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How To Grill Hot Dogs On The Stove – The Definitive Guide

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Hot dogs, also known as frankfurters, are a popular comfort food found in abundance across the country in supermarkets, concession stands, fast food joints, and school cafeterias.

Historically known as an all-American snack, hot dogs are thought to have actually originated from the town of Frankfurt in Germany, hence the name frankfurters!

They are generally cooked on a grill or over an open fire, which is a great summertime activity for many families, especially during peak hot dog season, aka from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

However, for times when you don’t have access to the above and don’t feel like heading out, you can also grill them on the stove and get that scrumptious char that makes them so irresistible.

So, how do you grill hot dogs on the stove? Start by placing a pan over medium heat and pouring a thin layer of water into the bottom of the pan. Once the water boils, place the hot dogs in and cook until the water evaporates. Then, place a pad of butter in and continue to cook the hot dogs on all sides until they’re done.

Read on to find out the step-by-step process on how to grill hot dogs on a stove and other great ways to prepare them for an inexpensive, yet delicious meal!

How To Grill Hot Dogs On The Stove

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to grill perfect hot dogs on a stove without them turning soggy, lacking in flavor, or seizing up and becoming firm:

  • Heat the pan over medium heat and cover it with a thin layer of water, barely enough to cover half of it.
  • Bring the water up to a boil.
  • Next, make a few diagonal cuts on the hot dogs using a knife and put them on the heated pan. This little trick will prevent them from puffing up when cooking.
  • Allow the hot dogs to steam as the water boils off completely.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter for each hot dog and cook them for about 1 minute before turning them 90 degrees. Repeat the process three times, allowing all sides to cook for 1 minute.
  • During this process, the hot dogs will start to blister and change in color, similar to how they would on a grill or open fire.

After that, your hot dogs will be ready to be placed in buns. Don’t be too concerned if all the sides are not the same shade of brown. You may use your choice of buns and butter them for added flavor.

Spread a little butter on the inside part of the buns and place them on the pan, buttered side down. Turn the stove to medium-low and leave them for 2 minutes.

The final step is the simplest and the most fun since you can get creative and add in whatever toppings you want. Some of the most popular choices include mustard, ketchup, onions, chili, coleslaw, relish, and pickles.

Is Grilling The Best Way To Cook Hot Dogs?

Although grilling gives your hot dogs a great smoky flavor, it is not the only way you can cook them. Is it the best way? Well, that is debatable and very much dependent on your personal preference.

Grilling can be a little difficult, especially if you do not know your way around it.

It is difficult to regulate the heat which results in scorching on the outside before the inside of the hot dog can reach the right temperature, and no one likes blackened, dried-out hot dogs.

Using the microwave is another common method used by many people when preparing a quick hot dog fix at home and, though it’s fast, it is not the best way to go about cooking them.

Microwaves distribute heat unevenly, which could result in one end of the hot dog at a different temperature than the other.

Other methods of cooking hot dogs include poaching, roasting, broiling, steaming, and sauteing, all of which are far better than using the microwave.

Can You Poach Hot Dogs?

Poaching at a fixed temperature is one of the best and easiest ways to cook hot dogs. The method uniformly warms them at 155°F, and what you get is juicy, succulent, and delicious hot dogs.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to poach hot dogs without needing to use a sous vide machine:

  • Heat some water in a saucepan over high heat until it gets to around 150°F-155°F. Use a thermometer to occasionally measure the temperature.
  • Once the right temperature has been reached, lower the heat. If the water gets too hot, add a few ice cubes to regulate it.
  • Put the hot dogs in the saucepan and let them warm up for 10 minutes, after which they will be at the perfect temperature.
  • The hot dogs are ready to be put into buns and eaten with your favorite toppings and condiments. 

The only problem is that with poaching, there is no color, smoke, or seared surface. In short, they look unappealing.

What can be done then? You can cook your hot dogs using a two-step process that involves poaching and grilling.

Once the hot dogs are poached, you can place them on the grill for a few seconds to give them that much sought-after color.

Since the hot dogs are already at the right temperature, you just need to throw them on the grill for mere seconds. Just make sure the grill is operating at a high temperature when you do so

As soon as you see them getting a nice char, remove them from the grill before they get the chance to dry out. The result is perfect hot dogs that are juicy and plump from the poaching and lightly charred from the grilling.

How To Cook Hot Dogs In The Oven

Oven-roasting hot dogs is a great alternative to grilling since it allows you to retain all the yummy juices inside while browning them like you would on a grill.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get the perfect oven-roasted hot dogs:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Take a casserole dish, roasting pan, or even a baking tray, and line it with foil for easy cleanup. Make sure whatever utensil you use has a rim for catching the juices.
  • Place the hot dogs on the tray and keep them in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Keep an eye on the hot dogs and take them out as soon as you see them beginning to brown and curl a little.
  • For extra crispiness, you can turn on the broiler.
  • Take them out of the oven and serve as per your liking.

Related questions

Now that you know about the best ways to cook hot dogs, let’s discuss a few related questions you may have about them.

Are hot dogs and sausages the same?

A hot dog is a sausage but a sausage is not always a hot dog. What this means is that a hot dog is an American adoption of the German sausage, frankfurter, and wiener, and is a huge part of American culture.

A sausage, on the other hand, is a generic term used for a combination of processed meat, spices, seasonings, fat, and preservatives shaped like a tube.

Some of the common types of sausages include American hot dogs, kielbasa (smoked sausage), Italian sausage (salami), mortadella, and blood sausages.

How do you properly store hot dogs?

Hot dogs are available in a variety of types and sizes in almost all grocery stores around the country. One of the most common types of hot dogs are the pre-cooked ones that are vacuum-sealed and have a relatively long shelf life.

Unopened packs of hot dogs can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed before their expiration date. Once opened, they should be stored and sealed in plastic bags in the fridge and used within 3 days of opening.

If you wish to prolong their life, it is a good idea to transfer them to the freezer where they will be good for up to 6 months.

Can you freeze cooked hot dogs?

Whether you’re inviting some friends over for some grilled hot dogs or having a nice picnic at the park, there are usually leftovers, especially if you’ve cooked them in large quantities.

What can you do to preserve them? Can you freeze cooked hot dogs? Luckily, you can. Cooked hot dogs freeze really well and maintain their full flavor for up to 4 months.

The trick here is to wrap them properly in airtight bags or containers to prevent air from entering and causing freezer burn, which can impact the texture of the hot dog.

The cooked hot dogs must be frozen within 2 hours of cooking to avoid any potential bacterial growth that may cause food-borne illnesses when they are thawed and served.

It is important to note that freezing foods does not kill bacteria, but it does prevent them from spreading. Therefore, make sure to not leave the cooked hot dogs out for too long before putting them in the freezer.

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