HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


How to Cook a Hot Dog?

  • s

What is the best way to cook a hot dog (other than boiling YUCK!)? I'd love to make mine either taste like those at the ball park or the ones from the "dirty water wagons" of New York?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I like grilling them, or slice almost in half and fry it butterflied in a bit of butter in a fry pan or griddle (a la walters in mamaroneck), but best of all I like to stick them on a fork or skewer and roast over the flame on my stove until barely charred. Some Nathans mustard, maybe some homemade spicy onion sauce, and a toasted bun.

    12 Replies
    1. re: the rogue

      This isn't the best way, but I think the Rogue (My Limerick/Haiku buddy) will appreciate this.

      My 18 year old son has a hot dog for breakfast nearly every day of his life and has for many years. Oscar Meyer All Beef, no less.

      He nukes it in the microwave for 60 seconds. It splits open and practically explodes. He eats it plain with a paper napkin wrapped around it.

      Sometimes it's hard to believe he can do this at 6:00 a.m. every day. Ouch!!!

      1. re: Ciaohound

        I was going to chime in on the microwaving technique -- please note, you can do them directly in the bun by putting dog on bun, wrapping in one paper towel and zapping for 60 seconds. The bun gets steamed by the dog, the dog stays a little bit protected and everyone's happy. Very very tasty.

        1. re: yumyum
          David Hammmond

          Yum Yum,

          Mic the dog and bun, in one. What a genius solution! So easy, so obvious. This is the way I will prepare my Chicago Dog forever more. Really. No kidding. Thanks.

          1. re: David Hammmond

            Different brands of hot dogs take to
            different cooking techniques
            re Sabrett natural casing taste better
            dirty water style
            Sabrett no casings taste better on the bbq
            Nathans on the griddle
            Ballpark brand boiled
            just some of my personal preferences
            conclusion: There's just not any set way
            to cook hot dogs

          2. re: yumyum

            Agree, but I think 30 secs will do it and the bun doesn't toughen.

            1. re: MazDee

              When I was a teenager, I had the system down. Put the hotdog in the bun and roll up in a paper napkin. 30 seconds for the first hotdog and 15 additional seconds for each additional dog/bun. I used to get mad that they sold hotdogs in packages of 12 but buns in quantities of 8. I had to use 1.5 packages of buns!

            2. re: yumyum

              better idea ...grab a paper towel or two, wrap it around the Weiner (you can do more than one to save time, just make sure you have thicker paper towel)--making sure its covering it completely, then get it wet by running the tap over the length of the Weiner, not to wet but just enough that the paper towel is wet all over (no white)...and then nuke it in the microwave on a small plate, for 30 seconds to a minute...i prefer it heated longer, as the steaming (from the wet paper towel) makes it taste better. Plus, the water/steam method decreases the 'deformity' of the weiner, which a microwave is known to do if you nuke it alone./
              take out the Weiner(s) when done and I tend to dry them with a dry paper towel, in an effort to hopefully dabble some excess moisture and fat off (as if it makes a diff) and you should have amazing hotdog stand like weiners.
              of course make sure to be close to te microwave, the paper towel is wet so there shouldn't be a fire threat but you can never be too careful.
              i do the buns in a toaster oven while the weiners are being made and then the weiner will heat the inside of the bun (which tends to get neglected if you don't open it--which I don't cause then usually you end up with the top and bottom bun parts separating. anyways, enjoy!

          3. re: the rogue

            Rogue - I couldn't believe my eyes when I read your two methods for cooking hot dogs. Butterflying them and frying them in butter or holding them on a fork over the gas grill on the stovetop. Those are the two ways I loved to cook them in my youth. I haven't done either in years. The butter way has too many calories and the "hold on a fork over the gas fire" makes a mess of my stovetop. But, you know what? I think I might just try both ways again! Thanks for the memories, Rogue!!!!

            P.S. What's your favorite brand of dog?

            1. re: AnnMcL

              Jumping in here... long, skinny, snappy Sabrett's!

              1. re: SisterT

                Sabrett's are great but my market only carries "skinless" - I like the snap of natural casing. Do you get your Sabrett's with casing or without?

                (Lately, I've been buying Boar's Head long, skinny dogs with natural casing but they're not as spicy as I'd like.)

                1. re: AnnMcL

                  With. My store doesn't carry them either way so I found an online company that sells them.

                  Link: http://www.foodsofnewyork.com/hotdogs...

              2. re: AnnMcL

                Loeffler's in Trenton. When I was a kid we used to eat them right out of the package cold, they were so good.

            2. If you want to have a hot dog identical to the N.Y. street dog (dirty water dog) get a natural casing Sabrett and boil it. They are available in many A&P's in Jersey where I get mine. However, these dogs are much better grilled. The Sabrett you can get in the store w/casing comes 8 to a lb or 6 to .75/lb which is the same thing. This is the exact same dog served at Katz's. The ones at Papaya King and Gray's are 10 to a lb. These dogs are slow cooked on a griddle, and are preferable to the boiled ones.

              Another great brand newly available in Jersey is Dietz and Watson all beef New York Brand Wiener. For a less spicy pork/beef dog, try Thumann's

              Thumann's makes a special dog for deep frying. However, this is only available through a distributor. It is a great dog; the same one used at Rutt's Hut, Hiram's, Libby's, the Goffle Grill, and the old Eagan's in N.J. and Crif Dogs in N.Y.

              1 Reply
              1. re: John Fox

                Seconding the deepfry method. I generally use Miller's and let 'em rip away. Not at work though; I just use the flattop there. With some not-too-sweet vidalia relish, and kraut and mustard. Oy. Hungry now.

              2. If you asked Germans, you could get quite a dissertation on the appropriate cooking methods for various wursts, as detailed as Italians discussing which sauces go with which types of pastas.

                Frankfurters are classically panfried gently (remember, real frankfurters have a skin, which dictates against harsh cooking), rather than poached (as opposed to boiled too vigorously) or grilled, though there is of course no law against those either. The butterflying technique is virtually canonical with certain types (like the justly famous red and white hots of western NY state).

                2 Replies
                1. re: Karl S.

                  Yes but remember. Hot dogs aren't just frankfurters... they are an American hybid.

                  1. re: Karl S.

                    When cooking them myself, I'm down with the "panfried gently" method ever since sampling the great dogs at Charlie's Pool Room in Alpha, NJ. When out & about, I can appreciate all the other types, but this has become my go-to method of preparation.

                  2. At home, I like 'em grilled, which is unlike either the ballpark or the dirty water, but since it seems kind of a waste to fire up the goals for a hot dog, I generally end up tossing them under the broiler until they're blackened a bit on the outside and sizzling hot inside.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Aaron D

                      Yes! I've taken to broiling hot dogs as well - they come out gently crisp outside, juicy inside, and they smell great while they're cooking.

                    2. I did a search on here on how to cook a hot dog and found this old thread. Nobody mentioned cooking in beer, which is one of my favorite ways- and a great way to get rid of the Miller Lite that someone left in the 'fridge!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Clarkafella

                        Reg dog cooked in beer? Hmm...
                        I like mine burnt on the grill outside, I don't *hate* boiled, just like them extra snappy with a lite char.
                        Watching Guy eat hot dogs on his show last night made me REALLY want one.

                      2. steam Pearl brand kountry klub hot dogs in apple cider until heated through. then the grill, (broiler, at least) and hit them with a little homeade bbq sauce at the end to carmelize the sugar, dont burn them! buttered and grilled top end sub roll, split the dog a little and cover with excellent coney-type chili (dont forget the beef heart in your recipe) , mustard and chopped red onion. along with ? potato or macaroni salad, real baked beans, mac an cheese, roasted red potatoes and plenty of iced tea.

                        1. im confused. you like the "dirty water" ones, but not boiled?

                          what do you think they're doing in the water? swimming?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: thew

                            They're (hopefully) slowly simmered.....never boiled.

                            1. re: grampart

                              thank you. dont boil, dont burn.

                            2. re: thew

                              They are just swimming in the hot water.
                              They aren't cooking, they're just keeping them hot. Hot dogs are already pre-cooked.
                              Leaving a hot dog "simmering" in water for more than 15 minutes would probably cook out all the fat and you'd be left with a rubbery hot dog.

                            3. A good full-flavored Sabrett can withstand poaching (for the "dirty-water" effect). Hebrew Nationals come in a close second, so far as I'm concerned.

                              My favorite hot-dogs are grilled (even better if it's the kind of grill that "rolls" the dog - a hot dog grill with rotating tubes like many hot dog restaurants use).

                              1. Make "rippers" - deep fry them. OK, I've never tried that at home ;-)

                                I prefer grilled or pan-fried with butter and olive oil. Either way, I want some good browning on the outside!

                                1. I usually boil/simmer in a little water like any other sausage or I make ‘em sweat in the steamer. And sometimes I don’t cook them at all.

                                  1. Grill it. Or pan fry it with butter

                                    1. I prefer grilled or simmered in beer.

                                      1. Okay this may sound a little gross and very fattening, but I assure you it is seriously delicious and it is not that fattening compaired to the many bad things we eat daily.

                                        Use 1/2 a tsp of morrells lard
                                        two oscar mayer original weiners
                                        two potato hot dog buns
                                        your favorite condiments (I use a spicy mustard and ketchup along with boiled suarkraut)

                                        put the 1/2 tsp of lard in a frying pan, turn your electric stove or gas stove on medium, wait until the lard is melted than add the two hot dogs. Cook on all sides until it is cooked to your crispy liking. Take out of pan and wrap each hot dog in a paper towel and press down firmly to insure all grease is out and off of your delicious snack. Toast your buns (or don't) and add your favorite toppings and ENJOY!

                                        1. Dogs cook very nicely (and quickly, and neatly) on a George Foreman grill.

                                          1. Hot dogs just aren't eaten much around here! I have to say I despise them but maybe I havent had the right brand??!! Do they contain lots of odd fillers or is that just a Canadian thing? We instead go for smokies which are like thick smoked sausages served with various homemade mustards.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: chefathome

                                              Kosher hot dogs are all beef; no filler.

                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                True. We basically have one or two kinds available here and they are borderline inedible, even to kids! I think I'm missing out. Will try some next time I'm in the U.S. I want to try good old-fashioned hot dogs.

                                            2. Steamed in a pot of Japanese Plum Wine. They'll come out with a yummy glaze.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mucho gordo

                                                Anything with a glaze wins my vote! Especially if it's an ooey-gooey sticky one.

                                              2. I will put in my vote for fried in a pan with butter over not too high a heat. Next best thing is on a grill.

                                                1. Check out this cute. funny video featuring Dietz & Watson chairperson Ruth "Momma Dietz." Apparently people are calling all the time asking how to cook a hot dog.


                                                  1. If you want that ballpark taste this is what you do. Steam the dogs till plump, and steam the buns. Butter the buns and add what ever.
                                                    Here is more detail:
                                                    Steamed hot dogs are hot and juicy but their skins retain a firm texture when done. Water is mostly used for steaming hot dogs but beer can be used instead. Steaming hot dogs is best done using a commercial steamer but using stove top steamer works very well.

                                                    If you do not have a commercial steamer a pot with a steam rack and a lid will work fine.

                                                    The steps to set up a pot for steaming hot dogs are:
                                                    • Place a grated or steaming rack into pot.
                                                    • Pour water into pot to just below the rack.
                                                    •Bring water to a boil.
                                                    • Reduce the cooking temperature to LOW.
                                                    • Cover pot with lid.
                                                    • Monitor the cooking temperature to maintain the liquid at a simmer in order to produce the steam.

                                                    Steaming hot dogs basically consists of four steps:
                                                    • Bring a steamer up to temperature.
                                                    • Place the hot dogs onto steamer rackrack and close steamer lid.
                                                    • Cook for 5 to 10 minutes for about eight hot dogs.
                                                    • Remove the hot dogs with a pair of food tongs, place hot dogs into a food warmer for holding till time to serve.

                                                    A steamer can be used to warm up and soften the hot dog buns as well. Steaming the buns also adds a unique flavor to the bun and only takes a couple of minutes to do. Do not over steam the buns or they can become very soft and mushy. One method is to steam your buns is to place them on top of the hot dogs in the last two minutes of cooking.

                                                    1. nothing like a thread from 10 years ago lol.

                                                      1. At the ball park they cook them either on a flat top or heated rollers. You can do likewise using a non-nonstick skillet or griddle on your stovetop - no oil, just crank up the heat, put the dogs in the pan, leave them there for a while (they don't use stove timers at the ball park), and turn them now and then.

                                                        For myself, I put the hot dogs on my big toaster oven's broiler pan, put it on the oven's middle shelf, push the Broil button, and wait until it beeps 10 minutes later. Haven't had any complaints yet.

                                                        1. Wish we could get natural casing Sabrett's or Nathan's in Washington, but I have to settle for skinless Nathan's. I like to cook mine in the toaster oven until they start to brown.

                                                          1. "Who put this pot (with the dogs) up to a boil??? Everyone knows you do not boil a hot dog. Period!" Ooops, it was my daughter. Still, do not boil a dog. Steam if you are in a hurry, but the best way, in my opinion, is to take your pot of boiling water off the heat, add the dogs, cover and wait 25 minutes. Done. A proper dog should nest in a steamed, top loader bun. If you know how to make "Mabel's Chili" it will be a hit. Guaranteed.