Skip The Microwave And Start Deep-Frying Your Hot Dogs

Hot dogs may be one of the simplest foods to prepare. Already cooked, they merely need to be heated up before stuffing them into a bun and piling on the toppings. There are plenty of ways to achieve that flavorful end result — you can boil them in broth, water, or beer or you can fire up the grill and cook them. For a speedy method, you might turn to the microwave, but for a time investment of just a few extra minutes, you can get far more delectable results by dropping them into a steamy pot or pan of oil.

This particular cooking method is tried and true, particularly in New Jersey and Connecticut where devouring deep-fried hot dogs is commonplace. In fact, New Jersey is home to Rutt's Hut, credited for introducing the deep-fried hot dog known as the ripper in the late 1920s. If that name evokes some vivid imagery, you can probably guess how it was earned. As the hot dog cooks in the oil, the natural casing rips open, indicating it's ready to be removed from the pot. That is, unless you prefer it extra well-done, in which case you leave it for a little longer until the casing is charred.

The beauty of frying it is that the casing gets particularly crispy while the inside remains incredibly juicy. That's a textural contrast that definitely can't be replicated with a microwave.

How to deep-fry hot dogs

First, you'll want to start with the right hot dogs. Be sure they're thawed and that they have natural casings — if they don't, you're unlikely to achieve the same results since the casing's crispiness is the key to the unique texture. You'll want to choose a neutral oil like vegetable or canola oil and fill the pan with enough of it to submerge the hot dogs once the oil has been heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Just be sure to use tongs to avoid burns.

If you're only looking for a lightly browned version, the frankfurters can come out of the pan in a minute or less. For a more traditional style that's ripped open and crispy, give them two to four minutes to cook; for a blackened one, leave it for about five minutes. After they're removed, place the dogs on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess moisture and avoid having soggy buns or slippery condiments.

This method is quick and easy but there are a few extra ways to ensure you get the best results: Use a pan that's large enough and fill it no more than three-quarters of the way up with oil, and be sure to regularly check the temperature of the oil while cooking. Finally, to avoid splattering, pat any moisture off the hot dogs before dropping them into the oil.