8. says

    Omg I am cringing so hard for you and that orchestra story!! Also you just made my life complete. I adore JDawgs and remember the shack days with fondness :) so glad I can make them at home–now I’m even more pumped that I finally caved and got a Costco card :)
    Amy | Club Narwhal recently posted…SHRIMP SLIDERSMy Profile

  9. Janell says

    Made these last night and it was a hit!! The sauce especially. We actually grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, and everyone loved the sauce on the burgers as well. Yummmmm!

  10. says

    I’m more of a classic hot dog kind of girl. I’ve had the J Dawgs sauce before but I prefer the classic ketchup and mustard! That sounds really yummy tonight. Have you ever tried a Nathan’s brand hot dog? I love those!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge