Hot dogs are known to be fairly foolproof, yet somehow, people still manage to create culinary sins when cooking this comforting, tasty treat.
When something is so easy to prepare, it can often cause us to be a bit thoughtless and impatient. We ignore the instructions because we feel that the item can be cooked or prepared in any way, so long as there is a bit of heat.
However, the preparation and cooking steps all make a difference in the final outcome, and no one wants a below-par hot dog, do they?
What are the most common mistakes when cooking hot dogs?
- Choosing poor-quality hot dogs
- Putting a dry hot dog on the grill
- Grilling hot dogs AFTER you’ve boiled them
- Overcrowding the grill
- Not preheating the oven or grill
- Not toasting the hot dog bun
So, with that being said, let’s take a look at some of the common mistakes that people need to stop making when cooking hot dogs in more detail.
Mistake #1 – Poor quality hot dogs
There is only one place to begin, and this is by choosing the cheapest hot dogs on the shelf. We have all been there: you walk into the supermarket with the best intentions. However, the cheap price tag draws you in, and you go for the lowest quality frankfurter.
Now, we’re not saying that the most expensive hot dogs are always the best. You certainly do not need to pay a premium.
Rather than looking at the price tag, start off by looking at the quality of the hot dog. A good way of determining how tasty a hot dog will be is by reading the hot dog ingredient list.
The fewer the ingredients, the more wholesome and tasty the experience will be.
Mistake #2 – Overboiling
Let’s start off by stating that we certainly do not recommend boiling your hot dogs when there are other, better options available, such as grilling. However, we know that boiling can be convenient, and when it’s done properly, you can still enjoy a tasty hot dog.
The key here is to ensure you do not overboil your hot dogs. Add your hot dogs to boiling water and leave them to cook uncovered for between four and six minutes.
Remove them from the water, and place them on top of paper towels until you are ready to serve them.
No matter what, do not leave your hot dogs in the boiling water once the six minutes are up. If you do this, it will ruin the texture, the hot dogs will lack flavor, and they could rupture.
Mistake #3 – Putting a dry hot dog on the grill
Another cardinal sin is failing to dip your hot dogs into oil before you place them onto the grill.
Of course, if you feel adventurous, you do not have to settle for oil only. You can add a whole host of different seasonings to the hot dog to give some extra flavor, from sweet pepper and garlic to salt and rosemary.
Mistake #4 – Grilling hot dogs after you have boiled them
We know that twice-cooked potatoes are a thing, but there’s no need to go down this route with your hot dogs.
As touched upon earlier, boiling hot dogs isn’t something we highly recommend. Why? Well, it can actually water down the flavor of the hot dog, which is never the objective.
We know that some people decide to boil first because they want to defrost their hot dogs.
Typically, your microwave is better for this task. Alternatively, add a small amount of simmering water to a pan with some flavor, such as a stock cube, and defrost your hot dogs this way.
Always make sure the hot dogs are simmering, not drowning!
Mistake #5 – Overcrowding the grill
Another rookie error that many people make when cooking hot dogs is overcrowding the grill.
If you are grilling hot dogs for a lot of people at an event or family BBQ, you may be cooking a lot of other things at the same time. From corn on the cob and chicken to hamburgers and hot dogs, avoid the temptation of cramming as much food as possible onto the grill.
We know you may want to have everything cooked simultaneously, but unless you have a huge grill, it will not be possible. Plus, many people prefer to have a steady flow of food throughout the day rather than eating everything at once.
But what makes a full grill so bad?
Well, it is difficult to rotate your hot dogs when they are all crammed together, meaning cooking them evenly is virtually impossible.
Plus, cooking times will usually be extended because airflow is reduced considerably.
If that was not bad enough, you may struggle to deal with flare-ups if you’re cooking a lot of fatty meats. This can be a bit of an embarrassing situation for anyone cooking in front of an audience.
So, make sure there is ample space between all items on the grill!
Mistake #6 – Not preheating the oven or grill
Whenever following a recipe, the first step is to preheat the oven or grill. Despite this, many of us fail to do so.
You may assume that it will add a few minutes to the cooking time. However, it actually impacts the end result. Extending the cooking time can result in your hot dogs cooking unevenly and drying out.
In terms of grilling hot dogs, it becomes complicated when the heat is in a state of flux.
Charring the outer skin and heating the hot dog all the way through is challenging because the grill has not been preheated correctly.
Do you really need this sort of hassle?
Mistake #7 – Not toasting the hot dog bun
Finally, many people would never think to toast the hot dog bun. After all, doesn’t this beat the whole purpose of it being a simple and minimalist affair?
Well, it only takes a small amount of time to toast the hot dog buns on the skillet once you have cooked the meat, and trust us, it will take your modest hot dog to new heights.
Simply add a little bit of butter or oil to the slit inside the bun, and then toast them on the grill. Be careful, though, bread can burn quickly and easily, so you won’t want to take your eyes off them!
Check out our guide on how to toast hot dog buns for easy-to-follow instructions.
Avoid the mistakes above for the best hot dogs
If you avoid the errors that we have discussed above, you can be sure that you will end up with the very best hot dogs.
Yes, hot dogs are simple to prepare, but this does not mean that you should cut corners when doing so.