I Cook Hot Dogs all The Time
It's A Piece Of Cake Right?

To cook Hot Dogs correctly is the most important step to the perfect meal.



To cook Hot Dogs correctly is the most important step to the perfect meal. While everyone has their own way they like their dog cooked, from burned to a crisp to barely warm, most of us enjoy them somewhere in the middle. Everyone also has a favorite way to prepare their favorite hot dogs. This versatile food can be boiled, fried, grilled, roasted in the oven or cooked over a roaring campfire. No matter how you like them prepared, there is a right and a wrong way to do it if you want your hot dog to reach its full flavor potential. So to cook Hot Dogs may seem like a piece of cake but if you follow the guidelines below you may just realize that your favorite Wiener has so much more flavor to offer than you thought.


Cook Hot Dogs On The Grill

I like to cook hot dogs on the grill because it adds a great smoky taste and like many consider this to be the best way to prepare and enjoy them.

I like to cook hot dogs on the grill because it adds a great smokey taste and like many consider this to be the best way to prepare and enjoy them.While the grill is heating up, prepare the hot dog buns and condiments, just so when they are done you can enjoy them hot off the grill. To me Hot dogs are best enjoyed right off of the grill.

 To properly grill a hot dog, preheat the grill to medium high and set up a 2-zone cooking area. Make sure that one side of the grill is hot and one side of the grill is a little cooler. You can do this by stacking up the charcoal a little higher on one side. If you have a gas grill, you should be able to control the heat much easier.

Lay the hot dogs on the cooler side of the grill. If the franks are curved,try to bend them gently in order to flatten them out a bit. This will make it easier for you to roll them around and cook them evenly on all sides. Put them on the grill running parallel to the grates so they nestle nicely between grids. Now they won't get those nice horizontal stripes this way, they'll get vertical stripes. When they have a nice dark brown char,just roll them over the grid into the gap between the next two grids, and repeat until all sides are done. This way you get more caramelization that develops flavor in the meat when it turns brown.

Cook hot dogs for about a minute on each side. Most Hotdogs come already cooked, so your goal here isn't to cook the dog so much as give it some good color and get it piping hot without burning it. Use tongs, not a fork, when turning the dogs. Stabbing releases the juices, drying out the meat. Keep turning the dogs until all sides have developed a nice, even char. If the dogs are hot but have not developed color, move them over to the hot side of the grill. Grill them quickly, just to develop a bit of char, and then move them to a plate.


Boil A Hot Dog
"The Dirty Dog"

To boil a hot dog is also very simple and in a restaurant or vending cart allows the Hot dogs to stay fresh and taste great for hours

Boiling hot dogs is a common method used by hot dog vending carts and has developed the name “Dirty Dogs”. There is nothing dirty or unsafe about this method; it gets its name because while the hot dog is boiling, the water will get cloudy or dirty with extract from previously cooked dogs. This is good, not bad. This adds extra flavor to the hot dogs. To boil a hot dog is also very simple and in a restaurant or vending cart allows the Hot dogs to stay fresh and taste great for hours

To properly boil a hot dog, fill a large saucepan with enough water to cover your hot dogs. A good rule of thumb is about one cup of water per frank. Be sure to use a large enough pan so that the water is a few inches below the rim.

Bring the water to a full boil before proceeding. Then add the hot dogs to the water and Simmer the hot dogs for anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes, depending on how you like your hot dogs cooked. For a softer hot dog, simmer them for less time, around 3 to 4 minutes. For a crispier hot dog, simmer them for more time, around 5 to 6 minutes.   

Oven-Roasting Hot Dogs
The Next Best Thing To The Grill?

oven roasted hot dogs, some will say they taste about as close as you can get to grilled hot dogs without the inconvenience of lighting up the grill.

When I cook hot dogs this is probably the one method I use the least, not because it is not good I just prefer other ways to prepare my franks. There are a lot of people who really enjoy oven roasting their dogs especially in the winter to try and get the grill flavor they desire. While using this method to cook hot dogs does results in juicy, caramelized hot dogs, some will say they taste about as close as you can get to grilled hot dogs without the inconvenience of lighting up the grill. I am not sure I would go that far, but they are good!

To utilize the oven roasting method heat the oven to 400°  and make a lengthwise slice down half of each hot dog. Do not slice all the way through the hot dogs, just make a cut to vent the hot dogs.

Once the oven is preheated place your wieners on a cookie sheet or if you prefer on the oven grates directly. Just put foil or a pan on the bottom of the oven to catch the juice if you put them directly on the grates. Cook hot dogs for about 15 minutes or until they reach the level of color and caramelization you desire.


On The Griddle Or In The Pan
The Wiener is king

Many of the world's best hot dog joints cook on a flat top griddles. They like the ability to cook a lot of dogs at a time along with the flavor and level of caramelization it brings out.

When looking to cook hot dogs many restaurants chose griddling. Griddling is nothing more than cooking in a thin layer or oil on a hot flat surface, This can be done on a flat top griddle, a cast iron skillet or frying pan. Many of the world's best hot dog joints cook on flat top griddles. They like the ability to cook a lot of dogs at a time along with the flavor and level of caramelization it brings out. Like most ways to cook a hot dog, it is very simple but if done wrong can ruin the taste of the worlds best hot dog.

The first step is to make sure the surface is clean and lay down a thin coat of oil. You could get adventurous and use bacon grease if you want just to add another level of flavor. Make sure to keep the heat down to medium or medium high, you don't want a burned dog that is cold in the middle. When your griddle is hot, add the hot dogs, do not bend the franks straight, lay them all down facing the same direction. Use tongs or a spatula to turn the hot dogs frequently to prevent burning and provide the level of color desired. Cook each hot dog for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the hot dog is crispy on all sides.

Steaming, Another Great Way To Cook A Hot Dog

steaming plumps and moisturizes franks and is a featured method with many hot dog cart vendors.

Steaming hot dogs is a very popular method because as with "dirty water dogs", steaming plumps and moisturizes the franks and is a featured method with many hot dog cart vendors. There is much less flavor leakage into the water and some hot dog cart vendors use steaming and boiling in combination to extend the life and flavor of their dogs. 

 To cook hot dogs with the steaming method all you need is a pan to boil water in, with a steam rack in the bottom and a lid. 

Fill the pan with enough water, beer or broth to fill the bottom of the pan but not touching the bottom of the steamer rack. Do not overfill or you run the risk of the liquid bubbling up onto the hot dogs and leaching some of the flavor. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to low and add hot dogs to the steamer grate. Cover tightly and steam 5 to 7 minutes or until hot dogs are heated through. Once they are steamed you can add them to a pan of "dirty water" to keep them fresh and great tasting for hours.

I'll Take Mine Fried Please!
Or May I Have A "Ripper"

Of all the ways I have enjoyed a Hot dog this is one of my favorites, especially wrapped in bacon. To cook hot dogs this way is not as prevalent as you might think, though it has grown in popularity thanks to our friends in NJ and the place many give credit for this to Rutt's Hut in Clifton NJ. Their "Rippers" are crunchy on the outside, chewy near the surface, and tender on the inside. Rippers get their name from the fact that when they are fried the skin on the outside splits open or "Rips".

To make deep fried hot dogs at home you need a pack of your favorite hot dogs, a deep fryer, some oil, paper towels, and toppings.

A lot of people use natural casing hot dogs when they can to get a crisper skin that snaps when they bite into it. The best temperature for frying your dogs is between 350 and 375 degrees. You will want to fry them for 3-5 minutes (or if you like a really done and mangled “ripper” dog try for 7-9 minutes). When they are done pull them out of the oil and place them on a plate or pan with some paper towels to drain some of the oil away. And lastly enjoy!!

I Would Like My Frank Over The Fire

There is nothing to me that says summer is here more than enjoying a hot dog over a campfire on a beautiful night with friends and family.

Nothing says summer is here more than enjoying a hot dog over a campfire on a beautiful night with friends and family. When I watch them put the hot dog down in the coals or wait till it catches on fire to bring it out to eat, I think they don't know how good a campfire hot dog can truly be.

Really, all you need to roast a hotdog in a campfire is a stick and a good fire.You need to make sure the stick is strong enough to support the hotdog, and long enough that you can stay far enough away from the fire to keep from inhaling too much smoke or getting burned. Now days they make metal rods and pokers just for cooking hot dogs over a campfire, some of them even have two prongs for us two fisted hot dog lovers.

 To properly cook hot dogs over a campfire carefully thread the stick into one end of the hotdog, trying to keep it going through the middle. Put the stick in at least half of the hotdog’s length, if you can get it three quarters of the way that is even better. You don't need high flames to roast a hotdog, in fact, the bed of coals is preferable because the heat will be more even, but you need to keep the hot dg above them not right down on top of the coals or directly in the flame. This will help keep the heat consistent and avoid the ashy or the infamous fire dog. Keep a close eye on the dog, and rotate it frequently until it reaches your desired doneness, for me that is golden brown with a little bit of char, for my mother in law it is black and crunchy.There is no real right way to enjoy a hot dog except your way.  Almost all hotdogs sold in the U.S. are pre-cooked, so you really don't have to worry about how long it cooks you’re just trying to get them hot, and maybe a little crispy on the outside. 

Was The Microwave Really Made For Hot Dogs?

We purists may frown, but microwaves were practically built for frankfurters.

We purists may frown, but microwaves were practically built to cook hot dogs. No juices are lost, no surfaces are burned. And it all happens on high in about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dog. And then you get to enjoy a great wiener with no real mess to clean up! I hate to admit it but I have to confess that a good portion of my Hot dogs are cooked this way. The real downfall to this method though is that you do loose the flavor that the other methods seem to deliver.

There are a couple of different ways to utilize the microwave to cook hot dogs, the first is similar to boiling except in the microwave.

Place your hot dog in a microwave-safe bowl. Make sure the bowl is deep enough to hold the hot dogs comfortably. Cover the hot dogs with water but leave at least one inch between the top of the water and the rim so the water does not bubble over.

Cook the hot dogs on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Some larger hot dogs may need more time in the microwave. Remove the hot dogs from the microwave and drain away the water. Let the hot dogs stand for 30 seconds to cool.

The second way is just to straight microwave them. Place your hot dogs on a microwave safe plate. Depending on whether the dogs are thawed or frozen and the size of the hot dogs, the time will vary. Usually 4 hot dogs will cook from a frozen state to done in 2 to 3 minutes. Cook the dogs for one minute then rotate on the plate, cook for one more minute. If they are done enjoy, if not continue cooking in one minute increments until the desired doneness is achieved. By doing it in one minute increments it helps avoid the hot dog popping open inside your microwave.



     Home             Hot Dog 101         How Hot Dogs are made        Hot Dog Variations    

Cook a Hot Dog             Hot Dog Etiquette