If you are craving burnt ends, but don’t have the time to smoke a brisket, give this alternative recipe a shot. You won’t be disappointed in Hot Dog Burnt Ends! Best of all, it takes just a fraction of the time!
🍽️ Why This Works
Easy – Seriously, this appetizer recipe doesn’t take a lot of know-how! It is essentially smoke the hot dogs and then make a tangy BBQ sauce.
Scalable – I needed to take a party tray to a football party, and it was super easy to just buy a few more packages of hot dogs.
Everyone Loves it – This is not an exaggeration! I had a bunch of toothpicks for folks to pick out one or two for their plate, but they emptied the pan in record time! I know for next time to double the recipe. This will be a huge hit for your next party!
Hot Dogs – I used Nathan’s Beef Hot Dogs, but grab whatever variety you want. I only used two packages, but in hind sight, I should have bought more.
Dry Rub – Meat Church’s all purpose Gospel Dry Rub was a safe selection. Use what spice you have on hand, or go for one of the classics. To get it to bind to the hot dogs, mix the franks with some yellow mustard.
BBQ Sauce – Sweet Baby Ray’s is my go-to BBQ sauce. It never lets me down.
Teriyaki Sauce – We wanted the sauce to be a bit sweet and a bit tangy. The Teriyaki sauce mixes well with the BBQ sauce and then the brown sugar was added to pull the two sauces together.
Butter – You can never go wrong with adding a stick of butter! It makes everything taste better!
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Ziploc Bags – This is my not-too-secret favorite grilling accessory. I added all the hot dogs to a bag and added some mustard to serve as a binding agent for the BBQ rub.
Disposable Aluminum Pan – Since I was taking these to a friend’s house for a ball game, I did all the grilling in this pan. It is disposable, so I didn’t have to worry about bringing it home and cleaning.
Glass Bowl – I found it easier to use a glass bowl to mix all of the sauce with the franks. You could do it in the disposable pan, but this was easier.
Wood Chips – This is a great recipe for a bold wood like mesquite, hickory or oak. If you aren’t sure you’ll like the smoky flavor, stick with a more mild variety like cherry, pecan or apple. For more detailed discussion, check out our wood pairing cheat sheet.
Step One: Add the hot dogs to a Ziploc Bag and squeeze in some yellow mustard. The mustard is thick enough to stick to the franks. Work it around in your hands to slather it and make sure they are evenly coated. Give it a good shake for good measure. You really don’t need a lot.
Step Two: Sprinkle the dry rub on the hot dogs. They should be liberally coated.
Note: You won’t taste the yellow mustard after they smoke. I don’t understand the science behind it, but the flavor of the mustard completely disappears! If you know the answer, please leave a comment below.
Step Three: Preheat the grill or smoker to 250°F. Add wood chips to great a nice, gentle smoke. This is a good time to use a bold flavor like mesquite or hickory. We have a more in depth article on smoked hot dogs if you want to keep a few for the kids.
Step Four: Add the franks straight on the grill grates or add them to a wire rack and let them smoke for about 1 – 1½ hours. You’ll notice them darken nicely.
Step Five: Remove them from the grill and slice each hotdog into four pieces.
Step Six: Add the hot dog pieces and the remaining ingredients into a glass bowl and stir to coat thoroughly. Scoop the hot dogs out of the bowl and into the disposable baking pan.
Note: Don’t pour the entire bowl into the aluminum pan. There will probably be some excess sauce, and that will pool on the bottom of the pan.
Step Seven: Turn the grill’s temperature up to 350°F. Place the pan on the grill and let the coated hotdogs cook for another 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice. You’ll see the sauce start to caramelize and become sticky. That is PERFECT!
Step Eight: Remove from the grill, let stand for 10 minutes and then serve the hot dog burnt ends warm. I found it best to use toothpicks for your guests to take their portions.
❗ Expert Tips
Check the pan to excess sauce. If you notice the sauce pooling, remove it. The sugars will not caramelize well if it is a “soup.”
Smoke more hot dogs than you think you need. It is no more work to add another package or two, but then you’ll have plenty for your guests.
If using a Kamado grill, keep the plate setter on for the entire cook. You’ll need it for the smoking, and then just open the top and bottom vents to increase the temperature for the second half of the recipe. A pellet smoker like Traeger or Recteq, is easier to dial in the temperature.
Gas grills can be configured for indirect heating by only using the outside burners. You may want an aluminum smoking box to provide the smoke.
Instead of heating up the grill to 350°F and finishing the recipe there, you can set your oven to the same temperature, add the disposable tinfoil pan filled with the hot dog burnt ends, and let them cook for 30-45 minutes.
These can be refrigerated for a day or two, but I really haven’t had to test that out. These are one of the first snacks to be devoured at our game days.
You can smoke the hot dogs in advance. That is the most time consuming part of this dish and you can definitely do it a day or two in advance. After they have smoked and cooled, place them in a tightly sealed Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. When you are ready to make the burnt ends, just take them out and add to the mix.
Traditional burnt ends use smoked brisket (beef) or pork belly with a sweet rub and barbecue sauce, and this delicious twist on the recipe if definitely kid friendly.
Mix up the sauce. This is infinitely customizable. Pick your favorite BBQ sauce, add some hot peppers, or throw in some molasses or maple syrup. I think it tastes bests when you combine spicy and sweet, or tangy and sweet flavors. Keep it fairly mild if your kids will be snacking on them too.
There are several different varieties of hot dogs to choose from. We chose an all-beef variety from Nathan’s, but definitely use your favorites.
For another serving option, consider using some tiny buns like the Hawaiian Rolls or potato rolls and having your guests make their own sliders. Include some lettuce, pickles, bacon and onions for them to stack. Heck, grab some standard hot dog buns and put a few in the crease and serve.
🥨 Serving Suggestions
These are a fun game day treat! If you have the smoker going already, try some Smoked Cheez Its. These are a crunchy snack that are always a hit.
If you try those, add some Smoked Pretzels to the grill as well. They are packed with garlic goodness!
A nice Smoked Trout Dip is a crowd pleaser as well. You can use salmon too, if you don’t have any trout.
When looking for a side dish, run and make the Smoked Mac and Cheese! Truly one of a kind. Creamy and dreamy all in one bite.
after smoking the franks, mix with a sauce and then turn up the heat to 350 degrees to caramelize the sugars. This will make the sauce sticky and so delicious!
Traditionally, this recipe was made with the point of a brisket. This part of the cut takes a lot longer to cook and break down the connective tissue to soften the meat. This lengthy process is associated with the term “burnt ends.”
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Hot Dog Burnt Ends
- Disposable Aluminum Pan
- Ziploc Bag
- 2 packages Hot Dogs beef
- ¼ cup Yellow Mustard
- ⅛ cup Dry Rub
Burnt End Sauce
- ¼ cup Teriyaki Sauce
- ¾ cup BBQ Sauce
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Butter
- Place the hot dogs in a large Ziploc bag. Add the mustard and work the bag until the hot dogs are evenly coated.
- Sprinkle the Dry Rub on liberally.
- Preheat the grill to 250°F using indirect heat. Add your favorite wood chips. I used Hickory.
- Place the hot dogs directly on the grill grate and let them smoke for 90 minutes. They will have darkened nicely.
- Remove the hot dogs and cut them into quarters.
- Place the smoked hotdogs and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir well, ensure the hotdogs are coated. Scoop the mixture into a disposable aluminum pan, making sure not to add any excess sauce.
- Bring the grill's temperature up to 350°F. Place the pan on the grill and let them cook for 20 minutes.
- The sauce will become sticky as the sugars caramelize. Stir a few times and remove.
- Let this rest for 10 minutes before serving.