Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Grilling Hot Dogs Outside

Summer is almost here. Time to bring out the barbecue grill and test your skills at outdoor cooking. Never grilled out? Don't worry. It's easier than you think. Even I can do it.

For a number of years, I left the outdoor cooking to the man of the house. It seemed more of a manly thing to do with the dirty charcoal and the use of liquid fire starter. I never imagined how much fun it would be to build a little fire in our Weber grill, skewer my food and actually cook it over an open flame. The first time I took over the tongs was like a brand new world had opened.
One fourth of July, we invited a few of our friends over to celebrate at our place out in the country. For variety, we decided on hamburgers and hot dogs to go with the extra dishes brought in by our guests.

In the sweltering summer heat someone started a horseshoe game and my hubby, the grill Chef, disappeared.
When the flames on the barbecue pit began to signal a fire hazard, it was too late to rescue the little briquettes that were once juicy hamburgers. They were burnt to a crisp and looked like  hockey pucks.

Luckily, we had more hot dogs and managed to feed the multitude. But that day was the turning point on my view of grilling. From that moment forward, I would be the designated grill chef.
One of the first things I learned is something experienced grill chefs know already: You only need a small pile of charcoal for quick cooking.
When I say a small pile, I mean a pile no larger than a quarter of the size of the kettle. For foods that take a long time, you need a lot more charcoal, but not with hamburgers and hot dogs.

First, pour the charcoal into one area of the lower grill inside the drum. It's important that the old ashes are discarded safely in a fireproof bucket or a trash bag before you begin. 

Never dump out the grill ashes until you're certain that they are cold.
Squirt on a small amount of liquid charcoal lighter.

Use an electric starter or a long wooden match to ignite the pile of charcoal and wait for the edges to turn white.

When the coals start to burn off the charred remains of the last cookout I use my wire brush to vigorously clean the top grill to remove any rust and debris.

Safety Reminders - Keep some water handy to put out smoldering ashes that fly out of the grill and land in the grass. I keep a squirt bottle handy to extinguish any flare ups.
Don't grill out if there is a strong wind. 
Don't overuse the charcoal starter fluid or the chemical taste will transfer to the food along with the chemicals it contains. 
Keep food refrigerated until the last possible moment when it goes on the grill. Promptly refrigerate any cooked food that is left over, especially in the heat of the summer.

Another key is to keep things moving around on the grill. Turn the hot dogs frequently and move them to a cool area when they start cooking too fast or turn too black.

The key to successful grilling is to be prepared for any flame ups from dripping grease. Since the hot dogs are fully cooked to begin with, the timing and amount of grilling is really up to your personal preferences. If you've never grilled out before, don't worry. It's so easy even I can do it, seriously.

The Weber Original 22 inch grill has served us for nearly two decades. 

We've replaced the top grill once due to rust, and with a good cleaning, it's nearly the same as when we got it from Home Depot.
With the barbecue tongs in hand, I rule my smoky domain. All the best in your outdoor cooking. Happy grilling!


  1. Hot dog freak here, thank you for sharing

    1. Oh, Martin, I know what you mean. Sometimes I grill a couple of packs of hot dogs and save them for lunches during the week. Yummo!

  2. You made me so hungry. Can hardly wait for grill season.

    1. Me, too, Rasma. I can hardly wait for warmer weather to cook outside.

  3. Come on, Summer...after our snowfall last weekend :(

    Oh how I love a hot dog with ketchup and raw onions...mmmmm

    Great work, dear Peg. Love, Maria

    1. Mmmm. Hot dogs. Can't wait for the summer breeze. Thinking of you. Snow? Oh, my. Soon it will be bugs.
      Love, Peg