Best Way to Cook a Hot Dog: Tips and Tricks
Hot dogs have got to be one of the most popular treats in the world. The snappy and plump sausage and the soft bun can make for a delicious and tummy-filling treat. Most folks enjoy their hot dogs grilled. However, there are different ways you can cook the sausage. Here is the best way to cook a hot dog and a few other tips and tricks.
Pick the Best Hot Dog
If you want to learn how to cook a perfect hot dog, then you should always start with the best sausage. Unfortunately, this is not easy. There are so many kinds and brands of the sausage on the market that can make picking the right one challenging.
While it is easy to pick the biggest and fattest hot dogs you can find, we do not recommend going down this route. Making hot dogs should not make you regret eating it afterwards. Large-sized sausages can double up on everything. You will have more calories, more fats, and more sodium to worry about.
For example, a jumbo-sized hot dog can net you about 240 calories and 670 milligrams of sodium. It also contains about 8 grams of unhealthy saturated fats. This already accounts for about 36 percent of your dietary allowance. This is only the sausage itself. There are calories, fats, and sodium in your toppings, too.
So, what are the best hot dogs? Your standard-sized sausage should do fine. It would also be wise to get those with “uncured” in their labels. Some people think that these do not contain preservatives. As a matter of fact, they do. The only difference with “cured” ones is that they do not have nitrites as preservatives. Instead, manufacturers use natural preservatives like celery.
There are also hot dogs with lower amounts of sodium. It is best to pick a hot dog that contains no more than 370 milligrams of sodium per piece. Other hot dogs that are ideal for you include those that contain organic ingredients. And if you want a nutritious sausage to use in your hot dog cooking adventures, then you can opt for a veggie dog.
Make Sure to Get a Hot Dog Internal Temperature of 155-Degrees Fahrenheit
The best tasting hot dogs are those that have an internal temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also play it safe within 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If the internal temperature exceeds 160, you can get a sausage that is dry and bursting. If the temperature is lower than 140 degrees Fahrenheit, you will have a spongy hot dog with a bland or muted flavor.
Poach and Grill Your Hot Dog
Different people will have their respective versions on how to cook a hot dog. Some will grill it while others will put it in a broiler. Others will steam or sauté it. However, there is a much better way that can guarantee you the best hot dogs all the time, every time.
This is a two-step method that involves gentle poaching and grilling of the sausage. You can then use the sausage for the best hot dog recipe that you have in mind.
Start heating water in a saucepan until you get about 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches the ideal temperature, lower the heat. Put your hot dogs in the hot water for them to warm up. This should take about 10 minutes. If the water temperature gets too hot, you can put a few ice cubes.
It is obvious that poaching your sausages will not give you sexy and appealing hot dogs. The color looks drab. You do not have that classic sear. You also do not have the smoky goodness of grilled dogs. This is where the second step to this hot dog cooking method comes in.
Fire up your grill to the highest possible heat setting. Slap your dogs on the grill to get that nice char. A few seconds should give it the characteristic burn lines. Be very careful not to overdo it. Remove the dogs as soon as you see a change in their color. This helps preserve the juiciness of the sausages.
An alternative will be to broil it. In this method, it is best to place the broiler tray as far away from the heating element as possible. You can then broil the sausages for a few minutes until you get that characteristic char.
The beauty of this method of how to cook a hot dog is that it retains the juiciness and plumpness of the sausages. It also provides you with that lovely char and smoky flavor that you want in the best hot dog recipe. This is how to cook a perfect hot dog.
Grill the Perfect Hot Dog
Not many people may like the two-step method we shared with you above. If you are one of these folks, then you may want to grill the perfect hot dog.
This is perfect for adding great flavors as well as the fantastic grill marks we all love. The best way to cook a hot dog on a grill is by adhering to the indirect method. This involves positioning the sausages in an area of the grill not directly over the heating element. The heating element can be live charcoal or a gas burner.
If you are using a gas burner, make sure to position the sausages on an area that is outside the gas burner. There should be no heat directly underneath the sausages. The same is true for charcoal grill. Placing the hot dogs on one side of the charcoal grill is best. There should be no live coals underneath the sausages.
Also position the sausages on the grill at an angle to get nice grill marks. Grill the sausages for about a minute on each side. If you want a crispier casing, you can place the sausages over direct heat for about 4 to 5 seconds. It should be enough to make the outer casing crispy without drying the interior.
Microwave a Good Sausage for a Quick Snack
Grilling can give you sumptuous hot dogs in about 5 minutes or so. This does not include prepping the grill, of course. If you are in a hurry, then there is always the microwave that you can turn to. It is not the best way for making hot dogs. However, it can be a very convenient and very fast way to enjoy your sausage treat.
If you are going to reheat a single piece of hot dog, then you can microwave it on high for about 45 seconds. Wrap the sausage on a paper towel first before putting it in the microwave. Right after 45 seconds, check if it still needs additional cooking. You can then microwave it again in increments of 15 seconds until you get the desired level of doneness.
Adhere to the 40+20 rule if you are microwaving multiple hot dogs. This requires you to observe 40 seconds of cooking time for the first sausage and 20 seconds of cooking time for each additional sausage. So, if you are microwaving 5 pieces of hot dogs, then you should microwave it for about 120 seconds or 2 minutes. That is 40+20+20+20+20 seconds. Place the sausages on a microwave-safe dish. Cover the hot dogs with paper towel.
Cook Your Hot Dogs in a Slow Cooker
There is another way you can make delicious hot dogs, especially if you are going to serve it to a large number of people. It is perfect for tailgating and for large gatherings. You can cook as many as 60 regular-sized hot dogs on a 6-quart cooker.
Do not add any water in the cooker when making hot dogs in this manner. Doing so can split the casings. This can remove the flavor of the sausages. It is best to cook them as is. The natural moisture in these sausages will be enough to turn into steam and cook the hot dogs from within.
The only issue with this method is that it takes a long time to cook. If you set the crock pot on high, you can cook the hot dogs in 2 hours. Set it to low and you will lengthen the cooking time to 4 hours.
Pan Fry Your Hot Dogs
One of the most flavorful ways on how to cook a hot dog is by pan frying. This is more of a misnomer, since the actual process does not involve the use of cooking oil. It is a lot similar to steaming. The only difference is that you will be using a skillet instead of a pot.
Fill a skillet with water to about an inch deep. Bring the water to a boil before adding the sausages. Let the water evaporate. Sear the sides of the hot dogs before serving. An alternative is to put butter in the skillet once the water has evaporated. This will give the sausages a better sear.
Roast Your Hot Dogs in the Oven
This is a hot dog cooking technique that is almost similar to grilling in terms of flavor. The good thing about this is that there is no need to prepare the grill. One needs to get the oven heated to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit before putting the hot dogs, however.
Place the sausages in a rimmed baking pan. Make sure to line the pan with aluminum foil. Bake the sausages for about 10 to 15 minutes. You can also listen to the characteristic sizzle as the hot dogs cook.
Roast Your Sausages Over a Campfire
You can also roast your sausages over a campfire. This is perfect if you are camping or picnicking. The best way to do it is by using a roasting fork with a telescoping handle. This will provide you excellent reach over the fire without getting burned.
An alternative method is to use a grilling basket. You can roast multiple hot dogs at the same time using this contraption. The only problem is that such gadgets do not have telescoping handles. As such, you should be ready with open fire grilling gloves.
Roasting the sausages over a campfire will only take about 2 to 4 minutes to cook.
Boiling the Best Hot Dogs
Boiling hot dogs in water can give you a bland sausage. To address this, you may want to infuse the water with other flavors. Try beer or soda instead of plain water. You can also add herbs and spices in the water. Once boiling, you can add your sausages and cook it for about 6 minutes.
Steam Your Hot Dogs
Steaming is a much better alternative to boiling. Unfortunately, it does not impart that characteristic char and flavor that you can get from pan frying or grilling. Steaming hot dogs is easy. All you need is to boil water in a pot. Place a steamer basket and steam the hot dogs for about 5 to 6 minutes.
There are different ways on how to cook a perfect hot dog. Everything depends on how much time and effort you can allot to the process before you can enjoy the best hot dog recipe.