Grilled Hot Dogs 101 by the BBQ Pit Boys

How to Grill Hot Dogs

Three Methods:

Hot dogs. They're as American as football and apple pie. They can be boiled, baked, steamed, 'waved, stuffed, or eaten raw (ok, not so appetizing). But there is nothing—nothing—that does a hot dog prouder than a searing hot grill! Here are some mouth-watering ideas that are sure to get your hot dogs—and your taste buds—fired up.


Fire Up the Grill

  1. Pour on the charcoal.If you have a charcoal grill, fill your chimney starter, soak the briquettes with charcoal lighter fluid, and light 'em up. Carefully, of course. Your eyebrows look good on you.
    • Allow about 20 to 30 minutes to burn off the lighter fluid and get the coals evenly burning. When the briquettes are covered with a layer of ash and glowing, they're ready. Pour them into the bottom of the grill, cover, and let it heat up.
    • Consider using hardwood charcoal instead of the standard charcoal briquette. It adds a great smoky flavor that marries well with hot dogs.
  2. Step on the gas.If you have a gas grill, turn on all burners to get the grill good and hot. You want the grill itself to sear the dogs as soon as they hit.
    • When you're ready to grill, you can turn down the heat to medium so you don't burn the dogs through and through. Not even Grey Poupon can help that!

Do the Dog

  1. Grab your tongs.Now that your grill of choice is heated up and ready for searing, it's time for the big event. Grab a set of tongs and load up the grill.
    • Lay the dogs on the grill perpendicular to the grate. This will give them nice char lines that enhance the flavor.
    • Make sure they're well-spaced. You need room to roll those puppies around on the grill.
  2. Roll those dogs.Every minute or two, roll the dogs about a quarter turn so that you cook all sides evenly. Thicker dogs will take a little longer to heat up on the inside.
  3. Be patient.Don't remove your dogs too soon. They will still taste good, but you want to let the skin turn a deep reddish brown color. This is evidence of something called the , which is what gives grilled and roasted foods such great flavors.

Finishing Up

  1. Toast your buns.Sure, you can plop that freshly grilled wiener between a couple pasty-white hot dog buns, but why would you want to? Remember that Maillard reaction we talked about? That's what makes toast so good, too. So take advantage of that hot grill.
    • Turn off your gas grill. It should be plenty hot enough to toast up a couple buns. If you're serving a whole crew, keep it turned on low.
    • If you're using a charcoal grill, scoot the coals to one side. Put the buns on the cool side.
    • Open up your buns, slather a little butter on them, and then place them face down on the grill. Close the lid so it warms the whole bun. Keep an eye on them—if your grill is really hot, they can burn quickly.
    • When they start to brown, rotate them 90°, then give them another 30 seconds or so. Don't let them burn!
  2. Load your dog.When the bun's done, drop your dog in, and add condiments to your heart's desire. Here are some ideas for toppings:
    • Mustard—golden, yellow, gray, searing, smooth, or seedy. Hot dogs love it.
    • Ketchup—the old standby.
    • Pickle relish—dill, sweet, however you like it.
    • Raw onions—green, white, yellow, or sweet, it's all good!
    • Grilled onions—the only thing better than raw onions.
    • Grilled peppers—is there anything grilled peppers don't taste good on?
    • Cheese—add a little, add a lot. Pepper jack is a nice change from cheddar or processed cheese, though processed cheese has a really nice melt to it.
    • Chili—this makes it a little harder to eat with your hands, but it is delicious.
    • Barbecue sauce—adds to that smokey barbecue thing you have going on here.
    • Steak sauce—tired of ketchup? kick it up a notch.
    • Hot sauce—kick it up a couple more notches.
    • Sauerkraut—yes, it was nasty when you were a kid. Try it now!
    • Pretty much anything that'll fit on a bun that you like. Okay, maybe not rocky road ice cream, but you know what we mean!
  3. Chow time!Enjoy your dog with relish (or any of the other aforementioned condiments).

Community Q&A

  • Question
    I have a new gas grill and have not used it yet. How should I season it? Should I brush oil on it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If it is a non-stick grill, then don't put anything on it. If you are not sure that the grill is not non-stick then go ahead and put some oil on it so that the food doesn't get stuck.
  • Question
    Is it better to grill with the lid open?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    This depends on what type of food you're cooking. If it's a slow-cooking food, like a whole roast, leave the lid closed. If it's a fast-cooking food, like hot dogs, leave the lid open.
  • Question
    How long do you cook sausage on the grill?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    This depends on the type of sausage. The thicker the sausage, the longer it should cook. Most sausages will cook within 20 minutes, but Italian sausages can be done in as little as 8 to 10 minutes. Read How to Grill Sausage for more information.
  • Question
    How long does it take to cook brats on the grill?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
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Quick Summary

To grill hot dogs, light your charcoals or turn on the gas so your grill can heat up. Use tongs to lay the dogs on the hot grill perpendicular to the grate and be sure to leave plenty of room between them. Roll the dogs about a quarter turn every 1-2 minutes so the sides cook evenly and leave them on the grill until the meat is heated through. Then, slip the cooked wieners into hot dog buns, add your favorite condiments and toppings, and dig in!

Did this summary help you?
  • While grill lines seem like nothing more than a mark made by the grating of your grill, they can actually be used to measure how well-cooked your franks are. Hot dogs are cooked when the grill lines are nice and black, or dark brown.
  • Clean off your grill with cooking spray to season it and prevent sticking. Make sure the grill is turned off when you do this.
  • Mix it up a little. For a different twist, add a piece of tomato or lettuce to your bun for that "sandwich" feel. Or maybe you can even cut your franks into quarters and put them between two small slices of bread with lettuce and tomato and have little hot dog sandwiches. Anything is possible.


  • Make sure your grill is turned off completely, and that the flow of gas is stopped completely if you're using a gas grill. If you're using a charcoal grill, make sure your fire is put out completely, and no hot embers remain.
  • Do notuse your hands to pick up your hot dogs. Tongs or a fork are strongly recommended for this job.
  • Keep your grillawayfrom any flammable objects such as wooden chairs, gas containers, or excessively furry critters.

Things You'll Need

  • Grill, charcoal or gas
  • Pair of sturdy tongs
  • Plate or bowl for serving
  • Pack of hot dogs
  • Condiments or toppings like mustard or relish

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