Regardless of its origins—which we’ve discussed here before–the hotdog-in-a-bun is a true-blue American tradition. What could be better than biting into a freshly grilled red hot at the ball park on a sunny spring afternoon? Or even the anticipatory aroma of franks on the campfire on a chilly autumn night? Makes your mouth water just thinking about it…
Having said that, you obviously may not have a grill or an open fire available every time you want to enjoy a delicious ‘dog. Never fear: there’s more than one great way to cook up your favorite treat. Check out a few of these questions people commonly ask about the best way of preparing a hot dog.
Do All Hot Dogs Come Precooked?
Here in the US, yes; all packaged hot dogs come precooked. Technically speaking, you’re actually reheating hot dogs, not actually cooking them … which is why some people feel it’s OK eat their links straight from the package. We don’t think it’s a good idea: ready-to-eat foods like hot dogs can become contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes after they’ve been processed and packaged.
What’s the Best Way Cook a Hot Dog?
Make no mistake: the grill is just about the perfect way to cook a hot dog that is not overdone but is thoroughly heated for safety’s sake. It should take about five minutes, starting with a two-minute initial grilling, then turning ¼ turn and cooking for a minute until you’ve hit all four sides.
Can You Cook Hot Dogs on a Stove?
As we mentioned, though, sometimes grilling is not an option, so you may have to drop back and punt if you really have the craving. That’s fine: technology isn’t inherently good or evil; it’s simply a tool. The important thing is getting to the eating, right?
Boiling is one of the simplest ways to cook hot dogs on a standard kitchen stove. Get yourself a big pot of water and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Drop in as many links as long as you can fit in the pan. Cooking times can vary (check packaging for more info) but usually five minutes or so will result in a well-cooked, bun-ready frank.
What about Cooking Hot Dogs in a Skillet?
Boiling may be the easiest method, but no one said it produced the most flavorful results. For a dog with a little more snap, try using a frying pan. Get your skillet hot over medium heat, then add a dollop of butter or a splash of EVOO. Cut some shallow slashes across the lengths of your (to prevent bursting), then fry until they’re nice and brown—usually about five minutes. Remember to turn every minute or so to ensure even cooking.
Any Other Indoor Cooking Methods?
If you’re lucky enough to have a flat top griddle in your kitchen, you’ve got a ready-made way to cook your hot dogs. It works in much the same way as cooking on a griddle or frying pan. Make sure the temperature is between 320° – 400° (F) to cook thoroughly and quickly. An electric griddle or skillet will work, too. The cook time may vary, though; be sure to check the owner’s manual and the hot dog package for instructions.
How Do You Know When a Hot Dog is Done?
This totally depends on which cooking method you’re using. For boiling, you’ll know they’re cooked when they have visibly plumped up: small splits in the skin are a sure sign that your hotdog is done. If you’re using a griddle or skillet, you’ll also be looking for that plumpness, but you should watch for browning and crisping of the outer skin, as well. Be careful of overcooking (bleah!).