Hot Dog Burnt Ends

Hot dog burnt ends are sweet, smoky, a little bit sticky, and sure to be loved by adults and kids alike.
hot dog burn ends

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If you are looking for a cheap and easy alternative to traditional brisket burnt ends, look no further. These Hot Dog Burnt Ends are a fun twist on a barbecue classic that won’t break the bank.

Most smoked meats can take hours of prep and hours on the smoker, but these Hot Dog Burnt ends are quick, easy, and can be made whenever the craving strikes with very little effort.

They only take about 90 minutes and the result is a sweet and smoky dish that can be served as a snack or appetizer at your next barbecue.

What are hot dog burnt ends?

Hot Dog Burnt Ends are simply hot dogs that have been smoked and then chopped up into pieces and coated in a generous layer of barbecue sauce and butter.

hot dog burnt ends on a white plate with toothpicks
Needless to say, these are pretty darn good.

Then they’re put back on the smoker for a little longer to get nice and caramelized. The result is a tasty bite of barbecue with a soft center and a nice sticky, crispy exterior.

The technique for this recipe is inspired by traditional brisket burnt ends which originated in Kansas City, not by a stroke of culinary genius, but to use the leftover portions of brisket that weren’t commonly served to diners.

Once the burnt ends were removed from the smoked brisket, they were tossed in a combination of barbecue sauce and a sweetener, such as brown sugar or honey. Then they would be thrown back on the smoker to let the sauce set and create the sticky and delicious delicacy known as BBQ burnt ends.

There are endless burnt ends variations

In recent years, different variations of burnt ends have been gaining popularity on social media and food blogs.

While you can argue whether or not these technically count as “burnt ends” there’s no denying the effectiveness of this technique. 

Here are some other great burnt end recipes to try:

The great part about using hot dogs to make your burnt ends is simply the amount of time they take to prepare. A brisket can take anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, but these hot dogs only take about 90 minutes to whip up!

What kind of hot dogs to use?

Hot dogs may not seem like the optimal choice for making burnt ends, but they really transform into a sweet and delicious treat that will surprise you.

The key to great hot dog burnt ends is to use quality hot dogs. I like to start with Hebrew National Beef Franks for my burnt ends. They are made with premium cuts of 100% kosher beef and you won’t find any artificial flavors, colors, or fillers. This makes them a great choice.

If you have a bit of time and a meat grinder you can always make your own hot dogs.

How to make Hot Dog Burnt Ends

1. Seasoning your hot dogs

The first step to making hot dog burnt ends is to season your hot dogs. I like to leave the hot dogs whole while they go through the first stage of smoking. If you prefer to chop them up ahead of time, I don’t think it would make a big difference, but I find it easier to leave them whole while they get that first layer of smoky flavor.

Some people like to use a mustard binder on their hot dogs – which is totally fine! I’m really more of an olive oil girl, just because it’s the binder that I use in about 90% of my cooks. I find that olive oil acts as a great binder for meat without adding any additional flavor.

jar of rub, packet of franks, bottle of olive oil on wooden chopping board
Using mustard as a binder can add another flavor to your burnt ends.

I’ve found that the easiest way to coat the hot dogs in olive oil is to just throw them into a medium-sized mixing bowl and drizzle the oil on top. You can throw on a glove and just give them a good shake until each hot dog is well-coated in the oil.

Then, you can add some seasoning. This recipe is extremely versatile and very forgiving, so you can use just about any barbecue rub that you like! Here are 10 BBQ Dry Rubs You Can Make at Home if you don’t have any store-bought rub.

For this recipe, I chose to use the Hot Honey Bee Sting rub by PS Seasoning. It’s a sweet honey rub with a little kick of chipotle flavor that I love to use on pork and chicken, but it also pairs perfectly with smoked hot dogs! Go figure!

seasoned franks on a wire rack
If making for adults and kids you could always do half in a spicy rub and half in a mild rub.

Once your hot dogs are coated in oil and seasoning, you can transfer them to a jerky tray or wire rack. If you prefer to smoke them directly on the grates of your smoker, that is perfectly fine too – I just like to use a rack because it makes them easier to transport and makes clean-up a breeze!

2. Smoke your hot dogs whole

You’re going to smoke your hot dogs for about an hour with the seasoning on them. You don’t want to smoke them at too high of a temperature because you don’t want them drying out, so I recommend setting your smoker at about 225°F.

seasoned franks on the grill
If you want a milder smoke flavor you could use apple or cherry.

For this recipe, I used my Camp Chef Woodwind 24. I set the temperature to 225°F and the smoke level to a Level 5 so I could really get some good smoky flavor on my dogs. For the pellets, I used Kingsford Hickory natural hardwood pellets.

After about an hour on the smoker, you can pull the hot dogs off, and then it’s time to make your burnt ends!

3. Making your hot dog burnt ends

cooked franks on a wooden chopping board
These look good enough to eat like this.

Lay your hot dogs out on your cutting board and chop them into pieces. You should try to get all the pieces pretty uniform in size, so they cook evenly, and I recommend shooting for pieces about 1½” long.

Now it’s time to make the sauce – this is really what transforms them from smoked hot dogs to hot dog burnt ends!

In a small mixing bowl, combine the barbecue sauce and butter with another generous sprinkle of whatever barbecue rub you used to season your hot dogs. Give it a good mix until the ingredients are well-combined.

metal bowl with bbq sauce, butter and bbq rub
The sauce is really what transforms them from smoked hot dogs to hot dog burnt ends!

Add your chopped hot dogs to the bowl and give them a good shake to ensure that each little bit is fully coated in that sauce mixture.

Pour the burnt ends and any remaining sauce into a disposable aluminum pan. If you prefer to use a baking dish or cast-iron pan, that is fine too – I just like making clean-up as easy as possible so I opt for the disposable tray every time!

franks and sauce in an aluminum tray
If you use a baking dish you could always line it with aluminum foil to save on cleaning up.

Place the tray of burnt ends back on the smoker and increase the heat to 350°F. The higher temp will help the sauce set and caramelize to give you the nice sticky, crispy finish that you want out of a great burnt end.

Let them cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through.

franks chopped and sauced in a metal tray

Once the sauce is caramelized and the burnt ends are sticky, they are ready to enjoy!

Hot Dog Burnt Ends Recipe

hot dog burn ends

Hot Dog Burnt Ends

Chunks of smoked hot dog slathered in a sweet caramalised bbq sauce.
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Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 334kcal
Author: Breanna Stark

Ingredients

  • 12 franks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or mustard
  • 2 tbsp bbq rub

Sauce

  • ½ cup bbq sauce
  • 1 stick butter melted
  • 1 tbsp bbq rub

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
  • Remove your hot dogs from the package and place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • Drizzle the olive oil on top and mix the hot dogs around until they are well coated.
  • Add the barbecue dry rub to the bowl and give the hot dogs another mix so they are seasoned evenly on all sides.
  • Transfer the seasoned hot dogs to a jerky tray (or wire rack).
  • Place them on the smoker for 1 hour.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.
  • Remove your hot dogs from the smoker and chop them into pieces about 1½” long.
  • Transfer the chopped up hot dogs to the bowl of sauce and stir them until each piece is well-coated in the sauce mixture.
  • Pour the hot dogs and any remaining sauce into an aluminum pan.
  • Increase the temperature of your smoker to 350°F and place the hot dog burnt ends back on the smoker.
  • Let them smoke for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce is tacky and caramelized.
  • Transfer the burnt ends to a serving tray and serve immediately.

Nutrition

Sodium: 737mg | Calcium: 40mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 433IU | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 154mg | Cholesterol: 61mg | Calories: 334kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Fat: 25g | Protein: 8g | Carbohydrates: 21g | Iron: 2mg
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