Introduction: Be a Lunch Hero

Picture of Be a Lunch Hero

This is a simple way to amaze your kids at lunch time and get them excited about eating. A little creativity will make you a hero in the kitchen or by the BBQ.

Also see how to be a breakfast hero

It all starts with simple hot dogs.

Please check out my other instructables and I also have a diy podcast called

Step 1: The Cuts

Picture of The Cuts

Everyone knows that when you cook a hot dog, it swells up. Enough swelling and it splits open. We can control these splits by making our own cuts through the skin.

I would advise caution in holding the knife as I do. You could use an exacto knife or wrap a bit of masking tape around some of the blade to protect your hand.

Experiment with the depths of the cuts as the deeper cuts equal more splitting

Step 2: Before Cooking

Picture of Before Cooking

Here are some examples of designs you could try. The last one is my favorite but I have to admit the idea is not mine (It came from a friend) The octopus only has four legs so it is really a quadropus but if you try to cut 8 legs I find they curl too much and don't look good.

Step 3: Cooked

Picture of Cooked

Here they all are ready to eat. We don't normally hide them in buns but who am I to tell you how to eat a hot dog?

Step 4: The Payoff

Picture of The Payoff

This is why I do it!


PetervG (author)2007-05-02

Does this work for boiling them?

dave spencer (author)PetervG2007-05-02

I have not tried boiling or microwaving them. I imagine boiling would work because they still split. - Let us know if you try it.

trebuchet03 (author)dave spencer2007-05-02

Boiling works great for the octopus :D It makes the legs/arms extra curly

Wasagi (author)trebuchet032009-12-27

 True, I was going to ask about whether or not you could grill the octopus, it doesn't look like you could that well. Of course, you could stand it up in the microwave.

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)2007-06-16

Awsome. though when I eat hotdogs, or smell them, I get lightheaded and dizzy. (I'm no vegitarian, I love my meat) They don't look right either.

solo.card (author)Spl1nt3rC3ll2008-01-27

"I'm no vegetarian, I love my meat" I love that comment, though I'm not too sure if Hot Dogs actually count as meat. Anything that can survive inside of a can for 3 years without spoiling was never alive, I reckon.

thefunktopus (author)solo.card2008-04-16

if you look at the ingredients of a hotdog it says, amongst many artificial things, "mechanically recovered chicken" why you would give that to your kids i have no idea. fyi i hate hotdogs too. i prefer normal sausages, or as we call them in britain, bangers.

mangadragon (author)thefunktopus2008-10-22

"Mechanically recovered chicken." I don't even know what the heck that is. I also hate the processed ones. The real kind with the natural casing is the good stuff!

mowie (author)mangadragon2009-09-19

I think it means they use a machine to use every last bit of the chiken like tthe brain and claws and stuff

santy22 (author)mangadragon2009-01-12

omg Cyborgk chinkins lol

Dr. Steel (author)thefunktopus2009-06-02

"mechanically recovered chicken" ... Robot Chicken?

by that "they don't look right" I mean hotdogs in general. not your modified ones, they look great. (octopus is the best) here's an idea, serve the octopus with corn "eggs"

Kaiven (author)Spl1nt3rC3ll2007-09-03

you could make the hotdog a squid, put corn "eggs" like you said, and put kethcup "ink" :D

Spl1nt3rC3ll (author)Kaiven2007-09-04

Lol, yea.

Kaiven (author)Spl1nt3rC3ll2007-10-22

ooh, and maybe make an old crimpled hotdog guy with a candy-cane cane :)

bowmaster (author)Kaiven2007-10-22


Umeko (author)2008-09-18

You can get special 'weaner cutters' used in bento boxes (from which you put the sausage in and it will cut it into a shape for you like an octopus or a penguin! then kids can help cut then without the danger of them cutting their fingers off with a knife :D

wocket (author)2008-06-14

this works well for "NotDogs" vege sausages too!

yo.ian.g (author)2008-01-01

hahaha cutest reactions

zorro3355 (author)2007-11-30

man! if i was a kid i would rather be scared then surprised my those demon like four legged,evil smiling food...haha

sasgty9 (author)2007-08-13

that first one scares me none the less, cool

tanpopo (author)2007-05-15

they make hot dogs look like octopus over in japan, they cut them small, maybe in half and then do it. that little person you made looks like gumby.

John Smith (author)tanpopo2007-06-08

I did the octopus hotdog things in first grade with my class. Actually, my mom came in to help that day, too. We cooked them in a deep fryer, I think.

quincy85wrestler (author)2007-05-14

we have those exact plates at our house

thecheatscalc (author)2007-05-14

great idea! who ever thought you could customize hot dogs?

crazy artist chick (author)2007-05-05

Will this work on a veggie dog? They tend to cook a little differently

sorta but only with some brands and i looks like sludge monster has attacked

thingygoboom (author)2007-05-12

cute kids and great instructable, nothing bad...

sassafrass (author)2007-05-07

Great idea! Now I get to be artistic while cooking, woo hoo! :o) I loved the picture of your kiddos at the end, too cute.

ryzellon (author)2007-05-02

Could you put a photo of a finished dog as your first photo? Your title is pretty catchy, but it didn't inform me as to what the instructable was about--you might want something conveying the project as the first image shown.

dave spencer (author)ryzellon2007-05-03

I had the same suggestion put forth for my "be a breakfast hero" so let me explain my logic... Lets face it, art is pretty subjective and I am by no means an artist. If I put any one picture of a hot dog or a pancake on the front, some people are going to think it sucks and miss out on other versions or opportunities. By putting a picture of plain packaging of simple raw materials with the word "hero" in the title I hope I have created some mystery and provoked some thought like "how does a plain package of hot dogs make you a hero?" Maybe you are right, maybe I am right, maybe we would each lose 50% of potential viewers with our methods. Thanks for the constructive criticism, keep it coming

canida (author)dave spencer2007-05-04

I'd suggest trying both methods on different Instructables and collecting data, but barring that you could try an intermediate step: add example pictures as secondary pictures to the Intro step. That way you're happy because mystery is created, but it only takes one click to get an example of your artistic take on the subject matter.

dave spencer (author)canida2007-05-04


LightningCrash (author)2007-05-04

I like the instructable, but I would never feed my kids hot dogs. Take a look at the nutritional label.....they're 75% fat! Still a very cool idea though, your kids are lucky.

dee24 (author)2007-05-03

Nice hot dogs! Personalized and everything. I bet they were a big hit!

dee24 (author)2007-05-03

My daughter would love a personalized hot dog! Nice job!

lemonie (author)2007-05-03

You can buy devices to split these eight ways I think. Called an 'Octodog' or something (I'm not Googling it, to check as I know they're out there). Your designs are better, and obviously cheaper. L

whiteoakart (author)2007-05-03

This is a great idea. I am constantly doing these kinds of ridiculous things with my kids' food. Their friends like to come over for lunch just to see what I'll cook up. You have given me the gift of a new tool in the shed of culinary creativity.

carlos66ba (author)2007-05-03

The "octopus" is really cute! Very nice.

karen608 (author)2007-05-03

Excellent! I wonder what you'll come up with next!

HamO (author)2007-05-03

Dave, Well done, great instructable. Awesome pix. What a Payoff. Thanks for sharing.

MechanicalMashup (author)2007-05-03

Dave, Love it!!!!

Bucktoes (author)2007-05-03

I will have to try this on the BBQ this weekend. Looks like fun.

Wulfbait (author)2007-05-03

You're a great dad, your kids are lucky. What a great idea, keep them comming, my kids and I appriciate them.

stevoIution (author)2007-05-03

Hahaha, Quadrupus.

aquax (author)2007-05-03

"The Payoff" made me literally laugh out loud. Great pic of your kids.

trebuchet03 (author)2007-05-02

Just be extra careful if you send something like this to school.... Hot Dog plus unsupervised child can be deadly.... In fact, someone from my school did in fact die that way -- they tried to do a field tracheotomy, but the dog was too far down :/ o.0

WesDoesStuff (author)trebuchet032007-05-02

half of me wants to believe you but the other half is choking on a hot dog and won't give me a strait answer.

alphagator (author)2007-05-02

Man that is totally wicked O_o also sgt waffles you have given me the best idea for proposing ever thank you

About This Instructable




Bio: I have had a few careers so far, soldier, school teacher, arborist, millwright. I love change and I love learning.
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