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Mar 17, 2007 06:31 PM

Cooking hot dogs for a crowd

Will someone please let me know a good way to cook hot dogs for 75-100 people, keeping them hot without boiling in water?

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  1. I used a grill! Did a big BBQ at a park. Used their grill. No problem. If you don't have that available, well... oven, stove, BBQ or fire pit?? Then, I would go to a place like Smart and Final which sells portable/disposable hot servers - the kind for buffets that have a sterno you light at the bottom of the server. This will keep them hot.

    1. Cook: anyway you want or can, including boiling.

      Keep warm: KQ is right, some kind of sterno heated server (unless you want to go third world with a glass box and a light bulb!).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Sam, you will find Sterno in the "third world" far more readily than you will find electric powere and remote light sockets.

        1. re: FrankJBN

          Took you a year to come up with that reply? Actually, I've never found sterno in years in Asia and years in Colombia. Course, I haven't really looked. The glass box and lightbulb set up is ubiquitous, however.

      2. Do you think grilling on a B-B-Q grill and then keeping warm in crock pots would work?

        6 Replies
        1. re: sdurand

          Crock pot would probably work but, have you one big enuf to store enuf dogs for 100 people? I like the sterno servers 'cuz it's easy access. Crock pots are good for one or two people at a time. Unless of course you have several to use. If so, you might want to put a bit o' H20 at the bottom. This will create a little steam and keep the dog ends from burning and rubbering up. Remember that dogs are almost cooked anyway. They don't need much! :)KQ

          1. re: sdurand

            Very cool idea! Thinking outside of the box. Have you tried it? If not, I will. Thank you.

            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              I like your idea of the glass box and light bulb!....Now, that's thinking outside the box. Reminds me of how our resident boa liked to live. Her name was Cassandra! And, no she didn't like hot dogs. Little white mice were her preferred meal.

            2. re: sdurand

              If your primary concern is food safety, sure. Food quality, not so much - being in a closed, warm environment is not great for keeping the nice surface char you get on the barbecue. If you were just heating the dogs in some kind of sticky sauce it would work better. (And if we had a few more details on the kitchen setup at the event, it would be easier to help - do you have a grill available at the site, or a stove?)

              1. re: sdurand

                I don't know if it's my crock pot being too hot (even on warm setting) but I tried this and if you leave the hotdogs in for a longer period of time, they plump...a lot. Then when you take them out, they deflate to a shriveled hard hot dog.

                But, if you used water on the bottom, as suggested, and put the hot dogs on a wire mesh above it, I wonder if that would work.

                1. re: chowser

                  Hot dogs with skin on will puff up and crack or shrivel, even turn greenish, if held over 20 minutes, but skinless can be held a long time.

              2. Last time I had to do this, we rented a hot dog machine from a party rental place. Can't remember the cost. Seems to me it was less then $50. But it was really neat. For that many people you'll proably need to plan about 2 per person anyway so that's a lot of wieners. We had a chafing dish to keep the buns warm, small crock pot for chili, and a fixings bar.

                5 Replies
                1. re: MakingSense

                  MS, gee...two per person?? I would think five per.

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    I've rented a small hot dog cart from a rental place. It was a mini version of a hot dog street cart painted in bright red and yellow. Instead of "dirty water" it had those roller cooker things and several hot pans for onions, chili, sauerkraut, etc. And they even sold me squeeze bottles to put ketchup and mustard in. I think it was in the same price range about $50 for the day.

                    1. re: JMF

                      Like this? If you live on Long Island, I could lend this one to you, comes in real handy for our annual block party! It's a four part steam table so I kept chili and onions in two of the compartments too. But to my surprise, the hot dogs went so fast you almost didn't need to keep them hot, I could hardly serve them fast enough.

                      1. re: coll

                        @Coll ~ Do you rent hotdog carts? I am looking for one for our VBS this summer at Neighborhood Assembly of God in Bellmore

                        1. re: SMR2003

                          You can rent them from Marathon who are the distributors for Sabrett. Whatever it costs for the day, they throw you some free hot dogs and condiments, and deliver it to the site. When I posted this picture, they used to lend them out to groups for free, but those days are gone. They have table top models and also the big ones like in the city.

                 Here's their website. Email me if you need any help talking to them.

                  2. At our company picnic last year I took my large electric roaster, filled it with hot water about 4 inches, put a disposable foil pan inside with a few holes in the bottom and loaded it up. Steamed them to perfection in no time. Plus, when I turned it down to low, kept them warm without drying out. Easy cleanup too.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: chelleyd01

                      Hi, your idea seems the best for me. I am running an event for Opening Day of baseball and it is inside an office building. How big was your electric roaster? How many hot dogs would fit? Did you worry about the buns or did you go right from the package? Renting the hot dog steamer seems like a neat idea also but I worry about timing. Last year we went through 400 hot dogs. Any advice would be great. We have about 4 of those electric pancake griddles but I don't think hot dogs should be prepared that way.

                      1. re: loukdogg

                        Our picnic was at an outdoor water park in one of the pavillions. I have a big white Hamilton Beach roaster that goes from "low" to 450 degrees. It holds ALOT. The hot dogs went so fast I wasnt interested in jerking around steaming buns and whatnot. People just grabbed them out of the bag. We had a crock pot of spicy chili, onions, relish, ketchup and mustard and hot pickles. I think there were 2 hot dogs left and we had 70 employees plus all of their families.

                        I entertained the hot dog rental nonsense. No thanks. Alot of pick up, set up, cleanup, rental fees, returning immediately blah blah blah. Throw out foil roasting pan. Remove insert and dump water. Swish with hot water and Dawn. Take home. Done.

                      2. re: chelleyd01

                        hello! i love your roaster idea - i need to have a lot of hot dogs for a youth group event... i was wondering - did you put the disposable foil pan right side up where the hot dogs sat in it and the water that came thru the holes, or was it upside down so they sat on top of the foil pan, getting kind of steamed thru the holes?

                        thx so much!

                        1. re: kiramarie

                          While I'm not chelleyd01, I would guess that in order to hold enough hotdogs, the pan would have to be right side up. If you do not wish the water to come up from the bottom, put some kind of rack underneath, or alternatively, if you don't have a rack of the correct size, several butter knives from your kitchen would do the trick.

                          The point I wished to make was for the OP. If one does not wish to have boiled or steamed hotdogs, you could cook them on a grill ahead of time and put them in the foil pan as described above to keep them hot.