How Long to Grill Hot Dogs? (Time & Temperature Guide)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: December 4, 2023

Baseball games and hot dogs go together like coffee and cream this quintessentially American paring is simply genius!

However, nothing is as disappointing as stepping away from the grill for a few minutes and returning to pitch-black wieners. We continue to make a wide range of simplistic mistakes that lead to a pretty disappointing hot dog.

Well, say goodbye to horrible meat blisters and hot dogs burnt to the char! Instead, it’s the perfect time and place to learn how to cook frankfurters, cheese grillers, and all the other hot dog varieties.

So, continue reading to cook hot dogs and make them taste something like baseball games and your childhood summers.

Quick Summary

  • Grilling hot dogs involves thawing them to room temperature, then grilling for 3 to 5 minutes per side at 325°F to 375°F.
  • The ideal grilling temperature varies with the method used, such as charcoal grill, gas grill, stovetop, or oven.
  • Dressing the hot dog bun with relish or salsa adds flavor to the grilled hot dogs.

How To Prepare Your Hot Dogs For Grilling?

Close up of hot dogs

For the ultimate gourmet hot dog, it’s best to grill hot dog meat at room temperature; this will ensure that your franks cook evenly.

The last thing you want is to serve your guests a half-hot half cold frankfurter!

Popping frozen hot dogs straight onto the grill is a slightly controversial topic theoretically, they are already cooked.

However, according to the FDA, packaged hot dogs can become contaminated with harmful bacteria like Listeria, which can only die when you reheat the dogs properly [1].

For an even more remarkable experience, consider sourcing your hot dogs from ButcherBox, a provider known for their commitment to quality meats.

The challenge with frozen dogs is to warm the hot dogs to the middle without burning the outside.

The sausages tend to become dry on the inside and over-crispy or burnt outside from overcooking them.

If your hot dogs are frozen, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. While it may take longer for the franks to thaw in the fridge, it is safest as it prevents bacterial growth [2].

However, you can place the hot dogs into a Ziploc bag and submerge them in cold water until they defrost.

More so, you can pop your franks into the microwave as a last resort; however, this method can strip hot dog sausages like cheese grillers of their yummy juices.

So, while preparing the barbecue, keep your hot dog sausages on a tray at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Room temperature sausages will reduce your cooking time while ensuring the hot dogs are thoroughly cooked on the inside with perfectly crispy outsides.

The Ideal Temperature And Time To Grill Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are already pre-cooked or smoked, so they don’t need to spend as much time on the grill as their counterpart proteins: pork chops, steak, chicken, or ribs.

It’s critical to nail the cooking temperature when grilling your perfect hot dogs; they do not need to be on the grill for long, or else they burn.

Various grilling techniques require similar but slightly different temperatures and times to grill them to perfection.

METHOD TEMPERATURE TIME
Charcoal Grill 325°F to 375°F 3 to 5 minutes per side
Gas Grill 325°F to 375°F 3 to 5 minutes per side
Stovetop 350°F to 375°F 2 minutes per side
Oven 375°F to 400°F 2 to 3 minutes per side

We’ll shortly discuss each method.

Grilling Hot Dogs On The Charcoal Grill

Lit charcoal

A charcoal grill or fire is the best way to cook hot dogs, ensuring intense flavor with a slightly smoky or char taste from the grill marks.

Unlike a gas grill, a charcoal grill requires a degree of manual input to control the temperature. Therefore, you’ll want to create two separate heating zones to roast the sausages first and then allow them to cook on a lower heat for the remaining time.

To test the grill temperature, use the “hand test.”

Hold your outstretched palm over the cooking grate; you should be able to hold your hand an inch or two above the coals for three to four seconds for the ideal medium heat or 350°F to 375°F to slightly char the outside of the sausage.

If you prefer to cook the hot dogs on medium-low heat for a classic, supple frank, you should be able to hold the palm of your hand over the grill for five to seven seconds to achieve a temperature of 325°F to 350°F.

Once three-fourths of your coals have gray ash covering, spread them on the bottom of the grate.

Next, pile up the charcoal to one side of the grill to create a higher and lower heat zone.

Place the hot dogs on the grill on the side with the piled coals for one minute, and then cook the hot dogs for about three to five minutes on each side on the side with low to medium heat this will ensure beautiful grill marks and a hot dog cooked all the way through.

Hot Dogs On The Gas Grill

To grill hot dogs to perfection using a gas grill, preheat it between 325°F and 350°F for a juicy finish, or up to 375°F for a crispy skin.

Avoid extreme heat to prevent bursting or charring. Spray the grill grates with a non-stick solution, and grill hot dogs over direct heat for three to five minutes.

For the best hot dog recipes, ensure an internal temperature of 140°F before serving.

Using products like those from Coleman Natural Foods, and alternating between direct and indirect heat can further enhance your grilling experience.

Stovetop Grilled Hot Dogs

Top view of pan on a stove

If you do not own a grill or you’ve run out of charcoal, you can prepare the hot dogs on your stovetop.

Unfortunately, the sausages will lack the smoky flavor, but they’ll still be mouth-watering and equally tasty!

You can steam and sear the sausages or cut to the chase and only sear them.

Preheat the stove to medium-high heat and preferably use a cast-iron skillet or griddle.

If you’d prefer to boil the beef hot dogs first, add water to the skillet until it reaches about ½ inch, and then allow the water to boil before adding the sausages.

Then, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan and sear the sausages, shifting them every minute or so; once the hot dogs are plump and brown on all sides.

Lastly, remove the beef hot dogs, tent them, and grill your buttered buns slightly (about 30 seconds) before enjoying your grilled hot dogs with your favorite toppings.

Grilling Hot Dogs In The Oven

If all else fails, grilling hot dogs in the oven is an option!

Preheat your oven to around 400°F and place the broiler or skillet in the oven while the oven heats.

When the oven reaches the perfect temperature, lower it to 325°F and cook the hot dog for two or three minutes per side to ensure that you achieve a nice brown color on each side.

Should I Frequently Turn Hot Dogs On The Grill?

Cooked hotdog sandwiches

Although the standard rule when grilling meat is not to turn the food too much, grilling hot dogs is the exception. Either grill the sausages for three to five minutes per side or keep them moving.

Frequently rotating the sausages prevents them from burning or bursting while keeping the meat moist and tender.

If you want classic marks on your grilled hot dog, place them over a hotter spot on the grill briefly, then return them to the cooler area to finish cooking through.

Dress Your Buns And Dogs

Just before your franks are fully heated and ready to remove off the grill, spread melted butter onto the hot dog bun and place them face down on the grill to lightly toast for a minute.

Then, we’re going to want to dress the hot dog up with tasty toppings like relish, mustard, salsa, and chopped onions.

Read More: Grilling Bratwurst


References: 

  1. https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/fact-or-fiction-food-safety-moms-be
  2. https://www.foodsafety.com.au/blog/four-methods-for-defrosting-food-safely
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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy Woods holds a Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from Jacksonville University and is CCC & GMU Certified. He's also the main man behind Carnivore Style. This food aficionado combines science and experience to spread the word about the carnivore lifestyle.
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