How to Cook Hotdogs in a Skillet

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The word hot dog is used interchangeably to describe a type of processed sausage meat and one of the ways it's served. Made of all beef or a combination of pork, chicken and turkey, a hot dog or frankfurter typically weighs about 2 ounces and can be fried or boiled in a skillet. Hot dogs are made with artificial or natural casings that are caramelized during frying, sealing in their juices. Boiling the franks in a small amount of water keeps them moist, but contributes no other flavorings. Either process takes very little time and the hot dogs can be served the traditional way on rolls with condiments or as part of a meal.

Things You'll Need

  • Large skillet
  • Butter, olive oil or vegetable pan spray
  • Tongs or fork
  • Plate
  • Aluminum foil

Frying the Hot Dogs

  • Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add butter, olive oil or a light coating of pan spray. Place the hot dogs in the pan and leave enough space between them so you don't overcrowd the pan.

  • Poke a few holes in the casings to prevent the hot dogs from splitting, and cook them, turning often to expose all sides to the pan's bottom heat, until they start to brown, which takes about five minutes.

  • Remove the cooked franks to a plate and cover them with aluminum foil.

  • Using the same pan, add a bit more butter or oil. Saute thinly sliced onions and peppers in a bit of butter or olive oil until just tender.

  • Remove the pan from the heat and serve the vegetables as a topping for the hot dogs on rolls or on a plate, or keep them warm by covering with aluminum foil.

  • Add variety to the meal by cooking the hot dogs in a little butter or olive oil until they just start to brown, than pour some bottled barbecue sauce into the pan over and around the hot dogs and continue cooking at a low simmer until the sauce is heated through.

Boiling the Hot Dogs

  • Place the hot dogs in a deep skillet, poke a few holes in the casings to prevent splitting, add water just to cover them. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the hot dogs uncovered for about 5 minutes or until they are cooked through.

  • Remove the hot dogs from the pan and if you aren't sure they are completely cooked, test them with an instant-read meat thermometer. Look for a reading of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Serve the hot dogs immediately with the desired accompaniments or leave them in the pan set over very low heat until you are ready to serve them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hot dogs are served in many different regional ways, which include topping them with chili and cheese or with mustard, pickle relish and celery salt. Other popular condiments include sauerkraut, chopped onions, sliced tomatoes and coleslaw.
  • Hot dogs are actually fully cooked before they are packaged, and while they can be eaten raw, the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Services state that anyone who is at increased risk for foodborne illness, such as pregnant women, should cook them to the steaming hot point before eating them.

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