Hot dog cookers show the versatility of the frankfurter from the steamer to the grill or the microwave to the fryer. Whether you are looking to use them on a cart in a restaurant or a concession stand hot dog cookers make serving our favorite food quicker and easier. For generations hot dog equipment has helped serve up hot and juicy franks at all sorts of events. Hot dog machines can do everything from heating buns to steaming the hot dogs themselves. In the last 100 years hot dog machines have evolved into highly efficient, compact money makers!
The honest answer to this question is probably not. Unless you are opening a concession stand, Deli, convenience store or another high volume location you will more than likely use other methods to produce those great hot dogs! Most Hot Dog restaurants and carts utilize either a grill, flat top griddle, fryers or just steam pans and racks. These methods and equipment are covered under our Cooking a Hot Dog page since they do not require any special equipment.
The hot dog cookers that remain are the hot dog steamer, the roller grill or the hot dog broiler. You have undoubtedly seen one of these machines at your local gas station or convenience stores and if you are like me have partaken in more than a few of the great franks they produce. While you could utilize one of these cookers in a restaurant or cart the other methods are usually more efficient and cost effective in those settings.
So the why would you use a hot dog cooker? Some people love the flavors that these cookers produce in there favorite wiener. Others just like the hands off approach they offer. Regardless of how you choose to cook your favorite Frankfurter having the right Hot dog cooker is a must.
The type of hot dog cooker you are going to use will depend on a number of factors from the type of hot dog business you operate, how you want to cook the hot dogs, Are there other foods you will be serving that will require a multi use cooker, do you have space constraints and of course cost. The most important thing is to know how you want to cook your hot dogs and then find the best equipment you can find to produce the best hotdog you can. Lets look at the different cookers to see what they each have to offer.
Hot dog steamers are the most popular way to cook hot dogs because they are economical and very easy to use. A hot dog steamers not only produce fresh, juicy hot dogs in minutes, but they are easy to operate and clean as well. A hot dog steamer will keep your franks at a safe, consistent temperature until they are served. Steaming also plumps and moisturizes your hot dogs
Some steamers also offer all-in-one design which saves space by combing the buns and hot dogs into one common area. Customer's seem to prefer a soft and fresh tasting bun out of a bun warmer. Depending on the size of the hot dog (and how many are being cooked), a steamer cooks frozen hotdogs in 45 minutes to an hour and thawed hot dogs in 20 to 45 minutes.
Most high quality steamers feature stainless steel construction, sealed water tanks, drain valve, juice tray and require no tools for dis-assembly and cleaning. Hot dog steamers are often constructed as a hot dog / bun steamer this design improves cooking time since the hot dogs and buns are prepared simultaneously. These combinations can hold up to 300 hot dogs and 50 buns. Steamer-style hot dog machines work by boiling water in a reservoir at the bottom of the machine. As the steam escapes this reservoir, it fills the cabinet of the unit, rapidly steam-cooking the hot dogs. This will allow you to easily provide food for large events, or keep hot fresh-tasting dogs on hand for longer periods of time due to the stability of heat provided inside the cabinet, and because your hot dogs won't dry out after a few hours (they are being kept warm by steam, after all).
Hot dog roller grills are a great way to easily cook large quantities of hot dogs at once. A hot dog roller evenly distributes heat in a rolling motion to keep hot dogs, brats, and other savory treats at a safe holding temperature until they are ready to serve. Roller Grills provide a flexible work environment with the capability to serve from both sides. Using a slanted hot dog roller grill will increase visibility and increase impulse sales. All-in-one combination grills are available - this saves space and money by building-in and combining the bun drawer below the grill as one single unit. Roller grills are also great for self-serve locations when furnished with an appropriate sneeze guard . Cooking time is approximately 10-15 minutes and hold as much as 75 hot dogs. Most hot dog roller grills feature stainless steel rollers and body, two separate on/off switches to operate with front rollers or rear rollers and two separate variable heat controls. Roller grill type machines slowly rotate your hot dogs, cooking them evenly on the entire surface. Often, the flavor of roller-cooked dogs is preferred because the cooking process brings out more complex flavors of the meat (This my personal choice because of the flavor). Though, these machines generally do not have the much larger capacity of the steamer style units. Additionally, some machines have independent heating controls, allowing a "hold temperature" to be kept. This will keep your roller-cooked hot dogs tasting fresh for a few hours. One great option to be explored with roller-style grills is using this style of cooker to heat up alternate foods like sausages which do not benefit from steam-cooking.
Hot dog broiler rotisseries offer great front counter merchandising but they require the most cleanup time. The hot dog broiler has a rotating rack that will attract attention and reel in customers. Hot dog broilers cook each hot dog fast and thoroughly by cooking the hot dogs from one side, relying on the temperature of the interior compartment to cook them on all sides as they rotate around the flame,Cooking time is approximately 15-20 minutes .While capacity varies between models the average broiler holds around 24 hot dogs and warms 12 buns and can cook about 100 Franks an hour.
Broilers are available in cradle designs, where the function is about the same as a Ferris wheel, and spike, where hot dogs are kept on individual spits as they cook. Most hot dog broiler rotisseries feature a stainless steel frame, bun warmer, juice drip tray and adjustable heat control
Regardless of which method or type of hot dog cooker you choose the main goal is to serve and enjoy a great hot dog. As with most things hot dog I suggest to taste test before you make a decision. Try a hot dog from the gas station steamer, the convenience store roller grill and the concession stand broiler then decide which one you want to be known for. If nothing else you get to enjoy three or maybe more delicious hot dogs!