The best hot dog means knowing the perfect way to cook a hot dog, whether you roast, grill, simmer, microwave, or turn it over an open campfire. Here’s everything you need to know.
Swooning over the consummate hot dog in that centerfold-worthy photo above? Yeah, so are we. So get thee a bun, nestle a frankfurter within it, and squeeze on a zigzag of yellow mustard or whatever other condiments you fancy after heeding the words of advice below. Keep in mind, though there are many ways to cook a hot dog, each creates a distinctly different eating experience, whether the crunchy snap of a fire-charred dog or the mouthwatering bite of a tense, juicy, simmered frankfurter. Recipe methods are ordered from quickest to longest cooking time so you can know, at a glance, which to try when your craving just can’t wait.–Renee Schettler
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO COOK HOTDOGS FOR A CROWD?
Out of all the methods that we tried, roasting is the best way to go for serving up a large number of wienies as it’s fairly easy and worry-free. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Place the hot dogs on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 10 to 20 minutes, or until hot dogs are heated through to 160°F (71°C). Hot dogs can be placed in a prewarmed slow cooker to keep warm, or just in the oven with the temperature lowered.
How to Cook the Perfect Hot Dog
- 1 hot dog (or as many more as you need)
- 1 hot dog bun (or as many more as you need)
- Yellow mustard, to taste
- Other condiments, as desired (pickle relish, ketchup, sport peppers, sauerkraut, onions, cheese, and so forth)
- Choose your cooking method from the recipe options below, plonk the hot dog in a bun, slather it with mustard and any other desired condiments, and then take a moment to behold this greatness before demolishing it.
CHOOSE A METHOD
Microwave:Is it as good as grilling or cooking on a stovetop? Not even close. But it’s darn quick and, if done right, it can make a decent, if not great, dog in a pinch. First, wrap the hot dog tightly in a dry paper towel, tucking the ends under the dog so they don’t flip open. Place the wrapped hot dog on a plate and microwave on 80 percent power for 30 to 45 seconds or until heated through.
Open FlameTechnically similar to grilling but a lot more fun. Perfect for campfires and cold evenings around a fire pit or fireplace. It creates a charred, wonderfully crisp skin and a juicy, piping hot interior. First, prepare a fire. Grab long-handled tongs, which are ideal, or a long-handled skewer made for roasting dogs and marshmallows. Hold the hot dog a few inches above the tops of the flames. Slowly rotate the dog while cooking until the skin is charred and crisp and the interior is cooked through 2 to 5 minutes.
Grill and BroilDirect dry heat will magnificently crisp the skin on dogs made with natural casings. If you don’t have a grill, no worries. Broiling is essentially the same process except that it uses top-down heat instead of bottom-up heat. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to its hottest setting for at least 30 minutes. Just before tossing on the dogs, lower the heat to medium (about 400°F/205°C). Grill the dog for 3 to 4 minutes, until charred but not blackened. Flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. If using a charcoal grill, heat the charcoal for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the coals ash over. Spread the coals over the bottom of the grill. Grill the dog for 3 to 4 minutes, until charred but not blackened. Flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. If using a broiler, place the dogs on a broiler rack and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until charred but not blackened. Flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.
SimmerCompared to boiling, simmering incurs less risk of overcooking or splitting the dogs. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring enough water to cover the dogs to a simmer. Place hot dogs in the water and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). If you need to keep the dogs warm, you can turn the heat off and leave the hot dogs in the warm water—so long as it’s above 160°F (71°C)—for a short while.
Originally published July 22, 2014