There’s nothing worse than biting into a piece of meat and feeling your stomach curl when the inner part is cold! Getting the internal temperature right is a must if you’re going to enjoy a tasty hot dog.
But what temperature is the right temperature?
In this blog post, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about cooking tasty and safe hot dogs. After all, getting the cooking temperature right is not only vital in terms of cooking delicious hot dogs, but ensuring that your guests are safe and don’t come down with any illnesses either.
That’s the last thing anyone would want!
What’s the perfect internal temperature for a hot dog?
A perfectly cooked hot dog will have a nice crust on the outside with an internal temperature of at least 165°F degrees if they’re made with ground poultry or 160°F degrees if they’re made with ground meat. Hot dogs should be served when they’re steaming hot inside.
The good news is that hot dogs are already cooked and smoked, so there’s no concern in terms of getting food poisoning if your hot dogs aren’t cooked perfectly. However, you do need to keep your hot dogs at a certain heat to kill bacteria. Plus, no one wants to eat a lukewarm hot dog, do they?
To ensure you get an accurate reading, the best thing to do is use a good thermometer. If you don’t own one, we’ll make some suggestions later in this post, so don’t worry.
What is a food thermometer?
A meat thermometer is a small, prong-type device that measures the internal temp of meats, such as hot dogs. Foods like pork and poultry must reach a minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria and prevent food-borne illnesses.
There are many different types of meat thermometers. Spend some time looking at the different options available. You’ll need to consider the design in terms of how easy the thermometer is to read, the length of the probe, and how the temperature is displayed.
Extra features like alarms for when the meat reaches a certain cooked temp are a big plus.
Keeping your hot dogs warm
If you’re not going to eat your hot dog right away, it should be kept in a warmer at 140°F degrees.
Of course, this is important because you want to have the best possible taste experience. However, it goes beyond this.
Heating hot dogs until they are steaming hot will help to kill listeria, which is a type of bacteria. This bacteria can cause listeriosis, which is a food-borne illness. Some people are more susceptible to these illnesses than others, for example, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weak immune systems.
Once your hot dog has been heated, keeping it at a sustainable temperature will ensure your food is out of the Danger Zone, which is the temperature range whereby bacteria quickly grow.
If you’re serving hot dogs at a party, and they’re going to be left out at room temperature, make sure they don’t sit outside for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90°F, they should not sit outside for more than one hour.
Understanding the Danger Zone
Let’s discuss the Danger Zone in further detail. Hot dogs and other types of cooked food, which are left sitting at room temperature, enter what we call the‘Danger Zone.’
According to the USDA, which is the United States Department of Agriculture, the Danger Zone is the temperature range where bacteria grow quickly, which they’ve specified as being between 40°F and 140°F. At this range of temperatures, the harmful bacteria numbers can actually double.
The bacteria responsible for listeriosis, listeria monocytogenes, can grow in processed foods like hot dogs. Listeriosis can cause headaches, backaches, chills, fever, and abdominal pain.
Also, because hot dogs are made with meat, they can be contaminated with pathogens, such as:
- Campylobacter jejuni
- Clostridium perfringens
- Bacillus cereus
What is the best thermometers for hot dogs?
If you don’t own a thermometer, now would be a good time to get one. Here are some of the best meat thermometers on the market today:
- Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo– Firstly, we have the Lavatools Javelin Pro Duo, which is super fast and it has a folding probe, which means you can take readings from odd angles. This can be helpful if you’ve got many hot dogs cooking! There are a number of helpful features as well. You can track maximum and minimum temperatures, a button for holding the reading, and a beep that will tell you when it settles on a temperature. Also, you don’t have to keep this thermometer loose in a drawer; it has a magnet, meaning you can stick it on your stove or fridge.
- ThermoWorks Dot– Easy-to-use, affordable, and accurate, the ThermoWorks Dot has one of the longest probe cables on the market today. The temperature range is -58 °F to 572 °F. Not only does it come with a digital display that’s easy to read, but you can set an alarm to go off when the meat reaches a specific temperature. Handy, right? We’re also big fans of the backlight screen, which is very handy if you’re grilling outside for guests during the evening.
- ThermoWorks ThermoPop 2– Finally, we have the ThermoWorks ThermoPop 2, which is accurate, fast, and even waterproof. It also has a wide temperature range, from -58 °F to 572 °F. Plus, you can switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius if you prefer. Large digits are displayed on a backlit display, and you can rotate it in four directions automatically, meaning you can read it quickly and easily from any direction. You can tell that this product has been designed with usability and ease of use in mind. There are different sizes of probes available, but we’d recommend going for the 4.5-inch one.
- ThermoWorks ChefAlarm– Last but not least, we have the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm, which includes volume adjustment and a timer. Through our tests, this thermometer is highly accurate. The digital unit is also hinged, meaning you can adjust it to a certain angle or lay it flat. It also comes with a case that will hold the digital unit and a probe.
What temperature should hot dogs be stored in your fridge?
You can store hot dogs in your fridge or freezer. If you’re going to freeze your hot dogs, do so at 0° F (-18° C). This will keep them safe until you decide to use them. If you’re going to refrigerate hot dogs, then make sure you do so at 40° F (4° C).
Make sure you look at the “best use by” date or the expiration date on the package. If you cannot find this, we have some suggestions for you:
- Hot dogs that expire while they’re in the freezer will remain safe until you decide to use them, so no need to worry! Just make sure you freeze them straight away.
- If you think your hot dogs that are stored in the refrigerator will be cooked within the next seven days, wrap the packaging in a plastic bag, heavy-duty foil, or air-tight plastic wrap. Or, you could simply freeze them and let them defrost when you’re ready.
- In the fridge, if you have hot dogs and they’re in an opened package, they should be safe for up to one week. After this, they’ll start to go bad. However, if the hot dogs are in a package that you haven’t opened yet, they should be safe for up to two weeks.
- If you’ve opened a packet of hot dogs, but you’re not going to eat them all, you can freeze the opened packet for between one and two months.
Get the temperature right to enjoy the best hot dogs
So there you have it: how to get the temperature right when cooking hot dogs. You can buy a thermostat if you haven’t got one already, and this will give you the confidence to know that your hot dogs have been cooked to perfection.
This is definitely a good idea if you don’t have a lot of confidence in the kitchen or you’re cooking for a big crowd, and you want to make sure your hot dogs are cooked right.