Introduction: Perfect Hotdogs: the Spiral Cut Dog

Picture of Perfect Hotdogs: the Spiral Cut Dog

Do you enjoy grilled hotdogs but bemoan the fact that only the outside is crispy? Well lament no more, for there is a way to grill your dogs and have them crispy(er) too. Popularized about a year ago (at least that's when I noticed it on my radar) this method for cooking hotdogs exposes more surface area to be crisped and caramelized during cooking. So read on to discover how to turn the mundane hotdog into something exciting.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
  • Hotdogs - Beef, chicken, pork, mystery meat. Ballpark, fancy, plain, Polish. There are so many styles and any will work.
  • Skewers - Wooden or metal it doesn't matter as long as they are longer than the dogs.
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Hotdog Fixings

Step 2: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

Grab a dog and a skewer. Slowly push the skewer through the center as best you can. They tend to be a bit wobbly so you may have to back it out a little and recenter a couple of times.

When you have the meat skewered, place it on the cutting board and grab your knife. Starting with the blade resting on the skewer, just above the top of the hotdog, begin making an angled cut all the way through to the skewer. Continue down the length, turning the dog as you go, cutting to the skewer. Finish the cut completely out of the end.

Remove the skewer* and set aside the hotdog. You can use the same skewer to cut all of the dogs.

*See Step 4 for an alternate method.

Step 3: Fire Up the Grill

Picture of Fire Up the Grill

You should cook the hotdogs normally, just be aware that they will probably take less time since there is more exposed surface area. Also they are weaker due to the cuts so take care while turning them. Also watch for flames to spring up due to grease and juices from the cuts dripping onto the grill. Not necessarily a bad thing but it will significantly decrease the cook time. To help get the insides crispier, try to carefully expand the coils to expose the cuts.
I used a funny little hotdog holder we found somewhere. It actually worked pretty well, although the ends cooked faster then the middle, probably due as much to my grill as the holder.

Step 4: Alternate Method

Picture of Alternate Method

This is essentially the same except when you finish cutting each hotdog leave it on the skewer. Then, simply grill them on the skewers, remembering to stretch the coils at least a little.
This is a good method if you are trying to cook a number of dogs at once and don't have a little holder contraption as they are easier to turn and won't fall apart as easily compared to putting them straight on the grill..

Step 5: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

One other bonus of the spiral cuts is that they hold condiments and toppings well so load 'em up, or just go simple and really enjoy the crispiness and caramelization. Also because of lost grease drippings a spiral cut dog will be marginally healthier.

P.S. It may or may not be worth it to post a picture(s) of your favorite way to eat spiral dogs. ;)


Wiggelstick (author)2014-08-23

Sooooo...this is a lifechanger. This eliminates the end bites of the buns with not hotdog in it.

qewt (author)2013-09-10


burtonrider (author)2013-08-16

This is, pardon my French, bitching! It adds so much more

dbarr1 (author)2013-07-28

Ever since I found us, we've been spiraling our hot dogs. Well, actually, just slashing them on both sides - or even making lengthwise slits. Either way, thanks for adding to the enjoyment of a cookout. These hold more mustard, too.

bwrussell (author)dbarr12013-07-30

Glad you enjoy them. I'm guessing slashes or slits maintain a little more structural integrity, at the cost of a little surface area. Something to keep in mind if you have a meat blend that isn't holding together well with the spiral. Thanks for the tip.

AtlantaTerry (author)2013-06-23

Some people like to boil hot dogs when cooking for large groups. To add flavor, dump in some beer. The kiddies will not get drunk because the alcohol evaporates but the flavor remains. Back in the late '70s I managed a restaurant in a weekend indoor flea market and cooked all of our hot dogs that way. The aroma really attracted customers!

dbarr1 (author)AtlantaTerry2013-07-28

Nice idea! You remind me of a cookout where we were soaking those huge marshmallows in Triple Sec. The fire lifted off the alcohol, but left the flavor. Unfortunately, a 15-year-old girl discovered how nice they tasted raw - and ate 8 of them.. At least, if she was with grown-ups (albeit distracted ones) when she got that first buzz we all get. :P

AtlantaTerry (author)dbarr12013-07-28

When I was in the US Air Force back in the '60s my late mother would send me home made rum balls during Christmas. All the guys I worked with thought they would get a buzz from the rum. LOL! They didn't know that the alcohol baked off leaving only the rum taste behind.

Thanks, mom!

jinjelle (author)AtlantaTerry2013-06-23

Like this idea. I have been doing spiral hot dogs for about a year now. I go through annual hot dog cravings, usually beginning in June or so, along with about 4 oz. of beer to sate my concurrent beer cravings, but have never heard of this. I use YUMMY gluten-free "Redbridge" brand beer. I wonder if it will work with this. What a GREAT idea! Thank you.

billbillt (author)2013-07-07


jptrsn (author)2013-07-02

My father used to do this when we were kids. To cut the spiral, he would rest the hot dog on the cutting board, put the knife at an angle, and roll the hot dog as he cut, creating a nice smooth even spiral. He was good enough that he didn't use a skewer (although sadly I did not inherit his culinary abilities)... Cool 'ibble. I had forgotten about that.

dlauren (author)2013-06-24

Great Idea

dgateley (author)2013-06-23

I want a machine that does this. :-)

bwrussell (author)dgateley2013-06-23

Working on it.

clazman (author)bwrussell2013-06-23

Yes, possible two rolls to support the doggy and a constant force (spring or gravity) roll on top with a helix defined blade.

dgateley (author)clazman2013-06-23

Dammit it pisses me off when I make a comment, hit the wrong button (Add Comment) and it just vanishes! Trying again.

What I want is just a tubular thing with a hole in the top you stick it in and a hole in the bottom where the result drops out. All hidden and safe from fingers that aren't stuck directly in it.

I have a serious reason for wanting this. I have false choppers and biting with incisors through a thick skinned dog springs them loose top and bottom. Anything that reduces the force needed to get through and tear some off would be a godsend to a dog lover like me.

jsan618 (author)dgateley2013-06-24

Take a pice of PVC coupler or pipe of the size needed for the dog or braut. use a dremel and cutting wheel to make a slot at 30 deg. Cut the PVC half way thru the PVC.
Next place a sharp knife, I use a razor knife blade, and hold it in the PVC slot
Take the dog on a skewer, start it thru the PVC and twist it. Note that the 30 deg cut in the PVC allows the blade to just touch the skewer.
As you twist the skewer it will spiral the dog and it comes out the other end!
(Insert bad joke here)
Enjoy, I can do a bag of dogs in a couple of minutes.

Try spacing the cut dog out a little on the skewer, fill the space with jalapeno cheese or just cheese. Roll in wax paper and chill for a hour. Dip in corn dog batter and deep fry.

bwrussell (author)dgateley2013-06-23

That's pretty similar to what I've been turning over in my mind.

clazman (author)bwrussell2013-06-23

Yes, possible two rolls to support the doggy and a constant force (spring or gravity) roll on top with a helix defined blade.

Or, instead of the roll mounted blade, an Exacto (hobby) knife controlled with a pair of stepper motors. One to control the pitch of the helix and the second to control the depth of cut which obviously also is a percentage of the dogs diameter, which is also is monitored by the third rolls position relative to the other rolls.

I need to patent this... Why am I explaining it here!!!!!

Then, incorporate the dough injection system right behind the blade.

Sembazuru (author)2013-06-23

I recently saw on the FoodWishes blog this technique using Italian Sausage. The trick (according to Chef John) with the soft-filling type sausages is to par-boil them first. That firms up the filling.

Check out Chef John's ramblings about this technique at

bwrussell (author)Sembazuru2013-06-23

Good tip.

dustyroadz (author)2013-06-23

I like your idea, gonna try it.

Lorax98 (author)2013-06-23

The metal skewers also transfer heat to the center of the meat to speed cooking the "middle".

clazman (author)Lorax982013-06-23

As long as there are heat collectors at the ends. Opposite of cooling fins.

SpaceRat (author)2013-06-23

If you want a wonderfully flavored hotdog, try boiling them in Crab Boil Seasoning (available online from several sources). Spicey!

You can even boil them in crab boil, then put them on the grill. Awesome!

kelli_enkeli (author)SpaceRat2013-06-23

that sounds good :)

Katie5757 (author)2013-06-23

Boiling 3 minutes is essential, to destroy any bacteria, then grill. Microwave also, but you need to maintain high heat for the 3 minutes, during the resting time.
Never eat a hotdog crispy on the outside and cold inside.

Wheatridge (author)2013-06-23

Great idea. Thanks

jinjelle (author)2013-06-23

Surprise! You do; it's called "your hands." ;->

AJMansfield (author)2013-06-23

Also known as "The Adjustable Hot Dog"

AtlantaTerry (author)2013-06-23

The word is "Polish" as in the country whereas "polish" is how you shine your shoes.

That scratched-up cutting board is a good way to get sick, bacteria loves to hide in cracks and grooves such as those. Be sure to sterilize it with bleach prior to every use.

bwrussell (author)AtlantaTerry2013-06-23


xMSIx (author)2013-06-23

I've tried this before and I can say that your hotdogs will taste 10 times better if you use this method to cut your wieners. The downside of doing this is that it takes quite long to cut 20 wieners perfectly, but if time isn't a problem then do it.

simmkath (author)2013-06-23

I will definitely fire up the grill and do this!

wlgoode (author)2013-06-23

Amazing you're using my favorite type of hot dog!

fibonacci112 (author)2013-06-23

My wife and I love hot dogs on the grill and this looks simple and fun. Can't wait to give it a try.

mcshawnboy (author)2013-06-23

Nice! I just visited a church in my area & they're having a picnic next week! I've got a pack of bamboo skewers in my cutlery drawer too! Do I soak them to prevent burning as when usually used on the grill? Thanks! :)

bwrussell (author)mcshawnboy2013-06-23

If you plan on keeping the wood skewers in then you will need to prep and use them as you normally would.
Let me know how it goes!

Daniel Zf (author)2013-06-23

I believe if you have enough wood(bamboo) squewers you can leave em on, just remember to wet 'em so they won't burn up, and they will add a nice touch (flavor) to your wienner.. no pun intended

bwrussell (author)Daniel Zf2013-06-23

Yes, you definitely could keep them in.

ToolboxGuy (author)2013-06-23

Nice! A fun way to make hot dogs longer than the buns!

bwrussell (author)ToolboxGuy2013-06-23

Haha, yeah we've taken to cutting the hotdogs in half and tearing the buns at the joint and eating them open-face.

monty324 (author)2013-06-22

Would this work with ''real'' sausages ( Cumberland, ECT ).

bwrussell (author)monty3242013-06-23

As long as the filling can hold itself together when you cut the casing. Just give it a try, I'd love to hear how it goes.

oddartist (author)2013-06-23

I've been doing something similar for 20 years. I do the spiral cut but only enough to cut through the casing (skin) and maybe up to a quarter-inch deep depending on the size of the sausage. It helps to cook a lot of the grease out of hot dogs, hot links, garlic sausage, and brats.
Saves on pain too because you don't get that hot grease explosion with your first bite - you know, when you end up with 3rd degree burns on your chin.
If you don't cut so deep you don't need the skewer to hold it together.

vegasrandall (author)2013-06-19

you can put a noodle of dough wrapped in the slit and then it cooks with the dog.

monty324 (author)vegasrandall2013-06-22

Drooling from the mouth.

bwrussell (author)vegasrandall2013-06-19

A built in bun! That's clever, I like it.
You would lose the extra surface area to crisp though.

mnmama (author)2013-06-19

Corkscrew doggies.....great idea. I'm thinking this would be awsome on good Polish or Brats too, cut down on some of the grease. Would have to watch out for flames when the fat drips though. Love the snappy, caramelized bits, thanks for sharing.

bwrussell (author)mnmama2013-06-19

Yeah, I'm guessing if it's hotdog shaped it would be delicious.

That's a good reminder about the flames. I can confirm that they do flare up a lot more when cooking spiral dogs. I'll add a note to that effect.

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Bio: Why buy when you can DIY? Educated a Mechanical Engineer and trained as a classical cellist I consider myself a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, dabbling ... More »
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