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How To Tell When Hot Dogs Are Done

Grilling hot dogs is a popular summer activity. It can be a bit tricky to know when they are done.

There is something to be said for the taste of a hot dog that has been cooked on the grill. It adds such great flavor that you cant get when you boil a hot dog.

By using this step-by-step guide you’ll be able to grill them perfectly every time.

Grilled hot dogs cooking on a grill with grill marks on them.

Best ways to tell when a grilled hot dog is done cooking

There are a few ways to tell whether or not your hot dog is done cooking. You can do so by using a thermometer, just looking at it, or even by listening to it.

All of the methods for telling when a hot dog is done cooking can be used for any grill type. If you are grilling your hot dog on a gas grill, charcoal grill, or over an open fire they all apply.

I have a post all about the advantages of grilling that you should read because there are many!

Using a thermometer

The most accurate way to know for sure if a hot dog is done cooking is by using a thermometer. Stick a food-grade thermometer into the center of the hot dog, either through one of the ends or along the side.

According to the USDA, if the internal temperature is 160°F or higher, it’s safe to eat. Even though they are typically precooked it is best to get them up to temperature for safe eating.

This is also a great way to tell when a burger is done cooking on the grill as well.

Looking at the skin

Another way to tell when a grilled hot dog is done cooking is by looking at it for a dry, crispy exterior with a slightly pink center.

You can check to see if a hot dog is done cooking by cutting slits into it before you cook it. You will notice that as it cooks these slits will expand.

It will look like the hotdog is busting out of its skin almost when it is done. Hot dogs tend to cook up pretty quickly.

Listen to the hot dog

No, hot dogs do not actually talk but they do make a hissing sound when they are nearing doneness. When a hot dog is done cooking you will start to hear a hissing or sputtering sound coming from it.

This sound is created by the juices inside the hot dog bubbling. Almost like the juices are boiling inside.

Once it starts to make these sounds it is a good indicator that the heat has gotten into the middle of the hot dog and gotten up to temperature.

How to grill a hot dog

There are a few different ways to grill hot dogs. The most popular way is to cut 5-6 slits into the tops only about 1/4 inches deep.

This opens them up just enough to allow the heat to get inside more quickly which helps them cook faster.

The slits also help to give room for the hot dog to expand without exploding. It won’t explode and obliviate the hot dog but the juices need somewhere to go and the skin will give somewhere.

Turn them regularly to get grill marks all around the hot dog and to cook them evenly. Keep in mind when you are grilling hot dogs, the leaner they are, the faster they are going to cook.

The temperature for grilling hot dogs should be 250°F-350°F. This will cook them evenly and quickly without burning them as long as you are keeping a close eye on them.

If you are cooking frozen hot dogs on the grill, you want to cook them up on the shelf in your grill or not directly over hot coals if you are using a charcoal grill.

This will allow for the frozen hot dog to thaw out a little before the skin starts to cook. Otherwise, the skin will thaw and start to cook before the center of your hot dog has a chance to thaw.

There is no definitive answer to the question of how long you should grill hot dogs. The best way to ensure that they are cooked through is to use medium heat and to keep an eye on them.

There are many factors to consider when determining how long it will take for a hot dog to cook. Grill time typically ranges from 4-8 minutes for standard-size beef franks.

You have to take into consideration the environment, the type of grill you are using whether it be a gas grill, charcoal grill, or cooking over an open fire, and the size of the hot dog itself.

It doesn’t usually take longer than 10 minutes for a hot dog to cook through.


How do you make hot dogs crispy on the grill?

Cooking your hot dogs low and slow will allow you to cook them all the way through and get a crispy skin on them without burning them.
If you cook them with a temperature that is too high they will burn before the center can get up to temperature.  

Why do you slice hot dogs before grilling?

 Slicing hot dogs before grilling them can speed up grilling time and can ensure that you are cooking the hot dog all the way through.
Cutting slits along the top of the hot dog helps the heat reach the center of the hot dog and allows the skin to expand rather than rip.  

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