So you want to grill the perfect hot dog? Well, you’re in luck. Here is the How to Grill the Perfect Hot Dog guide.
Hot dogs are a staple in modern life. We have them when we are tailgating, at parties, at sports games, and at all sorts of other activities.
Watch the Video
If you’re a reader and want to read our “How-To”, we have all the information below. However, if you’d rather just watch the video, here you go:
Three Ways to Cook Hot Dogs
Ok so there are many ways to cook hot dogs, but the three primary ways are:
- Rolling Machine – Use a hotdog rolling machine like what you find at the convenience store. If you are single, no worries, give that baby a home right up on your kitchen counter. But if you’re married, chances are your wife will put a stop to that before it gets started. At least mine did.
- Buy a Baseball Team – Yes, at the baseball game, you get the perfect hot dog all the time. However, that is out of the price range for most of us, even if it’s the Cubs.
- Grilling – This is the most common way but you have to grill them the right way. Sure any hot dog tastes good, but you want the best-tasting hot dog, so you have to take time and cook them the right way.
I know there are more ways to cook a hot dog but I am sure you will agree with me that the first two on the list (Rolling Machine and Baseball Park) are always good and I bet you’ve never had a bad hot dog off a rolling machine. So why are the first two ways always the best way? Easy, they are slow-cooked. A rolling machine rotates the dogs and cooks them evenly and slowly. At the baseball game, they are sitting in hot water and cook evenly and slowly as well.
Hot dogs are pre-cooked, so in essence, you really just need to heat them up. Hot dogs have a casing around them. So your goal is to keep the casing from breaking while heating the juices up inside. This way the juices heat the meat and stay trapped inside. So when you take a bite, all you taste is heaven. So remember, the key is slow cooking them.
Start off with a Premium Cut of Meat
OK, so it’s not really a cut of meat but you need to start off with a good premium hot dog. Sure, any hot dog will do and taste delicious but if you want to experience utopia, I would suggest going with the Ballpark Angus.
I have had a lot of hot dogs over the years and there are truly a lot that taste great, but my top choice is the Ballpark Angus.
Grill Set Up
The first thing you do is turn your grill on low and let it heat up to about 200°.
Most people like getting fancy with their hot dogs and cutting them open, fishtailing them, or cooking them fast. When you cut a dog, you cut through the casing and ruin the experience. Take a look at this grill above. You have two areas, the bottom grates which is normally the cooking area, and the top tray which is called the warming tray.
Don’t use the bottom grates, use the top warming tray. Again, you are just warming these up and not trying to cook them. A slow cook is always better.
Place them along the top and give them room to breathe and let the heat rise up around the hot dogs.
After 10 Minutes
The first 10 minutes take the chill off from the fridge. You could leave them to sit out on the counter to get them to room temperature but I like taking them right from the fridge to the grill.
After 20 Minutes
No grill heats up evenly. As you can see the dogs to the left have been cooking a little more. If this happens, you flip and also rotate them to the other side so the dogs that haven’t been heating up as quickly will get more heat exposure. This way all the dogs are done and ready at the same time.
After 30 Minutes
Now they are starting to get that golden brown effect. And you can start seeing the hot dogs get a juice glaze on the outside. Now is when you need to really start paying attention. If a casing breaks, you know they are done and you can take them off the grill. Again, you don’t want the casings to break because then all the juices escape.
Ding! The Hot Dogs Are Done
These took about 40 minutes to grill. Usually, it will be a little quicker but it was cold outside and I kept raising the lid to take pictures and show them off. Now you can eat them by themself or stick them on a bun with all your favorite toppings.
Now let’s wrap it up.
How to Grill the Perfect Hot Dog
- Start with a good-quality, tasty hot dog
- Set the grill to 200°
- Make sure you have time because you have to slow-cook them
- Place them on the warming tray, on the top shelf of the grill, and shut the lid
- Check on them every 10 minutes or so
- Be patient, slow cook them, you can’t rush perfection
- Take them off the grill once you see or think a casing is about to break
- Kick back, enjoy the smell, and get ready to have the feast of your life
So there you have it.
I use a charcoal grill with various smoke chips. Sometimes I’ll cut a spiral into the dogs so it has an accordion-like effect. When you do that you’re exposing more of the dog to that great smoky flavor. It’s safer for kids to eat too. Brats are different, I cook ’em like your dogs but I place the charcoal on one side of the grill and use the other side for indirect heat. Great video, thanks!
Charcoal is the way to go. I just got a Weber Charcoal grill and Charcoal adds so much flavor. Will have to try and cut a spiral to see how that is, sounds good.