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

4.96 from 23 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
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! 


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 & 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


  • 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.
  • Let cool completely. I like it to be room temperature, but you can chill it if you want.
  • When you are ready to cook the hot dogs, set your grill to medium heat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 325mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 188
Keyword: Copycat, hot dogs, JDawgs, Special Sauce
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!


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

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  1. My Mom got me a bottle of that Mike’s Hot honey. I liked the idea but wasn’t sure what to make with it. I used it in place of the regular honey in this recipe and it was really good. This is the first time I’ve made this and haven’t tried the recipe with regular honey but we liked the extra spice in this.

    I served the sauce on hot dogs like the recipe and now have sauce left over. I’m thinking of trying it on chicken, but like the idea of putting it on meatloaf.

  2. I’m sure it taste good, but if you’re wondering why the world has health issues, that is a recipe that holds the answer…. Simple Carbs… Minimum 4 different types of Sugars, that is just bound to get everyones health out of control :(

    Also, it’s always easy to spot American recipes VS the rest of the world, because America is manipulated from childbirth to need things to be overly sweet, which is why you think good things doesn’t taste of much, because your tastebuds are so destroyed by sugars sweetness, that recipes are in need of 4 times more sugar than what everyone else would use :*(

    Please be careful for your own good, and society!

  3. I use Pinterest all the time and have tried many recipes that have turned out fabulous. But I am a busy busy mom and never leave a comment. So this is a 1st for me! 
    Wow!!!! This the best sauce and on a hotdog made it the best hotdog I have ever eaten! I seasoned my hotdogs with mustard and our favorite seasoning before grilling. But everything else was the same. And it was so so good!! 

    1. Ooh I’ve never tried seasoning my hot dogs before grilling Jennie! So going to try this! Happy to hear you loved it, thanks for reviewing!

  4. 5 stars
    I made it yesterday, 4th of July! Was a hit. (And I normally only have mustard on my hot dogs!😄) I cut portions in half because we didn’t have a crowd. I actually cooked the sauce in my mini crock on low for about 45 minutes, then kept on warm until we brought out hot dogs and polish dogs in from the grill. It’s nice to try a new recipe when you already have all the ingredients in the house! P.S. I tried both with and without toasting the buns…. even more tasty with that warm, toasted bun! Thanks!

    1. mini crock pot!! This is genius Cindy!! Thanks so much for your sharing your tips! Who doesn’t love warm sauce? Thanks for commenting 🖤

  5. 5 stars
    I’m really amazed that there are a couple of people who didn’t think this sauce was good. I made this tonight and it was amazing! I have regular squeeze bottles available to use in my kitchen and I made the equivalent to make sure that squeeze bottle was full! I knew I was going to like it. Well I did and this will be a regular in my kitchen. Burgers, brawts, MEATLOAF, hash browns, hotdogs (of course), anything you would eat ketchup on will get this. It’s wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! And the hotdogs! I loved the cut marks. It just added to the chard flavor. 

  6. 5 stars
    I made these for our Father’s Day bbq tonight! And they were fabulous! Everyone LOVED the sauce! We all ended up putting it on our hamburgers and loved that also! Uncle Hubert said it was the best hot dog he had ever had in his life! Part of it was the fabulous sauce and part was the dogs. You can only get them around Montana or North Dakota I think. They are “Cloverdale Old Fashioned Franks” and the company is located in Mandan ND. They are great big fat red frankfurters and are by far, the best hotdogs ever. With the sauce and all the fixings everyone was just stuffing their faces. I wish I wouldn’t have even bothered with the burgers. Thanks for this recipe, Karen!! It’s a keeper! Next time you guys are in Sidney we will bbq these “dawgs”!

  7. 5 stars
    Omg we had fried bologna with onions for supper . So I had to try your sauce with it , it went perfectly with it and the mashed potatoes . We are both diabetics so instead of brown sugar I add more honey and a small amount of maple syrup , it’s great .

    1. Love the sound of this sauce with fried bologna and onions!! That sounds so good. Glad it worked out, thank you so much for taking the time to review!

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