Here's Why You Should Never Bother Boiling (Or Parboiling) Hot Dogs

Have you ever wondered if you have to cook a hot dog before you eat it? Chances are, you don't because most hot dogs you buy in a store are already fully cooked. That is one of the many reasons hot dogs are so great. They are convenient because they are quick and easy to prepare, but whether or not to cook them (and how you should do it) has led to some debate.

So how do you know if your hot dogs are pre-cooked? It will say so right on the package. Even if the hot dogs are pre-cooked, it is generally not recommended to eat them cold because they could contain bacteria. Heating the hot dogs can help rid bacteria that may be lurking. If you're in doubt about whether a hot dog is cooked or not, it's always best to err on the side of caution and cook it thoroughly before eating, but don't bother with boiling them. That can destroy the flavor. There are better ways to cook your franks, like poaching.

Poach, don't boil, your hots dogs

There are several ways to cook a hot dog, but the most popular method is grilling. Grilling a hot dog adds a smoky flavor and gives the hot dog a nice crispy exterior, but if you want your hot dogs to have the crispiest outside, you should bathe them in a beer wash or marinade. You should never boil your hot dogs, though, as that can take the flavor out of the meat.

To get the crispiest skin, take some advice from Elias Cairo, owner of Olympia Provisions, a handcrafted meat store. In an interview with Today, Cairo said that he simmers hots dogs in a shallow pan of water for three to five minutes before grilling them. This allows the franks to warm up, so they cook thoroughly once on the grill, and it gives them a crispier skin. Chef and cooking school instructor Candace Conley does something similar, according to Insider. Conley says she poaches the dogs by warming water in a saucepan, removing it from the heat, placing the hot dogs in the water, covering them, and letting them sit for a minute or two.

Poaching works for other cooking methods, too

If you prefer to pan-fry your hot dogs, this method can also help make your franks crispier and tastier. Simply warm butter or oil in a pan as you poach the hot dogs. Then, move the poached dogs to a skillet and cook them on medium heat for about five to seven minutes or until heated all the way through.

Of course, some people prefer to eat boiled hot dogs. If this is your favorite method of cooking franks, you can use the poaching method to help retain some flavor. Place the dogs in hot water for about five minutes. Then, use tongs to remove them from the water. Place them on a paper towel-lined plate and pat them dry before putting them on your hot dog buns. This keeps your bread from getting soggy. One final tip about cooking hot dogs: Since most are already pre-cooked, there is no need to cut them open when you warm them. Keeping the hot dog intact will help keep its flavor.