The Meatwave

Completo Italiano

Completo Italiano View Recipe

In the fall of 2019, I took an incredible trip to Patagonia with stops in Santiago and Buenos Aires there and back, respectively. Usually an outcome of trips like these is my desire to keep eating my favorite bites from each city when back at home and sharing my enthusiasm with my friends and family. In Santiago, one such item I wanted to recreate was their completos—generously adorned hot dogs with topping combinations not commonly found in the U.S. The completo is not a singular item, but a variety of topping choices that can vary from shop to shop, but a few are pretty standard and none is as popular or ubiquitous as the completo Italiano, which marries smashesd avocados, mayonnaise, and tomatoes into a pairing that resembles the Italian flag more than Italian flavor, but is delicious none-the-less.

Completo Italiano

When you boil it down, this isn't much of a recipe, but I still felt the desire to share the completo Italiano on this site in the closest fashion that I experienced it in Chile. That began with prepping the tomatoes by coring some romas and then cutting the remaining flesh into a medium dice.

Completo Italiano

Next I smashed a few avocados in a bowl with a little lime juice mainly to help them from turning brown too fast over any real flavor consideration. The avocado I had on my completo in Santiago didn't taste like it was doctored in any way, so I resisted the urge to add more seasoning.

Completo Italiano

The area I most questioned myself when making these was hot dog selection. To be honest, the completos I had were so generously topped that the accompaniments were more upfront than the meat itself, so finding the perfect sausage was not a paramount consideration. However, the hot dogs there tasted more subtle than my go-to Nathan's, so I tried a beef and pork variety with a natural casing and was happy with that selection in the end.

Completo Italiano

I never miss a chance to tell readers to toast their buns, because it breathes some life into those standard rolls you pull off grocery shelves. However, in the completo equation, this is not really a necessity because it's not how I saw any bun prepared in Chile, so I merely very quickly warmed the buns a bit over high heat, but pulled them off before they started to toast in any meaningful way.

Completo Italiano

If there's anything to pay attention to in this recipe, it's the quantities because I feel like the most likely mistake in making a completo at home is going to be under-topping—completos do not hold back on the amount of the condiments applied. So to assemble mine, I used a very hearty amount of avocado, followed by more mayo than felt logical, and then enough tomatoes to cover most of that mayo, but not enough that they would just fall everywhere when I tried to eat it.

While there's a lot of toppings here, this particular trio is on the lighter side, flavor-wise, in the completo universe with the avocado and tomato combining to give it a rather fresh taste. The heaviness really comes by way of the mayo, but still it kind of adds more tang than anything else. With a mellow flavor overall, the heartiness of this hot dog really sneaks up on you because those first few bites taste pretty light, but a little more than half way through consuming a completo Italiano, you start to feel the fullness it can impart where eating an entire second one starts to feel like it may not be the best idea, but one you want to do anyway because it's just that good.

Print Recipe

Completo Italiano

  • Yield 8 servings
  • Prep 10 Minutes
  • Cook 5 Minutes
  • Total 15 Minutes


  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 4 roma tomatoes, cored and diced


  1. Halve and remove pit from each avocado. Scoop avocado flesh into a small bowl, add in lime juice, and mash with a fork or spoon until smooth.
  2. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place hot dogs on grill and cook until lightly charred and heated throughout, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Transfer hot dogs to buns and top each with a generous layer of avocado, mayonnaise, and diced tomatoes. Serve immediately.

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