Grilled franks ! Who needs an excuse to grill some delicious hot dogs ? No one, and no one’s going to stop you from throwing a few on the grill right now.
But how long should you grill the hot dogs to get the best flavor out of them ?
As it turns out, the major frank types have different cook times, so let’s get into details.
So how long should you grill hot dogs for ?
How long you grill your hot dogs depends on what kind you’re using.
Beef franks have less fat content, and cook faster than others. Say 6 minutes, total.
If you’re using regular franks, the size matters the most when knowing how long to grill. For example quarter-pound franks need about 15 minutes total to be fully cooked.
If you’re using smaller hot dogs, then your grill time should be adjusted.
You’ll know your hot dog is sufficiently grilled when you can see the natural juices rising to the surface, and possibly even pouring out. The ends will usually crack open a bit.
If the entire frank’s burst open (as it sometimes happens), you’ve gone too far.
Let’s take a look at why that is, and get you a recipe on grilling hot dogs the right way.
Low fat franks need less cook time
Now what’s this about low fat hot dogs ?
Some hot dogs, like beef or turkey, are low fat. This means that they will need a much shorter cook time than regular hot dogs.
Of course, most of the time the meat in hot dogs is pre-cooked, and the franks only need to be heated and left with char marks to make the meal complete.
But in some cases, the meat is mostly raw, and needs proper grilling. This is why you need to pay attention to the fat content.
A low fat frank means it will cook faster, and dry out faster. Nothing’s more disappointing than dry grilled meat, and hot dogs are no exception.
So, getting a higher fat pork hot dog will mean it grills slower, but will have a hard time drying out.
It’s also the fats that you’ll notice sort of bubbling under the surface of the hot dog, and if you somehow pierce the hot dog (like with a fork), you’ll notice them coming out.
When the hot dog does that on all sides, it’s done.
How to grill hot dogs – a guide
Alright, now let’s get to actually grilling a nice frank. You’ll get this recipe for grilled hot dogs, and I’ll also tell you how to prep the buns so they’re not just meh.
For grilled hot dogs, you’ll need:
- 8 hot dogs, of whichever type you like (4 if using quarter pounders)
- 8 hot dog buns, cut down the middle
- mustard, ketchup, relish
- 2 oz melted butter
If you want to add anything else to the hot dogs, like a side dish or salad, feel free to improvise.
Thaw your hot dogs if they’ve been sitting in the freezer, and make sure they get up to room temp before grilling. Especially for beef franks.
Prep the grill and grates
First up, you’re going to need to make sure your grill is clean, and the grates don’t have any residue from the last grill party. Otherwise the franks will stick to the grates, and this is never a good thing.
Grab a grill brush and clean the grill, if it needs any cleaning.
Afterwards, heat your grill to medium-high.
If you’re using a gas grill, this can take up to 15 minutes.
If you’re using charcoal, they should develop a white layer on the outside.
Both cases, close the lid if your grill has one.
Put the hot dogs on the grill
First, you’ll need to make sure your franks are prepared for the grill. If you want to avoid any burst hot dogs, lightly score them on all sides. Do not do this with beef franks or you’ll lose precious juice !
If using beef franks, just be patient and keep an eye on them. They’re going to swell, but won’t burst if you take them off the grill when they’re at their 6 minute mark.
Once your grill is hot enough, place the hot dogs on the grill. If possible, place them at a angle or across, so you get those nice grill marks.
Depending on the kind of hot dog you use, grilling might take 6 minutes or 15.
Remember that about 2-3 minutes per side is enough to get the franks grilled, so there’s no reason to overdo this, unless you have very large hot dogs.
Closing the lid isn’t necessary, but won’t really hinder the cooking process either.
Once your hot dogs are marked on all sides, and look like they’re cooked (or you’ve timed them), take them off the grill.
Prep any seasonings and toppings
While the hot dogs are grilling, make sure you’ve prepared any seasonings or toppings you’d like to add.
Place everything on the table where you’re going to eat, and if you’ve got any ingredients that need grilling, grill those too.
Depending on how much time they need to cook, they can be added in the last minute of grilling, or right from the beginning.
One of my favorite things to add to grilled hot dogs is bacon, either grilled on its own or wrapped around the hot dogs.
If you decide to wrap bacon around the hot dogs, make sure to use thin strips of bacon, and wrap them around the uncooked franks.
If adding bacon on its own, then make sure to place the strips on the grill at the same times as the hot dogs.
Another ingredient that goes well with grilled hot dogs is grilled avocado, and that only needs 2-3 minutes on each side. You can find out more about that here.
Get the buns ready
Another thing to prep while the hot dogs are grilling is the buns. You could just use them as-is, but they’d be just spongy, white buns.
I suggest you grill them too, in the last minute before taking the hot dogs off the grill.
You can do this two ways.
First, you can paint on some melted butter, and place the buns butter-side down on the grill, and give them a minute. They’ll crisp up really nice, and get a smoky flavor.
Second, you can grill the buns as they are, with the cut side on the grill, for one minute, and then add the melted butter.
This will yield a smoky bun, but one that’s going to soften a bit when you add the butter and have a buttered toast texture.
If you’d like to add anything to the butter, feel free to do so. For example a bit of chili powder or smoked paprika go great with grilled franks.
Remember this when grilling hot dogs
You know now that grilling franks is pretty straight-forward, but you’re going to need to keep an eye on some hot dogs, lest they dry out or burst.
So remember these things when grilling hot dogs:
- Beef franks need 5-7 minutes total, treat them like a steak
- Lightly scoring the hot dogs will help them keep their shape
- If you keep the franks whole, you should look for juices bubbling under their surface
- Get your grill properly heated putting the meat on
And you should be just fine with getting the hot dogs to the degree you want them.
After all, grilling is a lot of trial and error, so there’s no reason to shy away from trying things out.