The Mess-Free Cooking Method For Easy Hot Dogs

While hot dogs are a staple at American barbecues and sports stadiums (Dodger dogs, anyone?), they originally came from Germany. And it turns out that weiner dogs aren't called dachshunds for nothing — according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, "daschund" is another word for "little-dog" sausage, which was the first known hot dog created in the 1600s. These sausages didn't make it to the U.S. until the 1800s, and in 1893, people in Chicago began coveting them as cheap, easy-to-eat foods, via Bar S.

So how do we eat them in America today? The classic hot dog is cooked, placed in a hot dog bun, and smothered in ketchup and mustard, although relish and grilled onions are other popular toppings. But as with many foods in the U.S., each region of the country has their own take on a sausage in a bun. Take a loaded Chicago hot dog, for instance, which uses a beef frankfurter, poppy seed bun, white onion, tomato, a dill pickle spear, celery salt, and sport peppers. Or a Seattle dog, which includes jalapeños, Sriracha sauce, and cream cheese.

However you choose to make your hot dogs, the first step of most recipes involves cooking the sausage. And while there's several ways to do it, this easy, mess-free method uses an appliance you probably already own.

Toss them in the air fryer

To make perfectly done hot dogs, all you need is an air fryer. According to The Spruce Eats, hot dogs only need five minutes in the air fryer to get nice and toasty, although you should turn them halfway through cooking. You can even toast the buns in the air fryer with the hot dogs — just place the sausages in the buns and air fry them for an additional two minutes. Make sure the hot dogs lie in an even layer in the basket, Everyday Family Cooking shares, and they should taste as good as if they were grilled.

Besides avoiding the mess that comes with other cooking methods, you can use air fryers to make hot dogs in the winter months, when you may not want to go outside and grill. If you don't have an air fryer, there are other ways to cook hot dogs inside, although they require a little more effort. You can make the sausages in the oven, in a pan on the stove, or even boiled in beer, Food 52 shares, which literally involves boiling them in a pot of beer for increased flavor and moisture. You can also make hot dogs in the microwave, but you'll need to check on them every 15 seconds, or in the slow cooker, although that can take as long as four hours (via AllRecipes). 

But for the fastest, simplest method, try tossing them in the air fryer.