The picture caught my eye — and my taste buds. One look at the photograph of the Patagonia Hot Dog and I knew I wanted that to land on my plate.

That's the power of visuals. The photo was in a cookbook, but had that hot dog been displayed on a picnic table, I would have been as hungry and ready to indulge.

It's a reminder that small additions have a big impact.

In this case it wasn't simply the hot dog (always a favorite, early on in the grilling season), though even high-quality meat makes a difference. Toss that on a grill and, short of burning it, you have a winner.

The toppings, though, had my attention: avocado mayo (like a variation on guacamole), cilantro, tomatoes, onions and sauerkraut. This was a meal in a bun (a toasted bun, I should note, that actually fit the hot dog).

It's worth remembering, as we expand our grilling repertoire, that sometimes it's the embellishments that differentiate the good from the great. A hot dog is a hot dog, until you add the extras. So make sure there are extras.

Patagonia Hot Dogs With Avocado Mayo

Makes 8.

Note: This combo hails from Patagonia, where this colorful topping is wildly popular — for good reason. From "Weber's Greatest Hits," by Jamie Purviance.

• 1 avocado, roughly chopped

• 1/3 c. mayonnaise

• 1/2 to 1 jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and chopped

• 1 tbsp. chopped shallot

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 8 best-quality all-beef hot dogs with natural casings (slightly longer than the buns)

• 8 hot dog buns, split

• 16 oz. sauerkraut

• 1 lb. tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped

• 1/4 c. roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves

• 1/4 c. finely chopped red onion


In a food processor, combine the avocado, mayo, chile pepper, shallot, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Purée until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350 to 450 degrees). Cut a few well-spaced diagonal shallow slashes crosswise along one side of each hot dog.

Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed, until lightly marked on the outside and hot all the way to the center, 4 to 5 minutes, turning occasionally. During last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat. Remove from the grill.

Generously spread the avocado mayo inside each bun. (Any unused amount will keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) Place a hot dog in each bun and add some sauerkraut, tomatoes, cilantro and onion. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per hot dog:

Calories415Fat27 gSodium1,270 mg

Carbohydrates30 gSaturated fat8 gTotal sugars7 g

Protein12 gCholesterol35 mgDietary fiber4 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 1 high-fat protein, 3 ½ fat.