Reduce mess by putting ketchup under the hot dog

Marjorie! Hallelujah! Thank you for sending this in — parents everywhere will be singing your praises this summer!

My friend Adrienne had such an obvious hack, but i’d never thought of it. [Me neither. — Ed.] She put ketchup on the underside of the hot dog before putting it in the bun, rather than on top of the dog AFTER putting it in the bun. her way, there is less ketchuppy surface to get everywhere. If your kid is sensitive to having schmutzy hands, like mine, that’s good — and the sides of the bun absorb the extra ketchup so it’s more likely to end up in your kid than on his face or hands.

Uses for old mustard and ketchup bottles
Ketchup at 12 o’clock


  1. Linda says

    Unfortunately, this one doesn’t work with my kid. If she can’t see the ketchup, it doesn’t count, and she just keeps asking for more. Good idea, though!

  2. says

    Love your link for recycling old mustard and ketchup bottles!

    I wish you had a category for green hacking. I see global warming as the main threat to our children’s future. The more I read about it, the scarier and more urgent the problem seems to become.

    Here is my green hack for the day:
    walk and bike with your kids, whenever possible. It’s good for them, for you, and the planet. Plus, it will save you in gas money.
    ‘The Green Drop Project’

  3. says

    I thought that’s how everyone did it. Seriously, that’s how hot dogs are always done in my family. Mustard and/or ketchup, onions, relish, or whatever go in the bun, then the hot dog goes on top.

    Maybe my mom is an old-school parenthacker. ;-)

  4. says

    LOL. That’s how I eat MY hotdogs.

    A suggestion for this tip: the buns tend to break on the bottom also, so spreading it on the sides might work better.

    Linda, what if you spread just a little on the top with a butter knife?

  5. says

    Ditto on the “this is the way it’s always been done in our family.” Same with hamburgers in the summer — ketchup and mustard and whatnot go on the top and bottom buns, then the burger comes after.

    We use a variation of this when packing sandwiches for school lunch, by spreading the condiments on the ham or cheese and NOT the bread. So the two halves would be bread, meat, mayo and bread, cheese, mustard, for example. When you put it together, the condiments never touch bread, meaning lunch isn’t soggy a few hours later.

  6. says

    Good idea but I noticed that sometimes the ketchup will leak in the bottom if the kids mess around with the buns a bit. Got to admit that a hotdog in a bun is hard to handle with small hands! I instead squirt ketchup and mustard on the sides of the bun and roll the hotdog in there – coating it all around the hotdog and making sure there are no excessive ketchup or mustard to drip out. I’ve done that since I was little and actually prefer it this way.

  7. says

    We’re another family that has always put condiments on the bun then added the meat. In fact, “get your buns ready, the hot dogs are almost done” was how we got called to the picnic table.

  8. says

    yup, another family of bun preparers here. I’ve always liked that it gives the condiments a chance to soak into the (in our case, toasted) bun a little, giving a soft spot that the hotdog squishes into a little, relieving tension on the fragile split at the bottom. Of course I really miss the “C” shaped “buns” that weren’t just a split long roll, but were actually baked like a C or U shaped piece of flat bread… they never split out on the bottom. But I’ve not seen those for a long time now… maybe they didn’t survive the 80s?