Tropical Hot Dog Bar

Tropical Hot Dog Bar ~ seven exotic condiments to take your next barbecue to the tropics!

I admit it, I’m a closet hot dog lover, maybe you are too? Today I’m sharing a slew of exotic toppings for a fun summer hot dog bar, including homemade spicy kiwi relish and Maui onion slaw, that will turn your next barbecue into an island paradise!

Line of hot dogs topped with homemade relishes and salsas for a tropical hot dog bar

when it comes to hot dogs, it’s all about the toppings

I like to lay them on heavy, and the more creative the better. Colorful, juicy, tangy, crunchy, you name it, I want it, and I’ve got it here today. I could have gone on forever coming up with these vibrant relishes and salsas ~ I had to stop myself eventually, and in fact there were a few more than didn’t make it into the photos. Go ahead and improvise on what I’ve started, the possibilities are endless, and you can’t go wrong with this cast of characters.

avocado hot dog relish

tropical hot dog toppings ~

My collection of unique condiments is inspired by the kind you find in Hawaii, where they use all sorts of local tropical fruits to make exotic mustards, relishes, and salsas for the humble hot dog. With these recipes you can create that tropical getaway in your own backyard.

  • Spicy kiwi relish ~ a juicy riff on classic relish.
  • Mango salsa ~ I don’t like to pick favorites when it comes to salsa, but this one is amazing!
  • Maui onion slaw ~ a version of my popular Vidalia onion slaw, it’s always a runaway hit at barbecues.
  • Coconut relish ~ unexpectedly delicious!
  • Passion fruit mustard ~ an exotically sweet & spicy mustard.
  • Papaya lime relish ~ if you’ve never tried papaya, this is a great place to start.
  • Pineapple jalapeño salsa ~ mix jalapeño with strawberries or peach, too!
  • Avocado salsa ~ better make extra 🙂

skip the condiment aisle and head straight for the produce!

These toppings start with fresh ingredients. Pay a visit to the fruit section of your supermarket and load up your cart. If you can’t find Maui onions, any sweet variety will do, they’re right there next to the yellow and white onions. Don’t be afraid of these unusual combinations ~ they complement grilled meats beautifully and I guarantee you’ll be going back for seconds and thirds. For me, the biggest surprise was the coconut relish, I wasn’t sure about it, but boy is it fantabulous. The sweetness of the coconut is balanced by the tangy mayo dressing and the spicy crunch of the mustard seeds ~ an unexpected YUM.

TIP: For these tropical salsas and relishes you’ll want to buy ripe but still firm fruit so that it can be cut into a small dice without turning to mush. Better too firm than too ripe.

Hot dogs topped with homemade salsas and relishes for a tropical hot dog bar party

Creative toppings elevate hot dogs to an art form

If you lay everything out on a table while the hot dogs are grilling, then everybody can create their own custom masterpiece ~ how about some passion fruit mustard with a scoop of coconut relish? I’m partial to the mango salsa myself, I heap on as much as my dog can handle, and then some!

hot dogs topped with homemade salsas and relishes for a tropical hot dog bar

prep your hot dog toppings ahead

All of these toppings (with the exception of the avocado salsa) can be made a day ahead of time, they’ll keep fine in the refrigerator.

Salsas and relishes for a Tropical Hot Dog Bar ~ island style toppings made with tropical fruits!

Homemade condiments make the best gifts!

If friends ask you to bring something to a barbecue these would be perfect, just package them up in mason jars with some of the really cute replacement lids you can get now, like these speckled canister style lids, or these Bamboo wooden ones. You can even get clip on spoons for mason jars ~ I love them!

Hot dog topped with pineapple salsa

The million dollar question ~ who makes the best hot dog?

I don’t eat many hot dogs, only a handful every year, so I want them to be GOOD. For me I love Boar’s Head, and Hebrew National, with Boar’s Head being my current fave for flavor and texture. How about you?

Hot dogs topped with tropical relishes and salsa

TIP: hands down the best way to grill hot dogs is to slash them on the diagonal several times along their length. They’ll cook up perfectly and those slashes will open up and hold even more of your favorite condiments. In fact, if you want to go a step further you can spiral cut your hot dogs and sausages.

Hot dogs topped with salsa on a baking sheet.
5 from 5 votes

Tropical Hot Dog Bar

My tropical hot dog bar includes a slew of exotic toppings, like spicy kiwi relish and Maui onion slaw, that will turn your next barbecue into an island paradise! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 8 hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns

passion fruit mustard

  • 4 passion fruit halved, with flesh scooped out (either with seeds or strain them)
  • 1/2 cup mustard of your choice

spicy kiwi relish

  • 4 ripe but still firm kiwi peeled and cut in small dice
  • 1 red jalapeno pepper minced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • juice of 1 lime 2 if they are small or dry

mango salsa

  • 1 ripe but still firm mango peeled and cut in small dice
  • 3 Tbsp minced red onion
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime 2 if they are small or dry

Maui onion slaw

  • 1/2 Maui onion or other sweet variety
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp mild vinegar such as champagne or apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

coconut relish

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp mild vinegar such as champagne or apple cider
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seed

papaya lime relish

  • 1/2 papaya cut in small dice
  • juice of 1 lime or 2 if they are small or dry
  • handful of chopped fresh cilantro

pineapple jalapeno salsa

  • 1/2 small pineapple cut in small dice
  • juice of 1 lime or 2 if they are small or dry
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • handful of chopped fresh cilantro

avocado salsa

  • 1 large or 2 small ripe but firm avocados cut in small dice
  • juice of 1 or 2 limes depending on size
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion or thinly sliced green onions
  • salt to taste


  • Make each of the condiments by mixing the ingredients together. Taste test each one and adjust to suit your preference. For the onion slaw and the coconut relish, blend the mayonnaise together with the vinegar first before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan on medium high heat until quite hot.
  • Use a small sharp knife to make several diagonal slashes along the length of each hot dog. Grill them, place in buns, and pass the toppings!

Cook’s notes

  • Did you know you can make your own mustard from scratch?  See my How to Make Homemade Mustard, my version is hot, sweet, and smokey.
  • Ketchup lovers, don’t worry, I also have an incredible Homemade Ketchup recipe.  Like all great ketchups, it has a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have them in your kitchen, and you can customize it just the way you like it.  You’ll never go back to the store bought stuff again!
  • Are you craving some good old fashioned pickle relish?  I’ve got a recipe for that too!  How to Make Old Fashioned Relish ~ this homemade pickle relish has been Great Island-ized with some hot peppers, and a little bit of extra spice.  You’re going to love it, and it’s so easy!
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    The only hot dog I will eat is Hebrew National!! These toppings look wonderful and will make a few of them for our next bbq. Thanks.

  • Reply
    yolanda terry parks
    September 14, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Back in the 70’s I coached girls softball and our sponsor “The Hot Dog Junction” had a similiar condiment bar. Condiments with a Coney Island, Midwest, Southern and Western flair. There is no end to the variety of condiments and for me the very best hot dogs – Hebrew Nationals.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2020 at 7:39 pm

    5 stars
    I love your flair -this article is so original and creative. Thank you for this series of unique recipes. You’re the very best.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    I must admit I have never really been a hot dog fan. If I have one which I make for the people in my family I grill onions, peppers and mushrooms and smother the hot dog. That way I can put up with hot dogs a couple of times during the summer. Shall try your additions which sound great.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    A natural casing hot dog for me is a real find, but otherwise I’ve come to really like Nathans. Haven’t seen or tried Boar’s Head. I like good ole yellow mustard and a slather of butter and I’m a happy old lady.

  • Reply
    August 9, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Nothing like a good old “dog”. I take mine with Hebrew National mustard & sauerkraut!

  • Reply
    August 9, 2020 at 7:38 am

    I love a good hotdog. We tend to get Nathan’s or Hebrew National. While on a cruise in Europe last year, I saw that the tables had “Curry Wurst” on all the tables. This curried ketchup is popular in Germany and adds another layer of flavor to hot dogs (and anything else) I am picturing it going really well with your Papaya Relish for even more exotic flavor. I got my “Curry Wurst” from Amazon.

    • Reply
      August 9, 2020 at 7:48 am

      I’ve heard of that but never tried it, now I will!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Sue, my saliva juices are flowing!! These look wonderful.
    I live in much colder climes with plenty of wind and rain. I was wondering if you would have recipes for similar, but with a longer shelf life, or any non-tradional spiced chutneys made with coconut.
    I love the idea of banana & coconut together. Will try that.
    Thank you

    • Reply
      November 8, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      I’ll keep that in mind, Donna, I love chutneys and they would be so exotic on a hot dog bar!

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    May 17, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I love hot dogs! Don’t eat that many, but do like them. I go back and forth between Hebrew National and Nathan’s. Don’t think I’ve tried Boar’s Head — have to give them a whirl. Anyway, fun post — thanks.

    • Reply
      May 17, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      I like Nathan’s, too!

  • Reply
    May 17, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Not to ruin the hot dog moment…I certainly splurge too….but any of those toppings would be delish on grilled chicken or fish. Easy for quick summer meals! Thanks for the ideas!

    • Reply
      May 17, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      You’re so right, and the Hawaiian flavors would go especially well with pork or fish, I think.

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