Smoked Chili Cheese Dog

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This Smoked Chili Cheese Dog is everything you love in the classic chili cheese hot dog. It’s a simple, palate-pleasing combo of chili, cheese, and all-beef hot dogs cooked in a smoker for a smoky twist on traditional flavors.

Chili cheese hot dogs on a wooden cutting board. Text overlay reads: Smoked Chili Cheese Hot Dogs.

Chili Cheese Dog

Cool autumn nights and brisk winter evenings are just begging for a warm and filling chili cheese dog. Some folks reach for the pumpkin spice, I go straight for the chili.

And while making up a batch of my Smoked Chili or Brisket Chili is always a good idea, adding cheese and a hot dog to the mix is downright genius. Plus, after a busy workday, it’s nice to have something hearty and warm that you can whip up that is easy (and kid-friendly too!). 

Smoked chili in a cast iron skillet on the grill grates of a smoker next to four beef hot dogs.

How to Smoke a Chili Cheese Dog

This recipe for chili cheese dogs is made up of 5 quick and easy steps. For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and nutrition facts, scroll to the bottom of the post.

  1. Whip up a batch of chili. Heat olive oil in a deep pan and add onions and bell peppers. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Next, add ground beef and minced garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes. Pour in crushed tomatoes, seasonings, salt, and pepper.
  2. Get the hot dogs and the chili on the smoker. With your smoker preheated to 225 degrees F, smoke the chili and the hot dogs on you favorite smoker for 1 hour.
  3. Add some cheese and grill the buns. Turn on your oven to broil, and broil the buns for 1-2 minutes. Place a hot dog on each bun, top with a couple slices of American cheese (or your favorite cheese if American isn’t your thing), and allow them to cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melty.
  4. Chili cheese dogs: ASSEMBLE! Remove the hot dogs from the oven, top with smoked chili and whatever toppings strike your fancy (Candied Jalapenos, anyone?)
  5. Stuff your face. Ready, set, EAT! These chili cheese dogs are dressed to impress, so grab a napkin (and possibly a fork) and dig in.

Row of smoked hot dogs on toasted hot dog buns topped with two slices of American cheese.

Tips for Making a Chili Cheese Dog

Check out these tips for making the best chili cheese dogs prior to diving into the recipe for the best final result:

  1. Grill and simmer instead of smoke. The hot dogs and chili are smoked in this recipe for some serious flavor. If you don’t have a smoker, you can simmer the chili on the stovetop for 25-30 minutes until thickened, and you can cook the hot dogs on your grill or under the broiler in the oven preheated to the same temperature in the recipe card.
  2. Turn up the heat! If you’re a fan of chili with a good kick, you can add a jalapeno to the mix when the onions and peppers are cooking.
  3. Change the cheese. This recipe calls for American cheese, but I know many folks are not fans. If you’re not into American cheese, you can substitute with your favorite. Shreds of cheddar cheese or Colby Jack will taste great on these dogs as well.
  4. Get that chili thick. This is a classic hot dog chili, meaning the meat is broken down to a pretty fine consistency, the chili itself is fairly thick (not watery) and there are no beans in the chili at all. You should definitely be able to pick up these chili cheese dogs and eat them by hand (no fork and knife required). They’ll still be messy, but the thick chili should hold together fairy well.

As always, this recipe is here and ready to make your own. BBQ should taste delicious, and if there’s something you’d like to see on your chili cheese dog, go for it (and make sure to leave a comment!).

Four chili cheese hot dogs on a wooden cutting board garnished with sliced onions.

More Hot Dog Recipes

Hot dog fan, are ya? Well then, you’ve just gotta try out these other popular hot dog recipe from the website. They’re all unique and all come with their own signature flavor.

Smoked Chili Cheese Dog Recipe

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Chili Cheese Dogs

By: Susie Bulloch (
5 from 1 votes
This Smoked Chili Cheese Dog is everything you love in the classic chili cheese hot dog. It's a simple, palate-pleasing combo of chili, cheese, and all-beef hot dogs cooked in a smoker for a smoky twist on traditional flavors.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings8 hot dogs



Cheese Hot Dogs

  • 8 bun length all-beef hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • 8 slices American cheese cut in half

Hot Dog Chili

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (85/15)
  • 1 medium yellow onion divided use, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper any color, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons South of the Border Rub recipe link in notes


  • Preheat the smoker. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F with your favorite hardwood. I like to use oak or hickory for this recipe.
  • Make the chili. In a large stock pot or cast iron pan (that can be transferred to your smoker), heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until it is shimmering. Add in most of your chopped onions (reserve some for topping the hot dogs later) and bell peppers, and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions are slightly translucent and the peppers start to soften. Add in the ground beef and the garlic and cook for 3-5 more minutes, breaking apart the ground beef into small pieces with your spoon or spatula. Cook until the ground beef is cooked through. Carefully pour in the crushed tomatoes and sprinkle in the seasoning. Stir to thoroughly incorporate and taste. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Smoke the chili and hot dogs. Place the pan of chili on the preheated smoker, along with the hot dogs, and close the lid. Smoke the chili and the hot dogs for 1 hour.
  • Broil the hot dog buns and melt the cheese on the dogs. Preheat your oven to broil. Split your hot dog buns open and set them on a large sheet tray. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove the buns and place a smoked hot dog on each. Top each hot dog with two halves of the American cheese, arranged to cover most of the hot dog. Return the cheese covered hot dogs to the broiler to melt the cheese, another 1-2 minutes.
  • Assemble the chili cheese dogs. Remove the cheesy hot dogs from the broiler and top each with some of the smoked chili. Sprinkle with the remaining diced onions (if desired) and any other toppings you like. (My candied jalapenos would be bomb on here!)


Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1064mg | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 664IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 311mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Recipe Rating

Reader Reviews

4 Reviews

  1. Michelle says:

    My family and friends raved over this recipe! The chili is so simple to make yet the flavors are so bold. The chili was even enjoyed on an omelet the next morning. Delicious!

  2. James MacGillivray says:

    Cant find the note section for the south of the border rub. I will be able to rate once I see the rub recipe.