Food For Thought

ways to prepare franks

Grilled or baked, boiled or steamed, hot dogs are great. You can probably even eat them right out of the package if the label says it’s OK. On second thought, you’re better off with one of these delicious cooking techniques instead. So what is the best way to cook franks?

Cooking Method #1: Over an Open Flame

Here it comes: the great grilling debate. There’s little argument that grilling is America’s favorite hot dog preparation method. The disagreements start when people start talking about which type of grilling is the best. Most of the time, it comes down to the fuel.

Charcoal is a perennial classic in terms of grilling. The portability of this fuel makes it the favorite of beachside cookouts and backyard barbeques alike. It also gives a distinctive char-grilled flavor that soaks right into the frank, giving you that crispy casing and juicy interior. Most charcoal grill aficionados claim that it’s the ultimate method not only for hot dogs, but also for just about anything else you can imagine.

Gas grills are the other big player in the grilling game. These reliable performers provide an even distribution of heat that makes it easy to sling out round after round of franks to hungry friends and family. Super-precise gas controls mean that you get a crispy and delicious char or a light golden brown, whichever you prefer.

Another clear benefit to gas grills is the short preparation time. For busy families that want to incorporate outdoor grilling into their routine, gas just makes sense. All you have to do is turn on the grill and get cooking, making it possible to have a quick hot dog dinner any day of the week.

Whichever grilling method you like, there are always ways to improve your frank game. Try adding smoke chips for some extra flavor. Give those buns a little love by toasting them up on the grill. Angle the hot dogs across the grill grate to get those iconic diagonal char marks you see in the commercials.

Cooking Method #2: In Hot Water

While the grill is great, there’s another option that bears mentioning. A humble pot of boiling water can be transformed into a nearly endless food factory via the addition of franks. While you still don’t want to overcook your dogs, the pot is a lot more forgiving than the grill. That makes boiling the preferred method of busy cooks who may not have the time to stand over their hot dogs waiting for that perfect moment. The other advantage: those hot dogs aren’t drying out. They come out perfectly plump and tender, every time.

If plain water just doesn’t thrill you, try spicing it up. The best way to do this is – you guessed it – by adding spices to the water. Pepper and garlic are natural complements to the rich flavor of hot dogs, and tossing a few cloves or peppercorns in with some boiling water only takes a few seconds. If your pot has a steamer basket, you can try putting your buns in there for a little while to get that soft, warm experience you get from stadiums and street vendors.