DIY & Done: Gourmet Hot Dog Bar for a Fun Family Dinner

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Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

As the temperatures swell and daylight hours expand, so do the opportunities to escape from the indoors and head to your backyard or patio to fire up the grill. What better way to welcome the warmer days than with an all-American hot dog bar? We've elevated a simple family dinner into a choose-your-own adventure meal with an epicurean twist. A variety of classic and gourmet toppings arranged in a self-serve style buffet is sure to satisfy everyone's tastes, while a DIY condiment caddy pulls double-duty as a festive centerpiece and convenient sauce organizer. Easy, breezy, and oh-so-memorable for kids and adults alike!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Set the Scene

A beautiful buffet starts with a pretty table linen as the base with simple white platters and bowls to serve the various elements of the meal. Elevate your centerpiece on a cake stand for a visually pleasing arrangement with varied heights. Keep your drinks ice cold with a beverage cooler that also doubles as a table for displaying a free printable menu. Disposable wooden plates and utensils make cleanup easy on you — and also the environment.

For that extra festive touch, we strung patio lights above the table as well as a star garland, which we made by simply clipping free printable stars to a piece of twine with mini clothespins. Of course, no barbecue is complete without some pre-meal lounging — a pair of Adirondack chairs is easy to move around your patio or yard, and a stylish fringe umbrella provides shade to make the lounging all the more comfortable.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Build-Your-Own Bar

Set up the meal in a self-serve style arrangement with a variety of toppings in small bowls, and make transport easy by placing them on a wooden tray. Print our free menu and display it to encourage diners to build their own hot dogs with both classic and gourmet flavor combos. Mustard and relish are well-loved staples, but offer some adventurous fixings, too, like grilled corn and Cotija cheese or sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. Be sure to provide some kid-friendly options, like shredded cheese or pizza toppings, to please the younger bon vivants among you. And could there be any other side dish that's a more perfect match to a hot dog than potato chips?

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Make a Condiment Caddy

Get saucy with condiment classics like ketchup and mustard but mix things up with unexpected dressings like salsa ranch and barbecue sauce. Make them the centerpiece of the table with this DIY caddy that is both portable and stylish.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 1

Mark the height and width of two (or three) empty tin cans on a wood board, and then use a circular saw to cut the board to size.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 2

Cut pieces of cane webbing to size and glue them around the empty tin cans (be sure to remove the labels from the cans first). Wrap rubber bands around the cans to keep the cane webbing in place until the glue dries.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 3

Place two (or three) cans on each side of the board, and use a power drill to attach the cans to the board with wood screws.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 4

To create a handle, attach a leather strap to the top of the wood by hammering two brass upholstery tacks into the wood. Alternatively, you could drill two wood screws to attach it.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Step 5

Download and print our free condiment labels, tape or glue them in place around condiment bottles, and done!

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Fire Up the Grill

Ah, grill season. At the heart of this meal is the grill, and nothing tastes better than a slightly charred hot dog fresh off the fire. Of course, no grill master should be without an apron and their barbecue tools. These magnetic wooden hooks stick right to your grill and are super convenient for keeping your grilling tools handy.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Plate and Picnic!

Once everyone has assembled their own unique hot dog creations, make the meal merrier by spreading out a camp blanket and enjoying it picnic style. There's just something about sitting in the grass that makes you feel like a kid again. It's sure to be a fun family memory you'll all look back on in the years to come.

Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse
Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse

Get the Look

Cuisinart 3-In-1 Stainless Five-Burner Gas Grill, $347

Design Imports Patriotic Stripe Tablecloth, starting at $24.72

Belham Living Fringe 9 ft. Market Umbrella, $119.99

Better Homes & Gardens 22ft Outdoor LED Cafe String Lights, $42.96

Simple Acacia Adirondack Chair, $84.99

Disposable Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Wooden Cutlery, 250 Set, $17.95

Palm Leaf Plates, 22 Count, $35.88

Now Designs Dip Terracotta Pinch Bowls, Set of 6, $25.95

Kate and Laurel Lipton Decorative Wooden Tray with Metal Black Handles, $44.99

Pit Boss 3 Piece Barbecue Tool Set with Spatula, Tongs, and Fork, $29.97

Pit Boss Three Magnetic Tool Hooks, $14.97

Waterproof Picnic Blanket, $24.95

Picnic Basket Set, Four Person, $64.97


Trisha is a writer, video producer + maker with a knack for creating modern DIY content. When her hands aren't covered in paint, she's most likely holding a camera or power drill or both.

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