There is more than one way to boil a hot dog and you will be blown away by the delicious and most importantly, easy options there are. It is all about flavor optimization.
Boiling hot dogs is a fun and simple way to make a delicious meal for the family without having to fire up the grill. You won’t believe how flavorful they are!
This might be an inflammatory statement, but there is a case to be made for Boiling Hot Dogs. I know what you are thinking and I will start off by saying, yes, they are in fact delicious. And I know this because all of New York City can’t be wrong. They are boiling people!
They are a great alternative when you don’t have the time to grill or if you simply don’t have a grill to work with. And while it doesn’t make them any healthier, think of the liquid as a vehicle to get even more flavor into your dogs.
Hot dogs are almost always fully cooked when you purchase them at the store. What you need to do at home is warm them up for optimal tastiness.
This process is more about heating them through and adding a little flavor along the way. Be careful not to cook them too long or they will get mushy.
When using this method, never split your dog or poke holes in it. You want to keep it sealed to the meat inside doesn’t dry out or lose its texture.
You have two options when it comes to your vessel. You can fill a large, wide and deep saute pan with an inch or two of liquid. This method can make it hard to flavor your liquid however, so I go a different route.
I find the best thing to do is use a 4-quart saucepan about halfway. I am partial to the saucepan because it is easier to fit your seasonings while not crowding your dogs in the liquid.
You have to flavor that liquid! Don’t get me wrong, water will work, but if you can layer on the flavor, why wouldn’t you?!
Here’s the reasoning. Hot dogs aren’t watertight. The casing they are in is actually permeable meaning flavor can go in.
Think of it as a stock. You wouldn’t just use plain water for soup now, would you? I didn’t think so. Translation, flavor that water.
Heat up some water with a bit of bouillon. Chicken or beef are both great, but vegetable bouillon will work in a pinch too. If you want a more adult flavor, you can substitute the water for beer or make Bacon and Beer Sauerkraut.
You will boil off the alcohol so it will still be kid-friendly. Either option is delicious.
I like to add a few aromatics and herbs to keep things lively – think an onion, or some garlic, fresh parsley, and whole spices like cumin seeds. If you want a more beer hall flavor profile, add one or two whole star anise instead of the cumin.
Past that, it is all about the toppings. Whether you are a purist who thinks that a dog should only come with mustard or someone who is a fan of maximizing their toppings with chili, cheese, and frizzled onions, you won’t ever stop to think, “Wow, I wish I had grilled these.”
Hot Dog Toppings:
- Spicy ketchup
- Caramelized Onions
- Yum Yum Sauce
- Honey Habanero Pickles
- French Fried Onions
- Crumbled Bacon
- Rochester Sauce
- Tennessee Hot Sauce
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How to Boil Hot Dogs
- 2 quarts water or 4 12oz cans of beer
- 2-4 bouillon cubes , beef or chicken flavor
- 1 head of garlic , cut in half crosswise, skin on
- 1 small yellow onion cut in half , skin on
- small bunch parsley
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds OR 1 or 2 whole star anise
- 8 package your favorite hot dogs
- 8 hot dog buns
- favorite toppings
- Heat the liquid and dissolve the bouillon cubes into it. Add the garlic through the cumin seeds and heat on medium-high until you reach a rolling boil. Drop the heat down to a simmer and allow the flavors to meld. This will also boil off the alcohol in the beer if you are using that as your liquid.
- Turn the heat off and add your hot dogs gently into the pot. Allow them to warm through. This should take 2-4 minutes depending on how cold they are when they go in.
- Pull them out of the water and allow them to drain briefly on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve on toasted buns with your favorite toppings.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!