Ina Garten on a designed background next to a picture of a grill with vegetables on it

Ina Garten's Labor Day Menu Is So Simple—and a Little Surprising

Ina’s putting the spotlight on a cookout classic.
Leah Goggins
September 02, 2021
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There's no one we trust more than Ina Garten when it comes to putting together a holiday menu that will please any crowd. The Food Network star's other summer holiday menus have been pretty perfect this year—her Fourth of July menu was a mix of classics, like flag cake and sangria, and twists on summer favorites, like a confetti corn salad. And we're still dreaming of her Memorial Day menu, which featured easy cast-iron skillet burgers, baked beans and coleslaw. 

After a busy summer of elaborate and inspiring menus, the Barefoot Contessa is taking it easy this holiday weekend—and we can't wait to do the same. Instead of her typical menu, Garten is offering us a suggestion of merely two words: hot dogs.

Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, will be enjoying a classic summer cookout meal of hot dogs served with Gulden's spicy mustard (buy it: $1, Walmart Grocery) and classic pickle relish (buy it: $3, Walmart Grocery). "Summer holidays call for hot dogs!!" Garten wrote on Instagram. "Instead of grilling them, we like ours cooked over an open fire. Jeffrey and I are traditionalists—potato rolls, spicy Gulden's mustard, and LOTS of relish."

If you're looking for a little more guidance on toppings and cook time, we have a few hot dog recipes to take inspiration from (as well as a few carrot dog options for vegetarian or vegan celebrants).

When it comes to roasting those hot dogs, Garten doesn't just have a firepit—she has a fire bowl, an oversized metal dish that looks pretty glamorous in the context of Garten's lavish garden. Garten's bowl is a custom-made pit installed for the kitchen studio where Garten films episodes of The Barefoot Contessa, according to the design firm Fire Features. But you can find similar, more affordable versions of the simple bowl from Home Depot.

This classic steel pit (buy it: $169, Home Depot) measures nearly three feet in diameter, so you can get the oversized look in your normal-sized backyard. Reviewers call out the pit's heavy, sturdy base and bowl, as well as how easy it is to assemble. Another pit that won't break the bank is this 36-Inch Hampton Bay Emberjack (buy it: $149, Home Depot), which has a deep bowl and sturdy grate that reviewers say makes the pit feel safe for guests. And for those looking for a portable option, this Heininger Portable Propane Gas Fire Pit (buy it: $137, Home Depot) is a smaller option that reviewers love for roasting marshmallows and warming up smaller outdoor spaces in the winter.

For the full Ina experience, you'll also want to pick up a set of roasting sticks so you can keep your distance from the open flame and safely roast your hot dogs. These Marshmallow Roasting Sticks (buy it: $25, Home Depot) should do the trick in a pinch, and they even come with rubber guards to keep the sharp ends from scratching anything in your kitchen drawers. (And if you want the full look, you can pick up the Barefoot Contessa-branded cap Jeffrey's wearing from Garten's own website.)

We recommend rounding out your firepit lunch with some delicious Garlic Butter Campfire Corn on the side and a Campfire Banana S'more for dessert. Want some help finding the healthiest hot dog option at the store? Use this guide to make sense of the packages you'll find in the sausage and hot dog case.