I am guilty. I have to admit it – there have been times that I have implied or made reference to a hot dog on a stick as being boring, uninspired, and unworthy of camping fare. It is no secret that I love cooking easy camping meals (usually in my dutch oven) that rival meals at home. In my haste to encourage readers that they too can cook real food at the campground, I’ve overlooked the simple joy and yummy flavor of the traditional hot dog on a stick.
To be honest, I think a hot dog on a stick cooked over a campfire tastes pretty good!
And I know many newbie campers want that traditional experience of cooking hot dogs on a stick over the campfire. And yes, us seasoned campers still like the experience too! I know it is a fun tradition to share with my grandkids now.
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What Exactly is a Hot Dog on a Stick?
In a camper’s life, a hot dog on a stick is exactly that. A hot dog on a stick that is usually cooked over a campfire. Imagine juicy hot dogs, either simply warmed over the fire. lightly browned, or charred black.
People have hot dog preferences like they do roasted marshmallow preferences. Warm, browned or black!
Other people may call a corn dog a hot dog on a stick. You know, those hot dogs on a stick that have been dipped in a corn bread batter then deep fried at the fair. Or the frozen variety you can buy at the grocery store that you can pop in the oven on a cookie sheet and bake.
There’s also a fast food restaurant chain in the western US called Hot Dog on a Stick that serves corn dogs!
But for the sake of this article we are talking about those tasty hot dogs cooked on a stick over our fun campfire.
What Do You Need to Cook Hot Dogs on a Stick When Camping?
One of the great things about cooking hot dogs on a stick when camping is that it doesn’t take much or anything fancy to cook them.
You will need:
- Hot dogs – that’s obvious! ?
- Hot dog buns
- Your preferred toppings – ketchup, mustard, diced onions, relish, slaw, chili etc..
- A “stick” – a thin, sturdy stick with sharp point, a heavy duty coat hanger, or a “real” roasting stick.
And that’s it!
How Do You Cook Hot Dogs Over a Campfire?
It is really easy to cook hot dogs on a stick over the campfire. The simplicity is one reason it is so popular.
Step One: Build your campfire
- Gather tinder – dry leaves, small twigs, pine needles, dryer lint
- Find kindling – small branches about 1 inch in diameter or split some firewood for kindling
- Get fuel wood – regular pieces of firewood
- Use a designated fire ring/fire pit
- Lay down a base of tinder
- Stack kindling on top of tinder
- Light your tinder and kindling
- Add your firewood
Step Two: Prepare your stick
You will need to prepare your stick. If you are using a roasting stick that you purchased, this step is done!
There are tons of different roasting sticks you can purchase. You can get single or double prong, telescoping handles, wood, plastic or wire hand grips – you name it.
Roasting sticks are affordable and great to have for smoked sausages and marshmallows too. Check out some great roasting sticks here.
If you are going to use a real stick, look for one that is thin enough to go in your hot dog but sturdy enough to hold the weight of the hot dog. If you select a stick that is too long and thin, the weight of the hot dog will cause it to bend into the fire.
After you have found your stick, check that the end is pointy enough to pierce your hot dog. You may need to whittle a sharp point on the end.
Sometimes you can find a stick that forms a V at the end and create two prongs. This makes it easy to poke the hot dog in the side to cook.
Keep in mind that a real stick can burn over the fire, so be careful.
Step Three: Put hot dog on stick
Now it is time to put your hot dog on the stick. You can either poke the stick in the end of the hot dog vertically or through the side of the hot dog so it is horizontal. Two prong roasting sticks work good to poke into the side of the hot dog, but you can also poke the side with just one prong or a regular stick.
If you are poking the side of the hot dog you can often cook more than one hot dog on a stick at a time. A two prong roasting stick works great for this.
Step Three: Cook your hot dog
Now you can cook your hot dog over the campfire. Hold the hot dog over the flames, turning frequently to cook all sides.
Try to be careful turning your hot dog stick. Depending on the kind of roasting stick you are using and how far your hot dog is on the stick, your hot dog can slid off the stick into the campfire.
As the hot dog cooks, you should see “hot dog juice” or grease start to bead on it. Yum Yum!
It will only take about 3 – 4 minutes to cook your hot dog over the campfire.
If you like you hot dog browned or even charred black, hold it in the flames for just a little bit. Keep your eye on it as it can burn quickly. I know some people like burned hot dogs!
Don’t worry if your campfire has burned down and is smoldering instead of flaming. You can still warm your hot dogs over it. The wood coals stay hot for a long time.
Step Four: Add your toppings
Now that your hot dog is cooked you can add your favorite toppings. Ketchup and mustard are classic toppings that are easy to bring camping. Some people like diced onion, relish, slaw, chili etc.
I even like mine plain!
Yummy Campfire Hot Dogs
Well, that’s it! I told you that campfire hot dogs were easy to make. Hot dogs on a stick are also great to make at home at your backyard fire pit. Let me know if your family likes to make hot dogs on a stick when camping or at home too.