Hedgehog Hot Dogs Recipe

Grilling season is here. Transform the taste of your hot dogs with this new technique that results in an extremely crispy skin and more wood smoke flavor.

From "Project Fire"
June 2018

  • hot dogs
    The "hedgehogging" technique chars the edges of your hot dog during grilling and gives it a major boost of smoky flavor.
    Photo by Matthew Benson
  • Project Fire Cover
    “Project Fire” by Steven Raichlen provides boldly-flavored recipes and techniques for mastering the art of cooking with live fire.
    Cover courtesy of Workman Publishing
  • hot dogs
  • Project Fire Cover

Total Hands-On Time: 25 min

Preparation Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Yield: 8 servings

Project Fire: Cutting-Edge Techniques and Sizzling Recipes from the Caveman Porterhouse to Salt Slab Brownie S'mores, by Steven Raichlen is an indispensable guide for readers looking to master live-fire barbecue. Raichlen delivers readers step-by-step instructions to mastering essential techniques and provides 100 boldly-flavored recipes ranging from starters like bacon grilled onion rings, to grilled cocktails and desserts. The following excerpt is from Chapter 9, "Ground Meat."

You can buy this book from our store.

I always feel awkward about including a hot dog recipe in a cookbook. After all, hot dogs are the first food most of us grilled, and you don't need a cookbook to show you how. What special technique could I possibly bring to a food that's essentially ready to eat when it comes out of the package? Hedgehogging dramatically increases the ratio of crisp smoky crust to center meat. Tip o' the hat to Russ Faulk of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet for this singular scoring technique and the idea of grilling the hot dog buns with mayonnaise and remoulade sauce. He calls his version a "Po' Dog." Amen.


  • 8 best-quality all-beef hot dogs
  • 8 bakery-fresh hot dog rolls, preferably brioche rolls
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann's or Best Foods Vegetable oil for oiling the grill grate
  • Creole Mustard Sauce
  • Baby arugula or other micro-greens
  • 2 luscious red ripe tomatoes or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced


Can be grilled over charcoal, wood, or gas.


Lots of options for hot dogs here. Wagyu beef dogs (available from Snake River Farms) if you're feeling extravagant. Applegate if you want a natural nitrite-free hot dog. Hebrew National if you like the salty tang of tradition.

Insider tip: These hot dogs use a technique called "hedgehogging," in which you score the surface of the hot dogs in a crosshatch pattern. The edges puff and char during grilling, giving you an exceptionally crusty exterior and adding more wood smoke flavor. They also look cool as all get-out.


  1. Using a paring knife, make a series of crosshatch cuts on the surface of each hot dog, about 1/8 inch deep and 1/4 inch apart, on all sides. (This will expose more of the hot dog to the direct heat of the grill.)
  2. Slather the cut insides of the rolls with mayonnaise.
  3. Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well. Arrange the hot dogs on the grate. Grill until the exterior is sizzling, crisp, and browned, about 2 minutes per side, 6 to 8 minutes in all. While you're at it, grill the mayonnaise-slathered rolls until toasted, 1 minute per side.
  4. Slather the rolls with Creole Mustard Sauce. Add the hot dogs, baby arugula, and tomato slices, and any other condiment you may fancy. This may be the best hot dog you've ever tasted.

More from Project Fire:

You can purchase Project Fire from the GRIT bookstore.

Excerpted from Project Fire: Cutting-Edge Techniques and Sizzling Recipes from the Caveman Porterhouse to Salt Slab Brownie S'mores by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Matthew Benson.

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