Posted by: Erica Retrochef | March 18, 2009

Deviled Hot Dogs… or “barbecue”

Ah, early March — the days are warming up, you can finally ditch your heavy winter coat, and you’re looking eagerly at that grill on your back patio. Time for a tasty cookout! Throw some frankfurters on the grill, gang, it’s time to try…

Deviled Hot Dogs

FRENCHS advertisement
That’s right, deviled hot dogs! via Do What Now? You can tell it’s delicious and edgy because it’s deviled!

OK, there’s nothing particularly devilish about the hot dogs themselves; it’s all in the homemade barbecue sauce that French’s is suggesting will be just perfect if you use as many French’s products as possible.

Deviled Hot Dogs with Frenchwise Barbecue Sauce

Slash tops of frankfurters, brown in skillet. Baste and serve with Frenchwise Sauce.

1 medium onion minced (or 1 tblsp. French’s Onion Flakes)
1 small green pepper minced (or 1 tblsp. French’s Pepper Flakes)
3/4 cup ketchup
2 tblsp. butter or margarine
2 tblsp. brown sugar
2 tblsp. French’s Prepared Mustard
1 tablespoon French’s Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. salt

Combine ingredients, simmer 15 min. Serves 8.

The ingredients are quite colorful, but a little scary — I really don’t expect this to turn out well.

Devilish Ingredients

Since I was using real vegetables instead of French’s flakes, I decided to fry them in the butter first before stirring in the other ingredients (which probably wouldn’t need much simmering to blend their flavors). Once the peppers and onions were soft I added the sugar, salt, and worshersher sauce… and wow, that is a delicious sauce all on its own, with enough sugar to make it into a neat glaze.

Sauted veggies, plus sugar and worcestershire

I regretted having to add the mustard, although it tasted pretty decent once it was stirred in.

Adding mustard

And I really regretted adding the ketchup, which washed out all but the gentlest hint of the other flavors. This might look like mustard-based barbecue sauce from the way the advertisement is laid out, but it’s definitely a ketchup-based sauce.

I was also surprised to see that it looks EXACTLY like the blood-red bowl of goo in the advertisement.

Fancy ketchup

Sadly, I thought I had taken a picture of the hot dogs slathered with sauce after cooking, but I was wrong and didn’t realize it until they were all gone. Here’s a picture of them lightly basted while in the skillet, instead…

Basted hot dogs

This is surprisingly good. Don’t misunderstand, it isn’t fine dining; but it’s by far the best ketchup I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweeter and more interesting than plain ketchup, but not so spicy that kids (or average 1950’s American adult) would refuse to eat it. I definitely recommend fresh diced vegetables rather than flakes (can you even get green pepper flakes nowadays?), which adds both texture and nutritional value; cutting the ketchup down to 1/2 cup (or farther) wouldn’t hurt.

But it’s just extra-fancy ketchup. It isn’t barbecue sauce, and it sure isn’t “deviled”, which historically means a particularly hot and/or spicy dish. I’m not a huge fan of spicy food, but I feel sorry for anyone who finds the level of spice in “Frenchwise Sauce” to be devilishly high.



  1. Damn you’re brave for attempting some of the retro recipes! Thank you for your investigative reporting and your fabulous photography! I just posted a link to this recipe! Keep up the good work!

  2. DEVILED hot dogs? Well, I like hot dogs, so this is worth a try — if you say it’s good. 🙂

    How did the party turn out?

  3. Sweet William Shatner’s urologist! You actually cooked some of this stuff?!?!?! You’re a better man I am, Charlie Brown.

    Also, let’s scratch each other’s backs, cyber-speaking. I’ll post a link to your most excellent blog, and you can do the same, if you’re so inclined. And please, keep up the excellent work!

  4. @MoxieMama — thanks 😀 it’s turning out to be really fun to do this every week.

    @Sea — it’s actually not until Saturday. (I have been meaning to write back to you but I caught typhoid or the plague or something and have been totally zonked.)

    @Jim — Absolutely. Thank you 😀

  5. Despite the fact that this was a mustard company recipe, this is clearly a ketchup-based barbecue sauce. Almost any good sauce will have some mustard, tomato, and vinegar, but the relative amounts vary tremendously. (Incidentally, as a rather tricky homework problem in my undergraduate abstract algebra course, I had to prove that with a highly variable sauce like this, based on several ingredients, there is no way you can make an arbitrary sauce by mixing together a finite number of other sauces that you keep on hand. You need to have the raw ingredients.) Personally, I’m not a great fan of ketchup-based sauces either. In my quest to make my own barbecue sauce, I found that I didn’t like too much ketchup flavor, so I switched to tomato paste for the base (although that had problems too).

    Until we came to South Carolina, I was unfamiliar with genuinely mustard-based barbecue. However, that is the style in the midlands around Columbia. It’s OK, certainly, (I had some on beef yesterday), but I just don’t like it as much as a tomato-based sauce. There is also a perception that mustard sauces are more “white” than red sauces, and in the minds of many people (myself included), there is a prejudice against Caucasian barbecue.

  6. You are awesome for trying this recipe! Seems like it would be really good without the ketchup–or without even the mustard, just using that glaze-type stuff to put on grilled, baked, or broiled meat products.

  7. @Lois — It definitely has a better flavor — or at least, better to modern taste buds — without the ketchup. The glaze is something I plan on keeping in mind in future if I need something quick for hamburgers or something. (And I can always ADD ketchup to some servings to appease the preschooler!)

  8. No idea how old the others are who posted here, but I’m 56 now and remember eating these as a kid. (early 60’s to mid 70’s) They are good indoors, but my Uncle used to do them on the grill.

    To use a non-1960’s term, ‘OMG’ are they good that way!!

    Cook them away from direct heat, so you don’t burn the sauce if you have picky eaters. Personally, I like that crunchy, browned, crispy grilled hot dog thing myself.

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