Hot dogs aren't exactly haute cuisine. Staples of ballparks, boardwalks, and backyard barbecues, the all-American sausage on a bun is just as beloved for its convenience as its taste. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't put some thought into your hot dog preparation this summer. According to one expert, some hot dog recipes are superior to others.
Food52 writer and recipe developer Ella Quittner tested nine ways to cook a hot dog to determine which method yielded the ideal frank. Tested techniques ranged from fast and easy—like microwaving—to more labor-intensive—like slow cooking and boiling in beer.
The best hot dog-cooking method depends on the individual diner's personal taste, but Quittner had some clear favorites. For well-browned dogs, she recommends cooking your sausage on the grill or over an open flame campfire-style. Searing hot dogs on the stovetop also achieves that crispy exterior without the smoky taste.
The writer says that boiling frankfurters in beer results in a plump, juicy product that "tastes more like a hot dog than any other hot dog." Boiling them in plain water also lends hot dogs extra juiciness without the added flavoring.
Cooking dogs over four hours in a slow cooker was deemed the best way to recreate the ballpark experience at home. And though it may be quick, you should avoid the microwave method. This leaves you with a ruptured sausage and a tough outer casing. You can read the full step-by-step recipes for each method over at Food52.
After deciding how to cook your dog, you need to figure out how to eat it. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has an official etiquette guide for frankfurter consumption, which includes the best buns to serve them on and the correct order to apply your condiments. Here are more facts about the classic American food.