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Take a bite out of the Portland-style hot dog

Chicago’s got one and even Seattle has their own signature recipe, so we are planting our little biodegradable flag on the hot dog map.

A Portland-style hot do with blackberries, hazelnuts, kale, tater tots, goat cheese, and mustard.

Yes, we made it, and yes, it tastes pretty good.

Photo by Ben McBee, PDXtoday

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We’ve got an important question about hot dogs for you. No, not whether they are sandwiches or not, but rather — why doesn’t Portland have its own signature frankfurter?

We asked our readers to do their wurst and help us come up with a culinary creation that would not only be unique, but also incorporate some of our city’s quintessential flavors.

The suggestions we received were so deliciously quirky, they’d make any “Chopped” contestant squirm. For toppings, one person proposed pickled rose petals (yes, they’re edible); other ideas included curried Dungeness crab, truffle salt, and Tillamook smoked black pepper cheese.

As for buns, hon — pizza crust, foraged mushroom, and even a cabbage leaf soaked in vinegar and spices made the list. Three readers gave in to their sweet tooth and picked a maple bar from Voodoo Doughnut.

A maple bar doughnut with bacon on top

Who says no to a breakfast dog with sausage, fried egg, and syrup? | Photo via Mike McCune

The question about condiments got … saucy. Marionberry ketchup, Thousand Island dressing, and Oregon Coast wasabi were all certainly memorable. When it comes to the actual dog, a bratwurst from Otto’s Sausage Kitchen was the resounding favorite.

So without further ado — we know you’ve got barbecues to get to — PDXtoday presents our Portland-style hot dog, aka “Keep Portland Wiener-ed.”


  • Franz hot dog bun
  • Otto’s Sausage Kitchen bratwurst
  • Kale
  • Caramelized onions + blackberries
  • Ore-Ida Crispy Gold Crowns
  • Goat cheese
  • Inglehoffer honey mustard


For both the bun and the actual dog, we had to keep it local with two Portland institutions — Franz Bakery and Otto’s Sausage Kitchen. The bratwurst can absolutely be swapped for a vegetarian option like Lightlife, Field Roast, or BeLeaf.

From there, kale adds a bit of greenery, and Ore-Ida’s Crispy Golden Crowns (they fit better than traditional Tater Tots) add a satisfying crunch. Caramelized onions were our top-voted topping, but we decided to add blackberries (marionberries if you can find them) to imbue a taste of Portland summers.

Locally produced Inglehoffer honey mustard accents the dog with more sweetness, while also cutting it with some heat and tang. It all gets finished with a dusting of our state’s official nuthazelnuts or filberts, depending on who you ask.

Three bratwursts on a grill

Otto’s Sausage Kitchen has been family-owned in Portland since 1921. | Photo via PDXtoday

Ben McBee


  • Add onions and marionberries to a pan and caramelize them. Feel free to add a bit of balsamic vinegar to boost the flavor.
  • Put potato bites in the oven, adding in buns toward the end to give them a nice toasting.
  • Fire up the grill and cook bratwurst to 165° internal temperature, with a nice char on the outside.
  • Chop and massage the kale, placing it inside the bun before adding the bratwurst. The heat of the dog will help soften the leaves even more.
  • Sprinkle goat cheese and Crispy Golden Crown potatoes on top, before adding heaps of the caramelized mixture.
  • Finish with a dash of honey mustard.

More reader submissions

Finally, here are some additional ideas from our readers that were too good not to share:

“Chopped onions, true fermented sauerkraut, slivered + sauteed garlic kale, chopped tomatoes for color, and gray poupon dijon.” - Kelly S.

“Baguette bread, bratwurst, mustard on half and balsamic on half, arugula, and diced white onion.” - Stephanie P.

“Peanut butter with jalapeños. Sweet and spicy doggy.” - Jeannie V.

“Beef dog with kale, truffle mayo, and carmelized onions. Call it Kale-ing It.” - Amber A.

“Throw on some kraut, call it a Delish Dog. So to recap--dog, Dijon, BBQ sauce, caramelized onion, and dill pickle slice.” - Todd J.

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