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How to Grill Hot Dogs

If there’s one thing every grill master on Earth should know how to cook, it’s hot dogs. They’re a crowd-pleasing cookout food, they’re easy to load up with whatever toppings you prefer and they’re super easy to cook. So, that’s what we’re here to talk about today: How to grill hot dogs that your cookout guests will go crazy for! We’ll cover both cooking hot dogs on a pellet smoker grill like the Grilla Grills Silverbac and on a charcoal or gas grill like the Grilla Grills Kong kamado and the Grilla Grills Primate, respectively.

hotdogs dressed in buns

Source: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Getting Started

Before you fire up the grill, here are a few things to take care of:

  • Clean your grill grates before you start to make sure your hot dogs don’t stick to the metal. Check out our guide to how to clean a grill for some practical pointers.
  • Get your toppings ready so the hot dogs will be ready to serve as soon as they’re done. Ketchup, mustard, relish and onions are the basic essentials at most cookouts, but don’t hesitate to add tasty extras like pickle spears or chili if you’re feeling it. And, of course, don’t forget the buns!
  • Choose a high-quality brand of hot dogs to cook. Many people prefer all-beef hot dogs for their thick and juicy texture, while others like pork-beef blends for their slightly sweeter flavor. If you’re big on natural foods, uncured hot dogs have gained popularity for their lack of artificial nitrate curing compounds.
  • Before you cook the hot dogs, it’s a good idea to cut some small slits in them with a knife or poke holes with a fork. This will let your hot dogs “vent” as they cook and keep them from bursting open as steam builds up inside.

How to Grill Hot Dogs on a Pellet Grill

  1. Light your pellet grill’s wood pellets and get them smoking. For detailed and easy-to-follow instructions on starting your Grilla pellet grill, see our virtual toolbox videos!
  2. Set your pellet smoker grill’s temperature control to a medium-high temp, anywhere from around 375 to 450ºF. Choose a higher temperature if you want your dogs to cook faster and are OK with a little more char on the meat. A lower temperature will take longer to cook and give you less char.
  3. Once the grill has hit its target temperature, put the hot dogs on the grill. Place them at an angle across the grill grates if you want those picture-perfect grill marks.
  4. Let the hot dogs cook anywhere from around 5 to 10 minutes depending on what temperature you’ve set on the grill. Keep the grill’s lid closed while they’re cooking. Since a pellet grill uses convection heat, it needs to circulate the hot air that cooks the dogs.
  5. Use a meat thermometer to test a few of your hot dogs’ internal temps, and pull them off when they hit 160ºF. You can also simply check them visually; when you see a crispy red skin all over the hot dog and a few well-defined grill marks, you’ve got a perfect dog!

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hotdogs on grill

Source: ABBYDOG/Shutterstock

How to Grill Hot Dogs over Charcoal or Gas

  1. Light your charcoal or gas grill. If you’re using a charcoal grill like the Kong, we highly recommend using high-quality lump charcoal. The flavor is superior, and it’s easy to light once you know how. For gas grills like the Grilla Grills Primate, just turn on the gas and twist the knob!
  2. Allow the grill to heat up to a medium temperature, anywhere from around 325 to 375ºF. Since you’re cooking over direct heat, you want the temp lower than on a pellet grill. More temperature means a little more char and vice versa.
  3. When the grill is hot, put your dogs on the grates, angling them for grill marks if you’d like. 
  4. Cook the hot dogs for three to five minutes, depending on your temperature. Keep the grill lid closed as much as you can to take advantage of convection heat that will help cook your dogs evenly. 
  5. Pull the dogs off when you see the tell-tale crackly red skin all over or when they’ve hit an internal temp of 160ºF on your meat thermometer. 

Crispy Buns: The Final Step

Whatever type of grill you’re using, you can take your hot dogs to the next level by finishing them off with crispy, buttered buns! It’s easy to pull off: When your hot dogs are done — or, at the same time, if you’ve got space — brush melted butter onto some buns and place them split side down onto the grill. Watch the buns closely and leave them on for just one to three minutes — they’ll burn easily if you’re not careful. Pull them off when they’ve turned golden brown. You’ll be amazed at the difference in flavor and texture that the buns provide! 

pouring condiments onto hotdogs

Source: AnnaStills/Shutterstock

Grilla Grills has all of the pro tips to take you from grill newbie to neighborhood grill master! Check out all of our pellet grill recipes or see our guide to grilling for beginners and get a quick intro to all of the key skills you need. 

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