Want to make the best hot dog ever? Spiral cut it and char it on the grill. Here’s how and why to do it.
We first declared spiral-cut hot dogs a summer sensation in 2015, but they’re anything but old hat. Spiral-cutting your grilled hot dogs isn’t just for show (though it is a fun trick)—it creates more surface area, which means more caramelization and more nooks and crannies for your toppings to nestle in. Plus, the dogs cook up perfectly straight and will actually fit fully in you bun, if not overhang it (so no sad spaces of all bread left at either end).
While you can get by with simple tools—barbecue skewer, sharp knife—there are also products on the market that aim to make it easier on the less dexterous:
Curl-a-Dog Spiral Hot Dog Slicer, $4.65 from Amazon
Place your dog in the case, press down, and voila—no knives required.
Slotdog Hot Dog Slicing Tool, $18.13 from Wayfair
Yet another option that exposes more surface area.
Top your hot dogs however you please, and by all means, move beyond simple mustard and onions; Michael takes The Meatball Shop’s signature pesto and pairs it with sliced tomatoes for an Italian-inspired version. “There’s nothing mundane about pesto,” Daniel explains. “It says, ‘I’m fancy.'” Although Daniel loves Michael’s pesto combination, he’s all about the Chicago dog-inspired pickle, red onion, hot sauce combo. We say, you really can’t go wrong, any way you (spiral) slice it.
Dry Aged Beef Hot Dogs, 6 for $12 from Porter Road
Starting with great hot dogs makes this method even better.
Related Reading: The Best Hot Dogs & Hamburgers You Can Buy to Grill in 2020
Spiral Hot Dog Recipes
Check out some more spiral-cut hot dog recipes to make your summer even better, and some bonus recipes for homemade versions of all the classic toppings if you’re a traditionalist (and also a perfectionist).
Sauteed sweet cherries and spicy chile peppers meld with tangy balsamic vinegar for a fantastic topping that stays in place thanks to the helix shape of the spiral-cut dog. Grainy mustard pairs well with all of the above components. Get our Spiral-Cut Hot Dogs with Spicy Cherry Relish recipe.
A garden of crisp pickled veggies, fresh cilantro, spicy Sriracha, and creamy mayo make for a flavor bomb of a banh mi-inspired hot dog. Get our Banh Mi Spiral-Cut Hot Dogs recipe.
Related Reading: What’s Actually in Your Hot Dog?
Bacon and cheddar blanket this relatively simple but deeply savory spiral-cut hot dog. Load it up with whatever else you like, from caramelized onions to spicy pickle relish. Get our Spiral-Cut Bacon Dogs recipe.
Give the spiral-cut wiener a touch of Italian-American flair with this creation by The Meatball Shop: basil and spinach pesto lavished on a grilled dog, with a fan of sweet, juicy tomato slices. Get the Garden Pesto Spiral-Cut Hot Dog recipe. (For their Chicago-style spiral dog, forget the pesto, place the grilled, spiral-cut hot dog in the toasted bun, add 1/4 large dill pickle, cut lengthwise, 1/4 diced red onion, and Tapatio hot sauce to taste.)
6. Hot Dog Buns
What better way to cradle your superb spiral-cut hot dogs than in homemade hot dog buns? Milk, butter, and egg enrich this simple yeast dough, to yield soft, tender buns that manage to hold up to juiciness and all the condiments you want. Get our Hot Dog Buns recipe.
Store-bought “prepared” yellow mustard is a staple in most households, but with just a little planning, you can make your own mustard using ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Get our Spicy Yellow Mustard recipe. (If you like more rustic mustard, try our Beer and Caraway Seed Mustard recipe, or our Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard recipe.)
Sweet pickle relish has many fans, but those who think spice is nice should try making spicy slow cooker relish in their Crock-Pot. It’s just the thing for perking up a spiral dog. Get our Slow Cooker Spicy Relish recipe.
Related Reading: 15 Crock-Pot BBQ Sides You Can Make in Your Slow Cooker
Caramelized onions add a sweet and savory note to anything they top. Try them over grilled chicken, with blue cheese on your next grilled pizza, or on a spiral-cut dog. Get our Caramelized Onions recipe.
Since hot dogs pair so classically well with hamburgers, check out some non-traditional burger recipes to go along with these avant garde dogs, as well as 7 tips for perfectly juicy grilled burgers every time.