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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  • Reply
    Andrea @ Cooking with Mamma C
    May 15, 2017 at 8:14 am

    My guys would go nuts for a tropical hot dog bar! I haven’t had a hot dog in three years, but I could definitely do bratwurst or even Italian sausage with this. I’m so intrigued by the coconut relish!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 8:26 am

      Yes, a brat bar would work! And the coconut relish is a big surprise!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 15, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I have always been a sucker for a great hotdog, so I’m loving these. Love the creative twist with the tropical fruits 🙂

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 8:02 am

      Thanks Jennifer ~ I’m a sucker too 😉

  • Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 7:49 am

    These toppings sound amazing, the passion fruit mustard and papaya lime relish are the first that I would have to try.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 8:00 am

      I was just saying that the papaya relish might be the most unusual, after the coconut. Papaya has such a distinctive flavor and texture, I’m guessing people either love it or hate it!

  • Reply
    Tina Dawson | Love is in my Tummy
    May 15, 2017 at 7:34 am

    OMG I cannot tell you how excited I am for these toppings!!! I was going to make hot dogs this week, and now I know, that it’s going to be so much more fun than I initially thought it would be!!!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Have fun Tina!!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

    This is literally a feast for the eyes. I have to admit, I eat more than a handful of hotdogs a year!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 7:38 am

      Thanks JWT ~ I love tropical fruit, it’s not only beautiful but has such unique flavor profiles and interesting textures, like the papaya salsa, it has this incredible silky texture, and exotic flavor…this was a fun post for me. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Reply
    Suzy | The Mediterranean Dish
    May 15, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Yum! My hubby would love these!

  • Reply
    Platter Talk
    May 15, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Wow does this look good. Perfect plan for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I’m not ashamed to say that I love a good hot dog. But I’ve never considered pairing them with these exotic flavors. Interesting!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 6:40 am

      I’m glad I piqued your interest Jeff, I ate more hot dogs during the making of this post than I usually consume in a year, but it was worth it 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    May 15, 2017 at 4:44 am

    To be honest, I am not a fan of hot dog at all, but I definitely would love to try these simply because of those fruit toppings…a very cool idea, Sue.

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 6:44 am

      I knew this might be a little controversial, hot dogs don’t have a great reputation among foodies, but I do think they’re making a comeback, and that companies are creating better products lately ~ who knows, maybe the hot dog will be the new ‘it’ food. Anyway Angie, I’d these toppings on a veggie burger too 🙂

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    May 15, 2017 at 4:08 am

    What a terrific idea! I bet the natural sweetness from the fruit is a great compliment to the savory dogs 🙂 We love a good hot dog too – but especially at a baseball game! With a beer of course. I bet they don’t have these toppings at the game. LOVE!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 6:48 am

      YES Tricia! The sweetness of the fruit, along with the tang of the other ingredients really goes well with the meat. I think these would be great with all kinds of grilled meats and fish.

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