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
    May 17, 2017 at 2:23 am

    Now, this is a way of enjoying a hot dog! So much better than the regular ones.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I’m an unabashed hotdog hound. I only draw the line at all beef. I know they’re the dregs of food hierarchy; but, they bring me back to childhood, summerdays and dinner in hand. I love them on potato rolls. If they’re not available I will stoop to plain old white hot dog buns. I could never bring myself to eating one on a whole-wheat bun. The texture and flavor would seem sacrilegious. After all, what would be the point of sticking in something wholesome? In my book it’s not just a hotdog… I’ve elevated them to”tube steak”. Your toppings lock beautiful and inviting. The only thing I detest on a hotdog is ketchup! MUSTARD is king. After all, a girl has to have SOME standards!?! 🙂

    • Reply
      May 16, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Thanks for the good laugh Kate! I love the term ‘hotdog hound’ ~ and mark my words, the humble hot dog is coming up in the foodie ranks, pretty soon we will see a steak-dog, and I’ll be first in line to try it!

  • Reply
    Diane (created by Diane)
    May 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    oh, I’m a total closet hot dog lover, well its’ pretty out in the open in my house. I love these tropical toppings and can’t wait to try them. I love a crispy hot dog… topped with yumminess and these look great!

    • Reply
      May 16, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Crispy hot dog….mmmmmmm!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    May 16, 2017 at 7:49 am

    What a wonderful, fun FEAST. I love all your inspiration. I don’t eat many hot dogs (can’t resist one every now and then at Costco) but that’s about to change with all these great ideas!

    • Reply
      May 16, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Yeah, Costco’s are pretty irresistible after a hard day of shopping 😉

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    May 15, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    I haven’t eaten beef or lamb for years. However the one thing I can not avoid is one Hebrew National per summer. Now you have me drooling!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      I’ve probably told this story before, but I was a vegetarian for many years, and the thing that finally slipped me up was…bacon. Same idea.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    May 15, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    A friend suggested we do a hot dog spread-not specifically tropical but I can see how tropical really works! 😀 What a great idea!

  • Reply
    Vicki Bensinger
    May 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    What a fun idea but I have to tell you all I see is indigestion! I use to be able to eat hot dog, after hot dog, but not anymore. I recently heard though that one of the major brands has eliminated the nitrates in the dogs so maybe I’d be able to eat one without having it live with me all day. Great idea!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      Yes, I think various brands are making all kinds of improvements…I avoid eating very many hot dogs specifically because of the nitrates. Lots of time I’ll substitute with chicken sausage.

  • Reply
    Milena | Craft Beering
    May 15, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Hot dogs and beer:) Yum. Not a single topping I would refuse! And – big AND – this bar opens the door to a variety of craft beer pairing possibilities! Love it!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Oh yes, what do you recommend Milena??

  • Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

    This is AWESOME! I’m totally inspired to do this next weekend .

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Let it know how it goes over with your friends, Barb!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2017 at 10:08 am

    What a feast for the eyes and stomach. Not only did you give great flavor options for hot dogs but they look like a work of art!

    • Reply
      May 15, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Hot dog art ~ it might be a new trend 😉

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