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8 Tips For Cooking Hot Dogs On A Traeger

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Hot Dogs On A Traeger

Traeger wood pellet grills are versatile enough to both smoke as well as grill things like hot dogs. Though there are a few things you can do on a Traeger to make your favorite franks stand out from a sea of other tube meats.

The best results for cooking hot dogs on a Traeger starts with a temperature of around 375 to 400 degrees. Then lightly prick the casing with a fork to let natural juices flow out without ripping the casing.

Laying the hot dogs at a 45-degree angle on the Traeger’s primary grill grate will create visually appealing grill marks. Remember to rotate them after 3 to 5 minutes and continue grilling until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

When it comes to wood pellet options, Traeger’s Gourmet blend and Signature wood pellets do a good job of giving hot dogs a rich smoky flavor. There’s also a good argument to be made for apple, cherry, or hickory, not to mention the classic pairing of all-beef hot dogs and mesquite.  

 You can make hot dogs on a Traeger just about any time, but special occasions like the Fourth of July or having friends over to watch a ball game adds to the ambiance. Hot dogs are also a great way to scratch the itch for grilled food in the winter, as they don’t make a mess and cook quickly. 

How Do You Cook Hot Dogs n a Traeger?

While you can simply open up a package of hot dogs and dump them on your Traeger’s grill grates, you will get more out of them by following a few simple steps. Especially, if we’re talking about natural casing hot dogs where the skin benefits from a little snap!

Step One: Preheat your Traeger grill to 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have kids who prefer a more supple hot dog or you’re working with artificial casing wieners, you can dial the temperature down to the 325-to-350-degree range.

Step Two: Use a fork to likely puncture each hot dog with 4 to 8 tiny holes. This will reduce the risk of the hot dog ripping open over the heat.  

Step Three: Place the hot dogs on the Traeger’s primary grill grate at a 45-degree angle to give them some visually appealing grill marks.

Step Four: Let the hot dogs cook for 3 to 5 minutes before rotating them. This will spread the grill marks and further reduce the risk of ripping.

Step Five: Let the hot dogs cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

If you’re working with multiple batches to feed a crowd you might want to move them from your Traeger’s primary grill grate to one of the upper warming racks at 150 degrees. This will let them carry over without burning or drying out.

Optional Step For Warming Buns: A minute or two before serving, you can split your hot dog buns along their seams. Then lightly brush the interior with melted butter and place them cut side down on the primary grate.

This will give you soft, flavorful buns with just a slightly toasted edge. Great for times when you want to make a dog with a lot of wet toppings like chili, giardiniera sauce, or tons of relish.

Should I Cook Hot Dogs in Water Before Grilling on a Traeger?

A lot of wieners and hot dogs are made from lightly pre-cooked force meat. There’s no need to cook them in simmering water before bringing them to the grill. 

In fact, it could even cause the hot dog to split on the grill grates or prevent it from taking up the maximum amount of smoky flavor.

Should You Cook Hot Dogs on a Traeger?

Unless you have kids or dinner guests who don’t like grill marks and bold smoky flavors, a hot dog will always taste better on a Traeger than steamed or boiled in water.

The wood smoke or a Traeger grill not only accents the natural flavor of the meat inside the hot dog. It also creates grill lines that are visually appealing and give the hot dogs a classic seared meat flavor.

Wood for Smoking the Hot Dogs

Traeger’s Signature or a Gourmet blend of wood pellet does a good job of imparting smoky flavors to hot dogs. Though if you want to add a little character or depth of flavor, you might want to try using apple, cherry or hickory wood pellets.

There’s also a strong argument to be made for using Traeger’s mesquite wood pellet for grilling all-beef, natural casing franks.

Temperature for Smoking the Hot Dogs?

For natural casing hot dogs that you want to put a little sear on to create a little snap, you should preheat your Traeger to 375 to 400 degrees. Try to avoid going over 425 degrees as you might burn the casing rather than sear it.

If you are making skinless hot dogs or you have dinner guests who don’t like a hot dog with a snap, then a slightly lower temperature around 325 to 350 degrees might be better. This will give you a more supple hot dog with less snap or exterior sear.

Then you should check to make sure that the interior temperature of a hot dog hits 160 degrees before serving.

When Should You Consider Cooking Hot Dogs on a Traeger?

You can cook hot dogs on a Traeger anytime, but special sports events and holidays like the Fourth of July are synonymous with grilled hot dogs.

Grilled hot dogs are also a great way to scratch the itch for some grilled meat flavor during the wintertime. They only take minutes to cook on a Traeger and don’t leave behind a big greasy mess like hamburgers or marinated chicken tend to do.  

Final Thoughts

A Traeger grill does a great job of adding a smoky flavor to the natural casing, artificial casing, and even skinless hot dogs. Minding a few key details when cooking them will help your Traeger-grilled hot dogs stand out as being more than just ordinary franks!

This starts with preheating your Traeger to a temperature of 375 to 400 degrees. Gently pricking the casing two or three times with a fork provides an outlet for natural juices, while reducing the risk of the hot dog ripping open over the heat.

Then place the hot dogs on the Traeger’s primary grill grate, closest to the heat at a 45-degree angle. This will create visually appealing grill marks and give the hot dogs some added seared flavor.  

Roll the hot dogs to the other side after 3 to 5 minutes to mark the other side. Then continue grilling until each hot dog reaches an internal temperature of 160-degrees.

General purpose wood pellets like Traeger’s Gourmet blend and Signature are great for giving hot dogs a rich smoky flavor. If you want, you can experiment with apple, cherry, or hickory, to give your hot dogs a unique lilt, and flavorful sear.