Loving hot dogs have become a passion of mine. Whenever I have my friends over, which is pretty often, grilled hot dogs are a must.
But usually, I make so much that I end up with a lot of leftovers that get wasted. So, one day, I said to myself:
At that moment, I decided I was going to start freezing my leftover grilled hot dogs to avoid wasting any more of this appetizing fast food staple.
But can you freeze grilled hot dogs?
Of course, you can freeze grilled hot dogs! Did you know you could use your frozen grilled hot dogs for up until four months’ time? Yes! They’re entirely safe to eat for that long if you freeze them properly, avoiding issues that could make them inedible.
How to Properly Freeze Grilled Hot Dogs?
I’ve been exactly where you are right now! Sorting through all the articles on the internet for the perfect technique that would work specifically for you.
It can get overwhelming, just as it was for me. But after many trials and errors, I found the method that actually helped me.
Hold on! I’ll get into it in a bit.
Before I start with the freezing, I’d like to share the recipe I use to grill my hot dogs. Now I wouldn’t say that it’s my recipe because I did get this off of the internet.
But I also made some tweaks to add my own flare to the recipe. So I’m going to tell you how I do it, but without the buns.
Let’s look at the ingredients, shall we?
- Hot dogs (as many as you want to make for the time being or for freezing for later)
- Soy sauce
- Heinz ketchup
- Red wine vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Chili sauce
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Sesame chili oil
- Brown sugar
First, make the marinade using up all the ingredients listed above. Then, I make a few angle cuts along each hot dog, which can be around 6 to 8 cuts.
Now mixing all hot dogs in the marinade, I let them marinate overnight in the refrigerator or for about 20 minutes if I’m on a time crunch.
The next day or after they are well-marinated, I preheat the grill on high heat, taking out the hot dogs.
Now, time to grill!
I cook each side of the hot dogs for about 3-4 minutes, depending on how tender they are on the inside. And I let them sear a bit on the outside.
Sometimes, I make a small cut on one of them to check if they’re cooked. But once you grilled the first batch, you’ll know when it’s done without doing so.
All that’s left to do is serve them piping hot!
I didn’t know the importance of cooling down your food before freezing them. And I just did it because I saw my mother doing it.
There’s actually a reason behind this. Putting your food straight into the freezer can increase the temperature of the freezer slightly, causing all the other frozen foods to start to thaw a bit.
And why’s that so bad?
The slightly thawed food will start to refreeze once the temperature goes down again. And that causes the cells of the food to break down and lose moisture.
In short, they will lose their flavor profile!
Not letting your hot grilled hot dogs cool off before you freeze them can not only make them lose their nutritional value but also help with bacterial growth, which is harmful to your health.
How long do you cool your food down before you start freezing them?
You need to cool your grilled hot dogs down to room temperature by setting them aside for an hour or two.
Tip: Check the temperature with a thermometer and make sure it’s around 70 degrees Celcius, which is safe for the freezer.
You can certainly go ahead without this step if you want to, but I feel like it’s a very important part of the freezing process.
The whole point of flash-freezing is to keep the nutrients of your food intact. Such a process can save your food from freezer burn, which is the ice crystals that form around your frozen food.
These ice crystals could easily alter the taste and texture of your food and even decrease the nutrient value.
So you lose the flavors when you don’t flash freeze!
But by what method?
Yes, you can’t attempt an industrial-level flash freeze at home. But you can keep your hot dogs in somewhat good condition through the process I’m about to share with you:
- Get as many pieces of baking sheets or trays as you need for the amount of grilled hot dogs you have in your possession.
- Put each piece of hot dog on a sheet or tray in a way that not a single one can touch the other. Otherwise, they will stick together.
- Place the tray in your freezer, making sure they are levelly set in there.
- Keep the hot dogs there for an hour or two or until they are hardened.
- Then take them out to bag and freeze properly.
You can use plastic bags, plastic containers, clingfilm, or even aluminum foil for storing your grilled hot dogs in the freezer.
I, however, use freezer-friendly plastic bags with zippers because I find them to be the most useful among the others.
For what reason?
It’s vital that you don’t let your hot dogs stay in contact with air while they’re in the freezer. The more air there is, the more chance of them freezing down to the ice crystals I warned you about.
And with plastic bags, you can skillfully get out all the air, which you can’t with the other items.
First, divide the hot dogs into portions you mean to use most times, and bag them in small plastic zipper bags.
Then just apply enough pressure on the plastic bag with your desired portion of hot dogs inside it while trying to seal it with the zipper.
Or, you could try my trick!
Get yourself a vacuum sealer, which is inexpensive, easy to use, and gets the excess air out even better and faster.
“To err is human.” So we might sometimes forget which date we started freezing our food. I mean, it has happened to me before!
So the easiest way to deal with this is to label each plastic bag carrying the hot dogs with the date of freezing.
There’s not much to this step, but you need to take care of one thing just to say on the safe side of things.
Make sure that your freezer is maintaining the right temperature.
Freezers are prone to fluctuating temperatures, which you don’t want happening when you freeze your hot dogs.
Before you put your bagged and labeled grilled hot dogs in the freezer, set the temperature to 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Now you get to enjoy properly frozen grilled hot dogs every time you crave them!
Thawing Frozen Grilled Hot Dogs
You’ll be glad to know that you get to pick one of these methods to thaw your hot dogs, depending on how much time you have on your hands:
- Refrigerator Thawing: I do this one every time I plan on having my hot dogs the next day. Simply take out one of the plastic bags and throw them in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. But if you don’t have that much time, you could just keep them in the refrigerator overnight.
- Thawing in Cold Water: This is a really fast method, but you might have to put in a bit of effort for this one. Take your plastic bag from the freezer and put it in a bowl of cold water, submerging it. You could simply use tap water if it’s cold enough! Change the water every thirty minutes for about 1-1.5 hours. It could take less time too!
- Thawing in the Microwave: You might think this process could hurt your hot dogs, but it really doesn’t. As long as you plan on reheating them right after they thaw in the microwave or, instead, reheat them in the microwave, you’re good to go!
Go with any of these methods to properly reheat and enjoy your frozen grilled hot dogs:
- Oven: Let your oven preheat to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you get on with other tasks. Place your thawed hot dogs in an aluminum foil, making a pouch to seal in the heat. You can add a bit of olive oil to rehydrate your meat a bit. Now bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or till the hot dogs are piping hot through and through.
- Non-Stick Skillet: You don’t necessarily need to add any oil to your skillet unless you prefer it. Just set the flame on low heat and keep turning the hot dogs for about 10 minutes till they’re completely hot.
- Sauce Pan: Just like with your skillet, heat the hot dogs for about 10 to 15 minutes in a saucepan. It could take longer or less time, depending on when they get thoroughly heated. You could add a bit of water or spray a small amount of olive oil to rehydrate your probably dry hot dogs.
So can you freeze grilled hot dogs? Yes, you can freeze grilled hot dogs if you follow the proper methods and enjoy the tasty fast food within 3 to 4 months.
I did not get the process right the first few times. So my hot dogs didn’t taste great at first. But I found the way that worked for me eventually.
So don’t give up, and switch things up if you need to!