Nothing says summer quite like a grilled hot dog with toppings—my favorites are sauerkraut, caramelized onions, and spicy mustard. While there’s no shame in simply opening a package of wieners and throwing them right on the grill, why not make your hot dogs even tastier? All you have to do is spiralize them—I promise it’s not hard and you don’t need a special tool!
Spiral cutting creates a hot dog that not only looks cool, it also cradles toppings so that they stay put and has just the right amount of crispiness all around. Here’s everything you need to know about why you should spiralize your hot dogs, instructions on how to do it, and a couple of other hot dog upgrades you can try.
How to Spiralize Hot Dogs
Spiralizing hot dogs is easy and fun. The method—demonstrated in this YouTube video by Chowhound—involves skewering the hot dog with a metal or wooden skewer and then twirling the hot dog as you slice around it on an angle with a paring knife, cutting all the way down to the skewer. Remove the skewer and you have a hot dog that looks like a spring or corkscrew.
If you are into power tools, you can try a variation on this method demonstrated in this TikTok video by Butcher’s Guide, using a drill rather than your hand to turn the hot dog.
The 3 Reasons You Should Spiralize Your Hot Dogs
1. Spiralizing gives you lots of crispy bits.
When you spiralize a hot dog, you increase its surface area and create edges all around. As the hot dog grills, you get more charring and crisping, which gives your dog lots of that smoky barbecue flavor you crave.
Even with the extra direct exposure to heat, spiralized hot dogs aren’t prone to drying out, so you get the best of both worlds: a hot dog that’s charred and crispy and also juicy.
2. Spiralizing creates crevices for toppings.
Spiral cutting your hot dog creates fabulous crevices that cradle all the toppings you want to add to your dog, whether you are a ketchup- or mustard-only fan or like all the fixings—onions, relish, sauerkraut, peppers, you name it. Nothing will slide off your hot dog. One reason you should definitely spiralize your hot dog for chili dogs.
3. A spiralized hot dog looks so fun.
Spiralizing takes very little effort but it makes your hot dogs look cool. Plus, a spiralized dog fills the bun from end to end and even enticingly sticks out over the edges—no one likes to bite into the bun without a hot dog, but I’d bite into a bunless hot dog any time.
Other Options With Similar Impact
Don’t feel like spiralizing? For similar benefits you can also score the hot dog, cutting slashes with a knife to create more surface area for crisping and pockets for toppings.
Another option is to split the hot dogs lengthwise, stopping short of cutting them in half, so the dogs are hinged on one side. Dan Zuccarello, Executive Food Editor for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen likes this method because it allows more surface area for charring, which, as noted above, makes for a more flavorful hot dog.
Whether you choose scoring, splitting, or—the very best option—spiral cutting, this quick prep before grilling your hot dogs will make you the weenie roast host with the most.