How to Smoke Hot Dogs

This barbecue smoked hot dog recipe takes one of North America’s classic grilled foods to a new level. Slow smoked over oak wood, find out how to smoke this summer favorite the right way.

Four hot dogs getting nicely done on a charcoal grill

Learning how to make tasty hot dogs changes the game for any BBQ, bursting with flavor and leaving your guests in awe.

Luckily, the process is simple, requiring a smoker, wood chips, seasoning, and your choice of hot dogs, and copious amounts of condiments.

Read on to learn how to smoke hot dogs and our smoked hot dog recipe.

smoked hot dogs in bun

Best Kinds of Hot Dogs for Smoking

Not all hot dogs are the same. Different brands come with different flavors and textures, and not all hot dogs are suitable for smoking.

The best kind of hot dogs best for smoking are the following:

  1. Hebrew National Beef Franks: Most popular for smoking, with excellent flavor and grill marks
  2. Nathan’s Skinless Beef Franks: Second favor amongst smoked hot dog enthusiasts, as these franks are plump and juicy
  3. Ball Park Franks: Favorites amongst crowds, such as baseball games
  4. Kirkland Signature Beef Hot Dogs: Costco’s juicy hot dogs for smoking and grilling
  5. Applegate Natural Uncured Beef: An organic choice with no nitrates; most expensive
  6. Oscar Mayer Classic Beef Franks: Soft and slightly smoky
  7. Trader Joe’s All Natural Uncured All Beef Hot Dogs: Dense and meaty that packs a punch
  8. Niman Ranch Fearless Uncured Franks: Mixture of beef and pork, with a mild, sweet, and juicy flavor

A few alternatives include:

  • Trader Joe’s Uncured Turkey: A solid choice for those who want turkey with no nitrates, although these are not as juicy as other hot dogs
  • Lightlife Veggie Hot Dogs: Tastes like a hot dog, but with a much softer texture

In general, aim for high-quality with little to no artificial flavors.

Spicy hot dogs are brewing on the bbq

Best Wood for Smoking Hot Dogs

To achieve that juicy, smokey flavor, get the best wood for smoking hot dogs, including apple, cherry and oak. Some people blend different woods, like apple and cherry, or cherry and oak to get a stable balance of color and smokiness. However, be sure to avoid harsh woods like hickory (source).

Time & Temperature

Smoking hot dogs require patience, including a balanced temperature to evening cook the hot dog and allow it to absorb flavors. On average, the best temperature to smoke hot dogs is 225°F.

Usually, it takes about 60 to 90 minutes to smoke hot dogs. The average time it takes to cook a hot dog is just one hour, but you may need to wait longer depending on the type of hot dog, smoker, wood, and other ingredients.

Check to make sure the hot dogs are finished by testing the temperature. Ideally, you want them to reach an internal temperature of 155°F.

What to Serve Hot Dogs With

Smoked hot dogs taste delicious by themselves, but adding condiments can give it an extra kick. Some simple condiments to serve with hot dogs are:

  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Relish
  • Coleslaw
  • Chili
  • Onions
  • Jalapeño
  • Mayo
  • Cheese

If you want to make things interesting, try these combinations:

  • Avocado and bacon
  • Pickles, onions, tomatoes
  • Caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms
  • Salsa and avocados
  • BBQ sauce and onion rings
  • Buffalo sauce and blue cheese
  • Chili, cheese, potato chips
  • Onions, peppers, cheese
  • Fries (curly, cheese fries, regular or seasoned)
  • Baked beans, bacon, or mac and cheese

Overall, let your imagination run wild to get the best out of your smoked hot dog. You can even try making smoked hot dog burnt ends for something really imaginative.

How to Smoke Hot Dogs

Begin the process of smoking hot dogs by following these steps:

  1. Make sure the hot dogs are room temperature for easy smoking.
  2. Open up the hot dog package.
  3. Pour dry rub seasoning or other seasonings of your choice into a plate. For a mix of spicy and sweet, a dry rub is preferred. Spread the seasoning evenly.
  4. Roll the hot dogs in the dry rub, not missing any part of the hot dog.
  5. Lay your hot dogs in a sheet pan, bowl, or Bradley rack to carry to the smoker easily.
  6. Fire up your smoker and preheat it at 225°F. For 15 to 20 minutes, allow the smoker to maintain 225°F before putting in the hot dogs.
  7. Fill the water pan. Optionally, you may add sliced onions or gloves of garlic for aroma.
  8. Put in your wood chips, preferably applewood, cherrywood, or oakwood. You may use other wood choices you desire, as mixing wood chips is okay for balance.
  9. Place hot dogs on the rack, and allow them to smoke for 60 minutes. If it isn’t ready, allow for an additional 30 minutes (90 minutes total). When in doubt, grab one from the rack and take a bite. If it’s hot enough, they’re good to go!
  10. Insert the hot dogs into any bun with your favorite toppings. If you’re having a gathering, put condiments out separately for people to decorate their smokey hot dog to their preference. Enjoy!
Four hot dogs getting nicely done on a charcoal grill
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5 from 4 votes

Smoked Hot Dog Recipe

This barbecue smoked hot dog recipe takes one of North America’s classic grilled foods to a new level. Slow smoked over oak wood, find out how to smoke this summer favorite the right way.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, BBQ
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Hot dogs
  • 1 Sliced onion optional
  • 3 Garlic cloves optional

Dry Rub Seasoning

  • ½ tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 ½ paprika
  • ½ garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • condiments of choice
  • hot dog buns

Instructions

  • Add cherrywood, applewood, or oakwood chips to the smoker (or your preference).
  • Fill the water pan, optionally adding garlic or onion slices for aroma.
  • Place the water pan back into the smoker, and preheat the smoker to 225°F.
  • Add dry rub seasoning or other options into a plate, and roll the hot dogs in it until completely covered.
  • Place hot dogs in a smoke rack.
  • If the smoker maintained a 225°F temperature for 20 minutes, put in the rack with the hot dogs.
  • Cook for an hour, until hot dogs are thoroughly cooked, or have an internal temperature of 155°F.

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