How to Cook the Perfect Hot Dog
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.
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
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.
Technically 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 Broil
Direct 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.
Compared 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.