Charred Onion Relish
June 30 3:53 PM

Charred Onion Relish for Hot Dogs, Brats, and Salmon

This is a wonderful condiment on grilled Salmon and, dare I say, even better on a grilled Wohlner’s Hot Dog or a Wohlner’s Brat with a schmear of Dijon or whole-grain mustard or yellow. Or try this with a Wohlner’s Italian Sausage on a brat bun.

Whole Onions and Red Bell Pepper are nestled into and onto the hot coals which char and blacken them. Don’t fear, only the very outer skin of the onions and pepper truly chars and the super charred out skin is discarded and the remaining flesh is full of a deep roasted and sinfully smoky flavor that can’t be achieved in an oven or on a stove top.


  • 2 yellow onions, unpeeled
  • 1 red pepper, whole, uncut
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf Italian Parsley, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Olive or Canola Oil
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (sherry or red wine or balsamic or white vinegar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste, and pinch of cayenne never hurts

Note: You can char both onions and the red bell pepper at the same time. The red pepper will cook much sooner, in 8 or more minutes compared to 25 or more minutes for the onions.

Discussion: In a nutshell, char the heck out of the whole onions for about 25-30 minutes; char the red bell pepper but for a shorter time. Place these in a covered bowl where they can steam. Next, peel the worst of the black off each, and then cut into a relish size dice. Add chopped parsley and seasonings, and then dress and toss in oil and vinegar.

Charring the whole unpeeled yellow onion


  1. Light up some charcoal in your grill and allow them to be covered with gray ashes. Now nestle the two whole onions down into the coals, yes right on the hot coals, onion skin and all. With some long tongs stack some of the coals alongside and on top of the onions. . The outer skin will become very black, but that’s OK because it’s the outer peel you throw discard anyway. Cook this way for 15 minutes, then turn the onions, restack the coals on the onions, and cook about 10 minutes more so juices start to ooze out and the onion hisses a little (about 25 to 30 minutes total). Remember, you’re looking to achieve a tender onion, not a soft onion. You can stick a skewer into the onions to see if they are tender.
  2. Remover the onions from the coals and place them in a heatproof bowl. Cover and seal the bowl with a lid or with plastic wrap and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. When cool enough to handle, or when you’re ready, remove and discard the papery burned onion skin. Once past the crispy shell you’ll find some darken soft flesh, don’t discard that flesh which will provide some smoky depth of flavor. Carefully chop up the onion, and I say carefully because it can be slippery and you don’t want to cut yourself. Do the best you can to achieve a relish size dice of ¼ inch or less.

[If you don’t have a charcoal grill this recipe you should be able to achieve a similar result with your gas grill.]

Charring the Red Bell Pepper

(Red peppers do not take as long to char as the onions do, and they do not need to be completely black. About 8 to 14 minutes total time, turning a few times during cooking.)


  1. Place the whole red pepper on the coals just as you did the onion, and occasionally turn until the skin is almost completely black. Then place the blackened pepper in the bowl with the onions and allow them all to cool enough to handle. (Note: you could blacken the red bell pepper at the same time as the onions assuming you have enough coals to do all at the same time.
  2. Once cool, use a paper towel to remove most almost all the blackened skin from the pepper (some people then rinse them but I think some small specks of black skin add flavor.) Cut away and discard the stem, the inside ribs and the seeds. Cut the remaining pepper into a 1/4 inch dice (or smaller, think relish size here.)

Making the Relish

  1. Mix diced pepper and diced onion in a bowl, toss and stir in the vinegar, oil, salt-pepper and optional cayenne.
  2. Rest the finished relish for at least an hour to let the flavors mingle and develop, or refrigerate overnight.

Try this with a Wohlner’s Hot Dog spread with mustard and topped with our Charred Onion Relish.

Grilled Salmon Roll with Charred Onion Relish

As good as hot dogs and hamburgers are for the 4th, it might be good to have some fish too, and I’ve been trying to seamlessly weave Salmon into the festivities. Viola—we created the Grilled Salmon Roll. That way instead of eating two hot dogs I can eat one irresistible Wohlner’s Hot Dog and then one Grilled Salmon Roll.

A Grilled Salmon Roll is made with grilled salmon pieces placed in a toasted hot dog bun, or brat bun, spread with whole-grain Dijon, and topped with our Charred Onion Relish.

Grilled Salmon Roll — a Wohlner’s Original Recipe


  • Lightly oil fresh salmon. Season with salt and pepper. Grill to an internal temperature of 125f, medium rare, don’t over cook. Remove for the grill and allow to rest for a 5 minutes.
  • Chop the cooked salmon into chunks (first remove any skin if necessary.). Place some of the chunked salmon into a bun, a hot dog bun or a toasted Rotella Brat Bun. Spread some mustard over the salmon and top with Charred Onion Relish (recipe above.)

Wine Pairings

  • Mustard and Salmon — we’re in Pinot Noir terrior here. Very slightly chilled Pinot would be perfect!

Category: Deli
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