Hot dogs really are the ultimate crowd-pleasing food. We're happy to line up at our favourite hot dog stand, we can't wait to eat them at festivals, and backyard parties just wouldn't be the same without them.

There are a lot of ways to prepare a hot dog, but it pays to know about some of the essential ingredients, so you can create a mouth-watering masterpiece that zings from the ‘woof tops’. As professional hot dog creators with many years of experience, we’ve put together a list of our top ingredients and tips for the perfect hot dog.

1. Use good quality sausage

Shopping around to find quality sausage is the key to a sensational hot dog. Whether you choose beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken or something more exotic, you want it to be free from artificial colours and flavours. If you're not sure which to choose, check with your local butcher for the best buys.

2. Learn how to prepare your buns

The buns you use can make all the difference between ending up with just a piece of bread with a sausage in it, and a delicious hot dog. Obviously, it's best to use fresh buns from the bakery, so you can choose to serve them plain or grill them first for a crunchy texture.

For toasting, simply open up the buns and place them on the grill, making sure to watch them the whole time, as they'll burn quickly. You can also use a small amount of butter first, for extra taste.

3. Perfect your cooking technique

You can cook your meat in a variety of ways for best results, depending on the equipment you have. Best practices include steaming, then grilling the dog for the perfect, juicy bite. One of the easiest ways is to boil them, which is a great way to keep your sausages moist.

Frying, while not the healthiest option, ensures that the sausage skin is crispy, but grilling is generally the way to go. With the added bonus of a smoky flavour, your sausages will be 'snappy' to bite and juicy on the inside.

4. Mix and match your flavours

Though it's a popular choice, tomato sauce doesn't necessarily bring out the delicious flavour of your hot dog. Mixing and matching the saltiness of the meat with the sweet taste of relishes is what really makes the taste pop.

Look out for mustard pickles, corn relish, jalapeno peppers and sweet green relish for the perfect blend of complementary flavours.

5.  Keep it simple

If you really love to top your hot dog with a pile of added extras, there's really no right or wrong…so go for it!  But, often the simplest creations pack the biggest punch in the flavour stakes. To make sure you've got your bases covered, you need shredded cheese and diced raw or cooked onions. Optional extras include sauerkraut, tomato, cucumber and shredded lettuce.

 When you're putting it all together, take some time to layer it correctly. Anything that might fall off should be placed at the bottom and crispy extras, like onion or bacon bits, need to go on top.

So there you have it – techniques and ingredients to make the most delicious hot dogs. And if you’re having a party, why not talk to us? Our hot dog stand and relishes are perfect crowd pleasers for big events.