Hot dogs have made the transition from iconic German street food to household quick-meal staple. Serve with the standard condiments -- mustard, ketchup, relish, coleslaw, cheese, chili or creamy dressing -- and let your each member of your family dress their own dogs. The tender, juicy sausages are sure to please the crowd, but heating up whole batches of hot dogs quickly can be stressful if you are used to just heating up a few in a skillet for your family dinner. Alternate cooking methods allow you to cook several hot dogs at a time without sacrificing flavor.
Grilling Your Dogs
Grilling hot dogs delivers smoky flavor and satisfyingly crisp grill marks. Outdoor grills provide ample surface area for grilling up multiple hot dogs in a flash. Over medium high heat, precooked hot dogs will be ready for plates in about eight minutes. The key to successfully grilling multiple hot dogs lies in turning the dogs frequently so they get seared evenly on all sides. In the last few minutes of cooking, toss some buns on the top tier of the grill for even more crunchy satisfaction.
Boiling and Steaming
Boiling or steaming is the preferred method of cooking of most hot dog street vendors because the large vats of water hold a large quantity of hot dogs and cook quickly without risk of burning. The hot dogs need only enough room to float on the top of the water, so large stockpots could hold as many as 12 hot dogs at a time. If you don't want to boil, put a steamer tray or basket over your boiling water and steam the hot dogs in single layers. Both cooking methods take between 8 and 10 minutes. Roll the hot dogs in a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before they hit the buns.
Broiling hot dogs results in the same blistered, crisp exterior without heating up the grill. A large broiling or roasting tray holds as many as 24 hot dogs, and once the broiler is heated, hot dogs are ready to eat in five to six minutes. Since broiling requires high heat that can burst the skin, make small slits in the dogs to allow extra steam to escape. To ensure even crisping, heat the broiler tray up in the oven so the dogs cook on the bottom immediately. After three minutes, do a quick turn on each hot dog so everything cooks evenly.
Slow Cooker Hot Dogs
Slow cookers provide the convenience of make-ahead cooking and the space to cook multiple hot dogs to feed a crowd. Five-quart slow cookers comfortably cook 16 regular sized hot dogs, but slow cookers are also ideal for cooking miniature hot dogs for party appetizers. Hot dogs are fully heated, crisp and juicy after two hours on high, but you can turn the heat to low or hold to keep them warm until serving time. Turn your hot dogs into a complete meal with a can of baked beans or make a sweet sauce with ketchup, a jar of your favorite jam and a few spoonfuls of brown sugar. If you opt for additional sauces, cook for three hours on low so that the flavors have time to blend.
- "Great American Hot Dog Book"; Becky Mercuri; 2007
- "Fix-It And Forget-It Big Cookbook: 1400 Best Slow Cooker Recipes"; Phyllis Pellman Good; 2008
- A Year of Slow Cooking: Crock Pot Hot Dogs for a Crowd
Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.