A lot of hot dog purists prefer grilled hot dogs. After all, any meat that has been kissed by fire tastes great. Well, if you know how to grill hot dogs properly!
While grilling a hot dog may seem like a simple and easy task, it can actually go wrong quickly if you don’t follow some basic rules.
With that being said, in this blog post, we’re going to reveal some of the costly and common hot dog grilling mistakes people make so that you can avoid making them.
Why should you grill hot dogs?
Before we take a look at some of the different mistakes people make when grilling hot dogs, we’re first going to reveal why grilling hot dogs is a good idea.
Ultimately, the main reason why people prefer to have grilled hot dogs is that they taste a lot better. With their light charring and deep flavor, there’s no denying that grilled hot dogs taste much more delicious when compared with boiled hot dogs.
While there’s no denying that boiled hot dogs are a lot more tender, most people find them to be bland. This is why a lot of people rely so heavily on toppings when putting together a hot dog.
Some of the biggest mistakes people make when grilling hot dogs
If you want to enjoy the most delicious hot dogs, you need to know how to grill them properly. So, let’s take a look at some of the main mistakes you need to avoid:
1. Cooking without preparing your grill
There’s only one place to begin, and this is with your grill preparation. A lot of people simply open a packet of hot dogs, throw them on the grill, and start cooking. While grilling is indeed quick and convenient, you do need to prepare your grill beforehand to ensure the best possible results.
For example, start by applying some non-stick cooking spray to your grill before you get the barbeque started. If you don’t, your hot dogs are only going to end up sticking to the grill.
Another useful tip is to pre-heat your grill for at least a few minutes before putting your hot dogs on there. This will ensure there is a more even heat, ensuring your hot dogs are cooked thoroughly and evenly all the way through.
2. Settling for cheap and low-quality hot dogs
In life, there’s a saying that you get what you pay for, and we definitely believe this is the case, particularly when it comes to food.
Just because hot dogs are quick to cook doesn’t mean that you should settle for cheap, low-quality produce. In fact, you could even argue that as hot dogs don’t require a lot of cooking, it’s even more important that you choose a quality brand.
Low-quality hot dogs are often a mixture of different meats, sodium, and preservatives. On the flip side, if you go down the high-quality route, your hot dogs will have a much higher percentage of actual meat.
Not only do premium hot dogs brands taste a lot better, but they’re healthier as well, so you can enjoy a delicious hot dog without having to feel too guilty.
3. Simply throwing your hot dogs on the grill without considering their placement
Next, you need to consider where to place your hot dog on the grill. After all, some parts of the grill are going to be warmer than others.
If the hot dogs you are cooking are small, they’re going to cook pretty fast. Because of this, we wouldn’t recommend putting your hot dogs directly over heat.
Instead, try to place hot dogs a bit adjacent to the flame instead. They will cook in a slow and even manner, which means they’ll taste incredible too.
4. Boiling the heck out of a hot dog before grilling it
There seems to be this common misconception that you should boil your hot dogs before grilling them. This is simply not the case. However, we can see how people have jumped to this conclusion.
This is because you’re advised to give your hot dogs a little moisture bath before grilling. Simply simmer the hot dogs in water for between three and five minutes.
If you feel like being a little bit more adventurous, you can simmer the hot dogs in beer, rather than water, and then put them on the grill. This is beneficial because it will make the natural casings a lot firmer, reducing the chances of your hot dogs bursting while you’re cooking them on the grill.
5. Cutting slits in your hot dogs
We often have a tendency to start wildly stabbing the produce we’re cooking or make a few slits before cooking. We’re sure you’ve seen plenty of people do this when cooking hot dogs, and you may have even got into this habit yourself. However, it’s not a good idea!
Why? Well, if you cut a slit into the meat, you’re allowing all of the amazing flavor of the meat to escape.
As hot dogs tend to be pre-cooked, cooking them thoroughly is not a necessity.
If you want to find a way of cooking your hot dogs in a more even manner, it’s a better idea to simply prick a few tiny holes into the hot dogs using your fork instead. These surface holes are beneficial because they enable the steam beneath the casing to escape.
6. Cooking hot dogs that haven’t fully defrosted yet
We know, we know… it can be very frustrating when you’ve taken hot dogs out of the freezer earlier in the day to defrost, only for them to still be a bit frozen in the middle.
While this may mean you have to delay dinnertime a little bit, it’s important to do so. You should never cook hot dogs if they’re still frozen. You need to make sure they’re room temperature so you can enjoy delicious, even, and safe cooking.
Even if you have purchased hot dogs that are pre-cooked, it doesn’t make sense to put them on your grill while hot dogs are frozen. If you do, it’s likely that the outside will burn while the inside is still cold.
7. Persevering with hot dogs that have busted casings
Last but not least, if you’re grilling hot dogs and you notice that the casing has split, this means the meat has gotten too hot. Basically, you’re now overcooking your hot dogs!
There’s never any reason to overcook hot dogs, especially as they’re pre-cooked.
Common questions about grilling hot dogs & avoiding mistakes
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the mistakes you need to avoid making when grilling hot dogs, we’ll answer a few questions to help you grill the perfect frankfurters.
What temperature is right when grilling hot dogs?
We recommend that you preheat your grill to a temperature somewhere between 375 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want a supple, classic frank, go for a lower temperature. However, if you prefer the skin on your hot dog to be crispier, you can turn the temperature even higher.
How long should you grill hot dogs for?
There’s no magic number, unfortunately, as it depends on a number of different factors. This includes the size of the hot dogs, the type of grill you’re using, and outside elements.
This is why it’s vital to utilize a time range between five and seven minutes for standard beef franks. If you’re cooking jumbo franks, between seven and 10 minutes is ideal. Finally, for quarter-pound franks, around 15 minutes is ideal.
How do you know when your hot dogs have finished grilling?
If you’re grilling hot dogs, you should never simply walk away from the grill. You need to ensure you keep turning the hot dogs, getting them desirable grill marks all of the way around the meat.
You know that the hot dogs are ready to eat once they start expanding, yet before they begin sputtering.
Avoid these hot dog grilling mistakes for delicious hot dogs
If you can avoid the common hot dog grilling mistakes that we’ve mentioned above, you can give yourself the best chance of creating delicious, tasty hot dogs for the whole family to enjoy.
It’s not uncommon for people to think that grilling is so simple that mistakes just don’t happen. However, there are many variables at play when cooking, so one mistake or misjudgment can actually make a big difference to your food.
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