How To Make A Hot Dog Bar: NYC Style Smoked Paprika Hot Dog Onions

Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - How To Make A Hot Dog Bar: NYC Style Smoked Paprika Hot Dog Onions

We had some onions when I was a kid. Growing up in New York City, my idea of the perfect hot dog has mustard, sauerkraut, and hot dog onions… New York hot dog onions. They were probably my favorite part of a good old New York dirty “dawg”. Of the many, many issues I have with hot dogs from a New York cart, these days, one of the main ones is the onions have deteriorated from a thick sauce of brick-colored, sweated down, sweet and savory onions to a watery, vaguely rusty colored, flavorless, boiled up mess. They are pretty nasty. I used to be able to find good onions on a hot dog from Mendy’s in the food court at Grand Central station. It was my dirty little secret to sneak down and scarf down a dog when I was in the hood. The last time I went there, the onions were different and they too had gone to the blah side. I started to write Mendy’s a letter to let them know how disappointed I was.

I made a recipe for NYC Style Smoked Paprika Hot Dog Onions that not only brings back memories from my Big Apple childhood, but surpasses them with the addition of smoked paprika. We were lucky to have plain paprika on our spice rack when I was a kid. It had one purpose, sprinkling on deviled eggs to make them look fancy.

As much as I love to throw down in the kitchen and cook up a storm for my parties, I made a hot dog bar for my Oscar watching party last night themed Foods Served At The Movies. My guests were beyond thrilled.

There is something so cozy and comforting about a good dog.

I tried to come up with all the things you could serve on a hot dog. That is an impossible task. I did come up with a rather formidable selection. Please note: I did not serve chili or cheese sauce because I served nachos as well and thought THAT would be OVERKILL.


  • NYC Style Smoked Paprika Hot Dog Onions (recipe below)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Bacon bits
  • Sweet Pickled Jalapeños (recipe below)
  • Chopped red onions
  • Coleslaw
  • Pickled onions
  • Pickled shallots
  • Sweet pepper relish
  • Jackie’s Sassy BBQ Sauce
  • Divalicious Ruby Sun Splash Relish (recipe below)
  • Curried Roasted Carrot Habanero Hot Sauce (recipe below)
  • Homemade Sriracha
  • Pickle relish
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonaise
  • Assorted mustards
  • Assorted hot sauces
Share This:

NYC Style Smoked Paprika Hot Dog Onions

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
To this native New Yorker, it’s not a hot dog without onions, sauerkraut and mustard. These are better than the onions I grew up with.
NYC Style Smoked Paprika Hot Dog Onions


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds of yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of water


  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the oil and add the onions. Cook until the onions are golden, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Lower flame and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Adjust seasoning. Serve warm.
Total time:
Yield: 1 quart


These are not limited to being used on hot dogs. You could put on a burger or grilled cheese sandwich. They’d be great with sausages. The possibilities are kind of endless.

Jackie’s Sassy BBQ Sauce

Mains, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
Back in the Stone Age, I found the base recipe for Jackie’s Sassy BBQ Sauce in a compilation cookbook that was from a neighborhood association or the Rotary Club, which I’ve long since lost. I tweaked it and changed it and made it my own, so I renamed it. I’ve made it all over the world. In the 90’s, I had to bring my own Mexican chili powder to Australia to make it because they didn’t sell it there. In my family, it’s evolved to a comfort food and my little brother likes it every Christmas Eve as part of his birthday dinner along with my Confetti Potato Salad and Pot Licker Greens. No, we don’t live or celebrate his birthday in a warm climate. I oven-barbecue it every year.
Jackie’s Sassy BBQ Sauce


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican chili powder (mild)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large knob of sliced ginger
  • 6 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 4 slices of lemon


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stir till smooth.
  2. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for fifteen minutes.
  3. Remove lemon slices, squeeze them into the sauce and discard the skin.
  4. Pour in a sterilized pint jar. Keeps indefinitely refrigerated.
Total time:
Yield: 1 pint


You can make it spicy by adding some cayenne pepper, sliced fresh chilies or your favorite hot sauce to the sauce.

Sweet Pickled Jalapeños

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian & Vegan, Condiments & Canning
I love the contrast of sweet and spicy. Jalapeños are highly inconsistent chilies. Sometimes they are mild and other times they pack some heat. I made sticky rice stuffed jalapeños for a potluck that were delicious, but like a game of “mouth Russian roulette.” Some were quite hot and some were fine so I had to warn people before they ate them. I find that pickling them evens out the heat levels.
Sweet Pickled Jalapeños


  • 1 pound jalapeño peppers, stemmed and sliced into rounds about 1/8” thick
  • 4 ounces red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 ounces carrot, sliced into rounds
  • 2 ounces yellow or red pepper, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds


  1. In a medium-size bowl, mix together the jalapeño peppers, red onions, carrots, yellow peppers, and garlic.
  2. Make brine by combining the vinegar, sugar, salt and spices in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes.
  3. Drain and pack the jalapeño mixture into sterilized jars. Pour over hot brine through a strainer, then divide the loose spices evenly between the jars.
  4. Place flat lids on each jar. Screw on bands to seal, but don’t over tighten them.
  5. Arrange jars right side up in a canner and add water so it’s at least one inch above the jars. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for ten minutes.
  6. Cool jars on rack. Store in cool place for at least one week before eating.
Total time:
Yield: 3 pints


If you don’t have enough brine, top off the jars with a little more vinegar. If you have too much brine, save it for making salad dressing.

Divalicious Ruby Sunsplash Tomato Relish

Condiments & Canning
I created this recipe when I lived in Australia and introduced it to the audience during my first U.S. show “Say Cheese: a tongue-titillating tasting of artisan cheeses, wines and the songs they inspire” as a condiment to have with the cheese platter.
Divalicious Ruby Sunsplash Tomato Relish


  • 6 pounds whole tomatoes
  • 4 pounds onions, halved and sliced fine
  • 16 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 4 cups unsweetened orange juice
  • 32 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup black raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup currants
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded orange rind
  • 2 tablespoons medium Madras curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 habanero chili (8 thai chilis)
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons fresh black pepper


  1. Skin, seed and chop the tomatoes coarsely. Make sure the stem section is removed. Place tomatoes in a 5-quart saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a slow boil for 5 minutes. Simmer until reduced by 1/4 in volume, stirring regularly and bottle.
  2. To bottle: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Have a small pot of simmering water on the stove. Wash, rinse and drain canning jars and lids. Line a sheet pan with a layer of paper towel. Place jars on the paper towel so they are not touching. Heat jars in the oven for 10 minutes, cool slightly, then pour hot relish into the warm jars. Place flat lids on each jar. Screw on bands to seal, but don’t over tighten them. Arrange jars right side up in a canner and add water so it’s at least one inch above the jars. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for ten minutes.
  3. Cool jars on a rack. Store in cool place.
Total time:
Yield: Makes 11 pints.


You can use fresh or canned tomatoes.