Perfect Hot Dogs… You’re Doing It Wrong

Hot dogs are probably one of the easiest foods to make, and pretty much even the least skilled cooks can manage to get a hot dog to edible temperatures, slap it on a bun and call it dinner — but hot dog experts, which exist, say that the key to a fantastic hot dog is a bit more complex.

And amazing hot dogs, as you probably know, do exist. Ever get a hot dog that just reminds you how great this quintessential American food can be, either simply steamed and served with ketchup, or charcoal grilled and topped with kraut and mustard at a low-key barbeque?

Hot dogs are one of the simplest forms of casual American cuisine, but you can really step up your weiner — and experts have a few simple tips to master the art of the best hot dogs ever.

Firstly, the kind of hot dog you select for your purposes is going to make a big difference. Dietary concerns often factor in, as kosher dogs are beef only, as opposed to more common, pork-based weenies. And then you have the red-meat abstainers, who favor the even less common chicken and turkey dogs, or vegetarians, who eat veggie dogs only.

But for omnivores, the selection of a beef dog or a pork dog will set the tone for your barbeque — Josh Distenfeld, executive chef for Delaware North Companies Sportservice at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, explains to Fox News:

“A beef hot dog compares more with a hamburger. It has a heartier, bigger flavor profile… Pork is a lighter dog. It’s like a sausage profile without the fennel seasoning.”

Amy Ott of Klostman Bakery highlights the importance of the bun to meat ratio in creating the perfect dog — she says:

“Hotdogs and buns are a harmonious union and should fit as closely as they can… The goal for the bun should be with every bite, you experience dog and bun as one.”

spiral cut hot dog

It’s not just a taste ratio thing either — Ott says the bun to dog ratio serves an important purpose when it comes to overall hot dog satisfaction:

“A steamed bun is perfect for a stadium dog whereas a butter-toasted bun serves a hearty, heavier sausage… When the casing of the sausage is snapped with the first bite, those juices are unleashed and there needs to be a bun there ready to collect and not get soggy and fall apart.”

And then there is the issue of condiments and hot-dog presentation — earlier this summer, a video done by Chow.com declared spiral-cut hot dogs to be the pinnacle of hot dog best practices. According to the food experts at Chow, a spiral-cut hot dog (an easy practice utilizing a skewer, a knife and twirling) allows ketchup, mustard and relish to distribute more evenly and overall optimizes the hot dog experience.

What are your favorite methods to cook and serve the best hot dogs at home?