This ingenious way of cooking hot dogs has incredible flavor and will delight your guests. Smoked Hot Dogs are the best possible way to make this iconic American meat on a bun.
🍽️ Why This Works
Hands-off. Once you get the dogs on the smoker, you can walk away and enjoy time with your guests — or just finish up the party prep.
Unexpectedly good. Everyone knows the classic grilled hotdog or the steamed dog, but give someone a smoked hot dog and you will knock their socks off! This is an elevated hotdog with class and crazy flavor. Hands down one of the best ways to cook a hot dog.
Inexpensive. One of the things that make hot dogs the perfect party food is the fact that you can feed a crowd without breaking the bank.
📝 Ingredient Notes
Ball Park Beef Franks – A high-quality, 100% all-beef frank makes my favorite smoked hot dog. However, you can use turkey dogs as long as you go with quality as listed below.
Dry Rub – We used an all-purpose rub from Meat Church called The Gospel for our smoked hot dogs, but any all-purpose rub you have will work.
Buns and Condiments – Here you get to pick what you like! Grab top-loading buns, regular buns, or gluten-free buns. Make sure you have your family’s favorite condiments ready to go.
Hot Dog Brands
|Hot Dog Brand||Notes|
|Hebrew All Natural||No added nitrates except for those that are in the sea salt when they cure the dogs|
|Organic Valley||Uncured, grass fed, no added nitrates|
|Applegate Natural Stadium||Uncured, grass fed, no antibiotics, no added nitrates, gluten free|
|Oscar Meyer Classic Uncured (chicken, turkey and pork)||No added nitrates, no artificial preservatives|
|Applegate Naturals Turkey Dog||No added nitrates, no antibiotics, no fillers, gluten free|
|Kirkland Brand (Costco)||No by products, phosphates, fillers or artificial colors.|
|Oscar Meyer Turkey Uncured||No added nitrates, no artificial preservatives, no by-products|
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Smoker | Our family favorite is the Big Green Egg or the Traeger. These work perfect on the Masterbuilt, Camp Chef, Costco Smoker or Char Broil. If you have a smoker, it will work. If you don’t have a smoker, use your charcoal or gas grill with a smoker box to achieve the same results.
Sharp Knife | To score the hot dogs.
Instant Read Thermometer | For the perfect doneness every time.
Slot Dog | This is an optional (but VERY cool) tool to speed up making slot dogs. You stick your frank in the tool and press down. It creates evenly spaced cross-hatches with the less effort than slicing with a knife. I show you how to do it with knife, but this tool will certainly do it faster!
Step One: Score the hot dogs. I like to do criss-cross scoring. This is called cross-hatching and will speed up the cooking process. It also allows the smoke flavor to be infused throughout the meat.
Step Two: Place the scored hot dogs on a pan with edges.
Step Three: Season with your favorite all-purpose rub by pouring the dry rub into the pan and then rolling the hot dogs for even coverage. Make this dry rub in bulk to have it ready at all times.
Step Four: Place the hot dogs on a grill grate in your smoker and smoke for 60-90 minutes at 250º F. Your hot dogs are finished when the hot dog reaches internal temp of 155º F. Test them with an Instant Read Thermometer. You might think 60 minutes is too long to spend on a hotdog, but remember this process is completely hands-off!
Note: You’ll notice them open up along the score marks and that increased surface area will take on more of the smoky flavor.
Step Six: Serve hot.
❗ Recipe Tips and Tricks
Preheat your smoker for ten to twenty minutes so that it is 250º before you begin for best results.
Scale the smoked hot dog recipe as needed. You can smoke as many hotdogs as will fit in your smoker.
Try making a smoked side dish at the same time. For instance, you can make smoked potato salad in thirty to fifty minutes. Both of these dishes are hands-off, so you can set it and forget it until it’s time to eat.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
If you have leftover smoked hot dogs they can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to five days. Reheat them for a few seconds in the microwave or in a skillet.
Cut up leftover hot dogs to mix into mac-n-cheese, casserole dishes, or scrambled eggs.
Note: These freeze amazing! Use the whole pack on the grill and place any leftovers in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Label and stick it in the freezer. They defrost and reheat in the microwave nicely. It is great for busy days!
If you know you will be in a rush when it’s time to get the dogs in the smoker, score them ahead of time to get that step out of the way.
Mix up a dry rub for them if you don’t have some on hand. You can mix the rub and keep it in a sealed jar for quite a long time and this is something that can definitely be made ahead of time.
Additions and Substitutions
Use a BBQ sauce for a sweet and savory hot dog instead of a dry rub. Try Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ. Scoring the hot dog means it will grab more of the sauce. Wait to add the BBQ sauce until about thirty minutes into the smoking process so that it has time to caramelize without burning.
Wrap your hot dogs in bacon while they cook. Bacon dogs! Everything is better with bacon, right?
Try coating your hot dog in a thick liquid condiment such as dijon mustard or honey mustard before adding the dry rub for an interesting twist.
Hot Dog Condiments
|Ketchup||Diced Onion||Shredded Cheddar|
|BBQ Sauce||American Cheese||Pickled Jalapeños|
|Relish||Chili||Mac & Cheese|
|Sliced Avocado||Crumbled Bacon||Diced Tomatoes|
What to Make with Hot Dogs
Serve smoked hot dogs with smoked potato salad.
Make smoked beer brats for variety at your next party.
Try delicious hot dog burnt-ins for a surprisingly delicious treat.
Find more great hot dog recipes.
Classic bbq recipes call for Smoked Mac and Cheese.
Straight on the grill, a hotdog will be ready in under ten minutes. But if you have the time, smoked hot dogs are much better.
For beautiful results, smoke hot dogs for 60 – 90 minutes at 250º. If you score the hot dogs first it will take less time.
Most hot dogs will be ready in under ten minutes on a hot grill or in 60-90 minutes on the smoker.
I recommend oak, apple, cherry or pecan. You can really use any wood your heart desires. Some people find hickory smoke too harsh for scored hot dogs, but others love it. So pick your favorite smoke flavor and enjoy.
Yes! Our smoked hamburger recipe uses the same temperature as this one and takes about the same amount of time, meaning you can do both at once if your smoker will fit all the meat. I say go for it!
You can refreeze them as long as they didn’t get below 40 degrees and were in the refrigerator for only 3-4 days. If you thaw the hotdogs out on the counter or left them out for 2 hours, they are no longer safe to eat at all.
Unopened, they store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Once the packaging is opened, it is best to cook the dogs in 7 days.
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Smoked Hot Dogs
- Knife to make slots
- 12 Hot Dogs all beef
- ¼ cup Dry Rub
- Remove the hot dogs from their packaging. Use a knife to lightly crosshatch the skin of the hot dogs. As they cook, these crosshatches will open up and that allows them to cook a bit faster, but it also increases the surface area for the smoke.
- While they are still wet, sprinkle them liberally with your favorite dry rub. Make sure to cover all sides.
- Heat your smoker or grill to 250° and get a nice billowing smoke. I recommend using a fruit wood.
- Add the hot dogs to the smoker and let them smoke for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 155°.
- Remove and serve warm.