There are hot dogs and then there are hot dogs— not the ones you got at freshman orientation or the last ballpark you ate at, but really good, delicious I-want-more-than-one kind of hotdog. J. Dawgs, a Utah County-born and bred family-owned business, offers up juicy franks with fresh toppings, a signature special sauce, and perfectly crisped buns for a truly transformative hot dog experience.

Close up view of J. Dawgs inspired hot dogs with special sauce, onions, and banana peppers.

Founded by Jayson Edwards in 2004 while he was still a student at BYU, J. Dawgs has been successful for over a decade, serving simple yet utterly satisfying hot dogs to the masses. This hot dog shop is best known for its iconic sauce, which is a sweet, not-quite BBQ sauce that you’ll just have to experience for yourself.

This hot dog recipe (complete with special sauce) is inspired by all of the deliciousness that J. Dawgs has to offer.

Tray of J. Dawgs hot dogs with special sauce.

J. Dawgs Special Sauce: How To Make It

The real showstopper for this hot dog is the special sauce. J. Dawgs sauce is sweet and tangy, and the perfect complement to a rich and savory hot dog. This sauce has such a cult following that you can buy it by the bottle at every J. Dawgs location.

The good news is it’s also incredibly simple to make at home with a few pantry staples that you’re sure to have already. All you’ll need is ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, onion powder, and Worcestershire sauce to create the most delicious hot dog topping.

You’ll never want your hot dog slathered in anything else again. Promise.

Which Hot Dog Should I Use?

To get the true J. Dawgs experience, you’ll need a good-quality hot dog. Not sure which hot dogs to get? Check out our taste test we did on Instagram to see our blind taste test of twenty five (yes- two five) major brands of hot dogs.

Spoiler alert: the winner was Nathan’s Famous, which we wholeheartedly think is a great fit for this recipe, or, if you’d like a heartier, thicker dog in true J. Dawgs fashion, the ¼ lb. dinner franks from Costco are perfect. 

J. Dawgs cuts deep X marks in each dog to create pockets for sauce and toppings to work their way into plus more texture and dimension with every bite. Be sure to grill the hot dogs (no microwaving these dogs!) until they have a nice, flavorful char on the outside.

Homemade hot dogs on tray.

The Best Hot Dog Toppings

The best hot dog is only as good as its accompaniments. That’s why, for this recipe, you’ll want to find some sturdy yet soft potato buns (they’re just the best– our favs are Arnold or Martin’s). No more of that crumbling-under-the-pressure, splitting-down-the-middle-before-you-even-take-a-bite kind of bun. A good bun is the foundation of your hot dog.

After you’ve got your bun all buttered and toasted, you’ll want to add white onion and banana peppers, if that’s your thing (give it a chance even if you think it’s not!), and whatever you do make sure and set aside the 5 minutes it will take to make our homemade take on J. Dawgs’ famous “special sauce”.

Try it all together and you’ll never eat a boring old hot dog ever again. Apologies in advance for ruining every BBQ that does not include these hot dogs!

Make Next: Italian Sub Sandwich

J. Dawgs Recipe with Special Sauce

Brooke Eliason
Servings: 8 servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
This J. Dawgs recipe has it all: sweet and tangy special sauce, flavorful hot dogs grilled to perfection, and perfectly crunchy onions.


Hot Dogs & Toppings

  • 8 large beef hot dogs
  • 8 potato hot dog buns
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • deli style banana pepper rings

Special Sauce

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire


  • Grill the hot dogs: heat grill to medium-high heat. Cut 1-inch long “X” marks running up and down the length of both sides of each hot dog, about ¼-inch deep. Grill hot dogs until nice and hot and grill marks have formed, about 2-3 minutes per side. Prepare the buns and special sauce while hot dogs are grilling.
  • Toats the buns: spread about ½ Tablespoon of butter on the inside of each of the hot dog buns and toast until golden brown on a griddle or nonstick pack.
  • Make the special sauce: whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, and onion powder in a small saucepan. Bring to medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is thick and bubbly and the sugar has been completely dissolved.
  • Assemble the hot dogs: place one hot dog inside of each toasted bun and top with the special sauce, chopped white onion, and then banana peppers if desired. Serve hot.


  • 1 grill

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