How to make your own bacon-wrapped hot dog cart

Times Test Kitchen chef Noelle Carter built a cart that can cook bacon-wrapped hot dogs and dispense beer on tap.
Times Test Kitchen chef Noelle Carter built a cart that can cook bacon-wrapped hot dogs and dispense beer on tap.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs. They’re the unofficial street food of Los Angeles. It’s all but impossible to escape their seductive aroma after a sporting event, concert or night on the town. Piled high with caramelized onions, peppers and festive squiggles of colorful condiments, the best “danger dogs” are served discreetly from makeshift carts.

For my Super Bowl party this year, I decided to build my own cart, using an abandoned grocery cart that had seen much better days. In the process, I added a draft beer tap and a few other embellishments. My new favorite toy, I’ve christened it the “party cart.”

Hot dog griddle: It’s simply a disposable chafing rack molded to fit under a sheet pan and heated, using two chafing fuel canisters. The rack and pan are attached to the cart so they don’t slip when the cart is in motion.


Custom paint job: The original cart was rusted through and burned in places, with peeling chrome and graffiti. I primed and sprayed the cart with high-heat grill paint and chrome accents for a fresh look.

Draft beer on tap: The foam cooler holds a mini keg of beer attached to a line that runs to a tap mounted on the outside of the cart. The custom tap handle is made from a wooden tiki.

Bicycle tape: To cover the burns on the handlebar, I wrapped it with natural cork bicycle tape. This also makes the handlebar comfortable if the cart has to make a quick getaway.

Fuzzy dice: Just because.

LED bicycle light: If I’m cooking in the dark.

Bicycle bell: If that tantalizing aroma of bacon-wrapped hot dogs isn’t enough to draw people to the cart, this bell is pretty loud.

Hot Wheels license plate: “BACN DOG.” Need I say more?

Disclaimer: If you’re going to attempt anything like this, be careful; improper modifications may result in damage, destruction, fire, and/or your humiliation in front of others. Second, don’t use your party cart for profit without a permit. Third, I’m not advocating you drink a particular brand of Dutch beer. Finally, much as this idea might inspire you to “liberate” a grocery cart from your neighborhood market, don’t. Theft is theft. If you want a cart, you can find plenty online (new and used). If you find an abandoned cart, check for store identification before using it.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter



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