Grilled Hot Dogs With Sauerkraut Recipe

Don't just throw your dogs on the fire! A two-stage cooking process ensures grilled hot dogs that are evenly cooked throughout on the inside and nicely browned and crisp outside.

Photograph and video: J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Nestling the hot dogs in a bath of sauerkraut, then slowly cooking them over the cooler side of the grill, ensures they're evenly heated through on the inside.
  • A quick final cook over the hot side of the grill gets the links browned and crisp.

For better grilled hot dogs that don't end up burst, shriveled, or woefully undercooked in the center and blackened on the outside, slow-cook them in a moist bath of flavorful toppings, then let them crisp and char on the hot side of the grate. Here, we apply the method to a classic, plain-and-simple combo of hot dogs and sauerkraut. For best results, look for hot dogs with natural casings.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 (1-pound; 450g) package sauerkraut, with juices
  • 2 pounds (900g) natural-casing all-beef hot dogs (such as Boar's Head or Dietz & Watson)
  • Buns and brown mustard, for serving


  1. Light 1 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

  2. Place sauerkraut and juices in a 10-inch-square disposable aluminum pan. (Alternatively, construct a tray out of a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil, 10 inches square, with sides about 2 inches high.) Nestle hot dogs into sauerkraut.

  3. Place tray on hot side of grill and cook until simmering, about 4 minutes. Slide to cooler side of grill. Cover grill, with vents over sausages. Cook with all vents open until hot dogs are heated through, about 10 minutes, turning once halfway through.

  4. Remove lid. Using tongs, remove hot dogs from sauerkraut and place directly on cooking grate over hot side of grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until well browned and crisp, about 3 minutes total. Return to sauerkraut. Toast buns over hot side of grill, if desired. Serve hot dogs with buns, mustard, and sauerkraut.

Special equipment

Grill, 10-inch square disposable aluminum pan, instant-read thermometer

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