Learn how to grill hamburgers and hot dogs you ask? Sure. There’s nothing more american than slapping these two meats on the grill in the backyard. Honestly, when a cookout is mentioned or referred to in our society, the default picture is of a guy standing in front of a grill cooking up some burgers and dogs. Of course that doesn’t apply in every instance, but that image is burned into our national consciousness. It’s like how we always associate Thanksgiving with a good big ‘ol turkey.
It is important to realize how a traditional cookout is viewed. Because when you get ready to host one, people expect (among other things) to eat hamburgers and hot dogs. Yes, times have changed: nowadays, some guests won’t touch a hot dog if it has pork in it. Other guests may be partial to only bacon cheeseburgers, while two or three folks will hold out the entire night for a vegetarian dish. Yes the saying “you can’t please everybody” applies here.
As far as the food goes, a good rule of thumb is that the hot dogs feed the kiddies, while the burgers are mainly for the grown folks. Remember, that is more of a general guideline rather than a well defined rule. But whichever way you slice it, the best advice is to try to have more than enough eats for everybody. That said, the crafty grillmaster will have an oversupply of hot dogs – that way when the burgers are gone, it can be rationalized that all the greedy guests ate em all! Or so I’ve been told.
Grilling Hot Dogs
When it comes to grilling, there’s nothing easier than cooking hot dogs. Really, the trick is not to burn them up. Most of us that have been to more than one cookout have had the experience of eating charred franks. This normally happens because the cook got distracted for one reason or other and left them on too long. So the hardest part is not to burn the dogs. But of course you won’t do that because you’re learning how to grill the right way.
So here’s the deal; hog dogs are precooked by the time you buy them at the grocery store, so all that’s really needed is to reheat them. When I learned to cook, the first thing I did cook were the hot dogs, because they’re simple. All you do is take them out of the package and place em on the grill. It’s best to arrange your dogs over the coolest part of the grill since they will warm fast. These babies can cook up just fine on an open grill. Again, the key is not to burn them. So what you’ll do is turn the meat everytime you see the hot dogs start to blister, or bubble on the skin from the heat. Typically, turn them once and you’re done.
The total cook time is roughly 10 minutes or so, depending on how hot you’ve got your grill. Those hot dogs can cook in 5 if you’ve got the grill good and hot.
Hamburgers are a little trickier than hot dogs, and even these are simple to make. We are going to make our own patties instead of getting the precut packs from the store. This way, you can build a nice juicy burger that’s tailored to your specific tastes.
When taking the meat out of the package, you are going to form a nice size patty that is bigger than your bun. Make the burger patty about ¾ of an inch in thickness (not too thick, because grilling a thicker burger comes with more experience). Season them with salt and pepper for seasoning. Then splash some worcestershire sauce on top for flavor. Four dabs over each should be perfect.
On the grill, cook the patties for 5 minutes, turn and cook for another 5 minutes. The key to checking for doneness is to press down on the patty, but not to firmly (that will almost assuredly cause a flare up). When the juices run clear out of the patty, it’s ready. Depending on how you like your burger, you may cook it a little more rare. The key is to watch for flare ups. And that is it. Simple!
The cookout doesn’t begin until you grill hamburgers and hot dogs for your next party. With these tips, you won’t have any trouble at all. The only trouble you might have all the guest eating up the food before you get your share.
As always, stay safe, plan properly, and happy grilling!