When I began to write this page I thought how am I going to write a whole page on how to grill hot dogs? Not only is this page a lot longer then I ever thought it would be I could probably write another entire page on the subject.
Basic Tools Required: Tongs
While everyday pre-packaged dogs may be fine for the kids they just don’t cut it for the adult tastes. We always recommend 100% all beef hot dogs they just taste better. Look in your butcher’s meat case for higher grade dog’s. Some brands we love are Chicago Red Hots and Pushcart.
Cooking kid friendly Hot Dogs: Generally speaking children do not like dogs that have any grill marks them. The younger they are the more this seems to hold true. To achieve the perfect Kiddie Dog, keep them away from the flames. There are several ways to accomplish this: If your grill has multiple burners or heat zones turn 1 off and make sure that the area next to it is on low, or use an upper rack if available, and if neither of those options are available use the outer edges of your grill. Then rotate often to prevent grill marks.
Normal Grilled Hot Dogs: Cook over low to medium heat; turn every 3 to 5 minutes. They are fully cooked when you see moisture gathering on the dog and/or bubbles coming out of the ends.
Burn ‘em: Occasionally I like my Dogs burned to a crisp, especially if they are the pre-packaged low-end dogs. Put them over a high flame and don’t turn them until they are black-n-crispy. Throw it in a bun with some ketchup (yes Chicago I said ketchup). Some brands burn better than others so don’t burn‘em all until you’ve tried at least one.
A word on Buns: Take a little time and effort to toast your buns; it’s definitely worth it. First melt some butter on your side-burner or in your microwave (Olive oil will work as well), then brush the buns with butter, place buns directly on the grill grates for about 2 minutes, turn and remove after another 2 minutes.
One Step Beyond Ordinary: Here are a few simple ways to make a plain old dog a little tastier.
Butterfly Cut Them: This is the act of cutting a hot dog almost in half and splitting it open. It allows you to get a grilled crust on the meat inside and gets you a different flavor profile.
Sauce‘em: Coat the dogs with your favorite barbecue sauce and let the sauce cook into them (for natural casing dogs you will need to inject the sauce). Another BBQ option: Thoroughly cook the wieners then slice into discs, then add the discs to a bowl of warm barbecue sauce add toothpicks and you have a great cheap appetizer. In the mood for Mexican food? Coat your dogs with taco sauce before cooking and serve with salsa and nacho cheese.
Toppings: A plain old ordinary Hot Dog can easily be turned into a gourmet treat by your topping selection (not just condiments). This is a question of taste, mix and match these until you find what suites you best. When you are serving guests, the wider variety of toppings you offer them the more likely they are to enjoy their meal.
Condiments Basic: These are the cornerstones to the wiener world and you probably have them in your fridge already. Ketchup, Mustard Yellow, Mustard Brown (Stadium Brand preferably), relish and diced onions, when having guests this is the bare minimum selection that should be offered.
Toppings Basic: A step above condiments, but a step below specialty dogs. This category includes: Chili, Cheese, Grilled onions and/or peppers, Sauerkraut, and Cole Slaw. Hell in Chicago they put an entire salad on them so nothing is off-limits.
Or you can top a burger with them.
About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member.
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