Shucos is a Guatemalan-inspired hot dog, but unique ingredients and flavors make them different from any traditional American hot dog. In Guatemala, where I grew up, street hot dog vendors have turned the regular hot dog into a delicious creation that brings together the flavors of the American hot dog with Guatemalan ingredients like guacamole, chorizo, ham, and special sauces. In this post, you will find a step-by-step recipe for making a delicious and easy traditional Shuco Guatemalteco. Enjoy!
Shucos: A Must-Try Guatemalan Street Food
The original Shuco started on the streets of Guatemala City; there was a Shuco hot dog cart outside a popular private school for boys. Soon Shuco hot dog carts started popping out all over the city. They have become a traditional Guatemalan dish considered as Chapín (Guatemalan) as the red tamales or the ceviche.
When I was in school, we had a couple of Shuco hot dog carts across the street. I remember getting together with a group of friends around a Shuco cart after school, and I knew I had to share this Guatemalan street food with you.
A Guatemalan-Inspired Hot Dog with a Little Extra
You can make Guatemalan Shucos any way you want. Some of my favorite ingredients are chorizo, beef sausage, Pico de Gallo, onions, jalapeños, guacamole, and saucer kraut. Shucos in Guatemala are also made by adding other things like ham, longanizas (Guatemalan spiced sausages), bacon, chicken, and many other ingredients.
I also like to make the chimichurri sauce, which is Argentinian and pairs perfectly with the chorizo. But basically, you can make your Shucos Guatemaltecos any way you want; just pile up your favorite ingredients into that hot dog bun and enjoy!
What is a Shuco?
Shuco is a popular Guatemalan street food sold on street carts and fairs. It is a Guatemalan-inspired hot dog, but with delicious toppings like guacamole, repollo (sauerkraut-style cabbage), and meats (sausages and chorizo are the most common). You pile everything, including condiments like mayo, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, chimichurri sauce, or anything else you like.
The carretas de Shucos (street carts) is a favorite spot for Guatemalans looking for a quick bite after work. You can even hire them for your summer barbecues and even birthday celebrations. Kids can have a simple version of a hot dog and pile up or leave out any ingredient they like. The grownups usually ask “con todo,” an everyday slang phrase in Guatemala that means to load them up with everything; don’t you dare leave anything out!
What does Shuco Mean in Guatemala?
Although the word itself means “dirty” in Guatemala, don’t believe for a moment that the name means filthy or mucky. Instead, it is a slang term referring to the hot mess you make while eating them! Some Guatemalans may even argue that the classic Shucos eaten by the sidewalk are the real deal, no matter how hard you try at home to replicate them.
I hardly agree with that statement, as I’ve tried this Guatemalan recipe at home, and they taste amazing! But you will find out after trying this delicious Guatemalan dish, eating a fully-loaded hot dog piled high with sausages, spreads, and toppings is genuinely messy. My advice? Serve them on paper plates, open wide, and have a stack of paper napkins at hand!
What are Shucos Made Of?
The traditional Shucos Guatemaltecos start with a toasted hot dog bun spread with guacamole, then sausage or chorizo on top, repollo (sauerkraut-style cabbage), and crowned with your favorite condiments. Of course, for most Guatemalans like me, the trinity of sauces (mustard, ketchup, and mayo) is a must! But, then again, different strokes for different folks.
The fun thing about these Guatemalan-inspired hot dogs is that you can add (or leave out) anything you want. For example, I love to top off with a little bit of Pico de Gallo and jalapeños to give it a little kick! And my kids love to sprinkle them with queso duro (crumbled hard cheese) and cilantro for the final touch. And if you want something slightly different, you should try a Guatemalan Mixta!
What is the Difference between a Shuco and a Mixta?
Guatemalan Mixtas are almost the same as Shucos, with all the bells and whistles, but in a soft corn tortilla instead of a hot dog bun. It is like the taco version of Shucos, but the tortilla brings new dimensions to this Guatemalan dish. Both are a massive part of Guatemalan street food, portable and delicious, all wrapped up into one inexpensive meal that will have you licking your fingers!
How to make the best Shucos, Guatemalan Inspired Hot Dogs
Cook the Repollo (Sauerkraut Cabbage)
- Shred the cabbage into strips using a Chef’s knife or a food processor.
- Pour the shredded cabbage in a saucepan and add water until it barely covers everything. Then, add the vinegar, sugar, and salt to taste.
- Bring to a boil, lower to medium heat, and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The cabbage should be a little soft but not soggy.
- Drain the water, pour into a bowl, and set aside.
Make the Guacamole
- Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp from the avocados and place it in a bowl.
- Mash it with a fork until it becomes puree.
- Add the onion, lime juice, and oregano. Then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
Fire up the Grill
- Cut your sausages and chorizo lengthwise.
- Grill the sausages and chorizo until cooked. Cover and set aside.
- Heat the buns on the grill or the oven until golden brown.
Ready to assemble
- Slather a big spoon full of guacamole on the bread, add sausage or chorizo, the sauerkraut, and pile high with your favorite ingredients.
- Top it off with a good amount of mayo, mustard, and ketchup.
- Accompany with a stack of paper napkins!
Tips for making the best Shucos Guatemaltecos
- Halfsies is the way to go: I prefer to cut them in halves and cook them over on the grill (you can use an electric skillet or a regular frying pan). This way, when you place them flat on the bun, it is easier to pile up your other favorite toppings.
- No time to fire up the grill? No problem! You can cook the sausages in under a minute using your microwave. Of course, grilling your favorite beef franks will give them a charred, delicious taste. But sometimes, you don’t have enough prep time to get dinner ready and just need a quick recipe, right? Choose whatever cooking method is more accommodating to your lifestyle.
- Options galore! Some of the best Shucos come together by using different toppings, like chimichurri sauce, cheese, Pico de Gallo, or any other favorite ingredient you can think of. The best part about this easy Guatemalan recipe is that you can get creative. Don’t be scared to play around with your favorite ingredients or use what you have in your pantry!
Make Ahead of Time
With this easy Guatemalan recipe, you will have the Shucos ready in minutes. Still, there are a couple of things you can make in advance. For example, you can make the sauerkraut a couple of days in advance, and it will last in the fridge for up to six months.
Another thing you can make ahead of time is Pico de Gallo. It keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to four days. And if you want to make the entire meal homemade, you can whisk a batch of chimichurri sauce in minutes! It will last in your fridge for about three months.
What To Serve with Traditional Guatemalan Shucos?
Shucos Guatemaltecos is a whole meal in itself, with its meats, veggies, and bread is a huge sandwich from hot dog heaven! My kids love them for dinner, and this Guatemalan dish is a sure crowd-pleaser at any BBQ we host. I love serving them with either homemade chips or crispy baked fries to complete the meal.
But do you want to know what my favorite combo for Shucos is? A cold, tall glass of Guatemala’s famous drink, the michelada. It is a beer cocktail in Mexico and my home country of Guatemala, a mixture of beer, V8, tomato or clamato juice, and a rim of spices.
Other Traditional Guatemalan Recipes
- Chiles Rellenos: This traditional Guatemalan recipe is somewhat different from the Mexican chiles rellenos. It is made with sweet peppers, filled with a concoction of beef and veggies, served drizzled with tomato sauce.
- Traditional Guatemalan Enchiladas or Jardineras Recipe: A traditional Guatemalan dish, it is a fairly easy Guatemalan recipe. Made with a toasted tortilla topped with a vegetable mixture or escabeche, ground beef, and tomato sauce, it is one of my favorite authentic Guatemalan foods.
- Guatemalan Tostadas: The tostadas are a traditional Guatemalan food often served as snacks or appetizers during holiday festivities. You can spread tostadas with recado salsa (tomato sauce), refried black beans, and guacamole and topped with onions, cheese, and fresh cilantro.
- Buñuelos: Buñuelos are fried wheat-based dough balls, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, covered in white sugar, and served in a light syrup with a hint of anise.
- Guatemalan Rellenitos Recipe: Rellenitos are made with ripe plantains, filled with beans, and covered in sugar. This sweet plantain recipe is one of the most delicious Guatemalan foods.
As I bite into my first Shuco, the flavors and textures of the grilled sausage, the smooth guacamole, and the tangy repollo come together in my mouth, igniting an explosion of memories from my teenage years. So, when you get a chance to make this Guatemalan recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And if you ever visit Guatemala, make sure to look for a Shuco cart and try one!
Shucos: Guatemalan Inspired Hot Dogs
For the Hot Dog
- Hot dog buns
- Your favorite beef franks
For the Repollo (Sauerkraut)
- ½ Fresh cabbage (medium size) (medium size)
- 2 tbsp White vinegar
- 2 tbsp Regular sugar
- Salt to taste
For the Guacamole
- 3-5 Hass avocados
- ½ Onion finely diced finely diced
- 2 Limes
- 1 tsp Oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Yellow Mustard
- Your favorite hard cheese
- Pico de Gallo
- Cilantro chopped
- Chimichurri sauce
Cook the Repollo (Sauerkraut Cabbage)
Shred the cabbage into strips using a Chef’s knife or a food processor.
Pour the shredded cabbage in a saucepan and add water until it barely covers everything. Then, add the vinegar, sugar, and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, lower to medium heat, and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The cabbage should be a little soft but not soggy.
Drain the water, pour into a bowl, and set aside.
Make the Guacamole
Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp from the avocados and place it in a bowl. Mash it with a fork until it becomes puree.
Add the onion, lime juice, and oregano. Then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.
Fire up the Grill
Cut your sausages and chorizo lengthwise. Grill the sausages and chorizo until cooked. Cover and set aside.
Heat the buns on the grill or the oven until golden brown.
Ready to assemble
Slather a big spoon full of guacamole on the bread, add sausage or chorizo, the sauerkraut, and pile high with your favorite ingredients.
Top it off with a good amount of mayo, mustard, and ketchup.
Accompany with a stack of paper napkins!