Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: August 24, 2022

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 get your hot dogs to taste like baseball games and your childhood summers.

Quick Summary

  • Thaw your hotdogs in the refrigerator overnight to ensure your hotdogs are at room temperature before grilling.
  • Grill your hotdogs for 3 to 5 minutes per side at 325°F to 375°F.
  • Dress your buns with a relish or salsa.

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].

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

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 into 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 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 the 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

A gas grill is a quick and easy option to achieve a perfectly cooked-though but supple and juicy hot dog!

Preheat the grill to a temperature of 325°F to 350°F or opt for a hotter grill (375°F) for a crispy skin. Do not go too hot as the sausages may burst or char completely!

Once the gas grill reaches the desired temperature, spray the grill grates with a non-stick solution and place the sausages on the grill for three to five minutes for a standard frank.

Alternatively, remove the hot dogs from the grill when they reach an internal temperature of 140°F.

Stovetop Grilled Hot Dogs

Top view of pan on a stove

If you do not own a gas 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 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 sausages, tent them, and grill your buttered buns slightly (about 30 seconds) before enjoying your hot dogs with your favorite toppings.

Grilling Hot Dogs In The Oven

If all else fails, pop your hot dogs in the oven!

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 sausages 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, hot dogs are 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 grill marks on your dogs, 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 buns and place them face down on the grill to lightly toast for a minute.

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

Read More: Grilling Bratwurst

Conclusion

Fortunately, hot dogs are straightforward to prepare and perfect for any festive occasion. Grill the sausages on a charcoal grill or open fire to add a delicious smoky flavor for the tastiest results.

See our review on ButcherBox, a meat delivery service company that produces only the best meats including hot dogs.

So, the next time your family places you on grill duty, surprise them with yummy hot dogs cooked to perfection!


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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