If You Must Cook A Hot Dog In The Microwave, Add Water

Are you a college student who's up at one in the morning and could really go for a hot dog? Do you have a package of hot dogs that you want to use up as quickly as possible? Are you a picky eater who loves the controversial combination of hot dog slices and ketchup? If you're any one of these, then you're probably one of the 9% of Americans who enjoy a good old microwaved hot dog.

Now, contrary to what you may think, we have nothing against microwaved hot dogs. It's a utilitarian meal for a complex world. In a world of pre-packaged dinners that seem too elaborate for just one person, it's the microwaved hot dog, basic and uncompromising, that fills you up and holds you over until dinner.

Just because a microwaved hot dog may be simple, however, doesn't mean you can't do your best to get the most out of it. What you should be focusing on is how to make your hot dog taste as fresh and hot as possible even if you're making do without the classic grill

Adding water ensures even heating

When you put a hot dog in the microwave, you probably do it on a paper plate. When you pull it out, however, the ends of the hot dog are hot, but the interior middle might be ice-cold. You could throw it in the microwave again but by the time the middle gets warm, the ends of the dog have busted their casings, making a greasy mess. You can remedy this problem by simply using a bowl of water.

Just take the cold hot dogs and put them in a bowl of water. When inside the microwave, the water boils, thus boiling the hot dog rather than "nuking" it as a standard microwave hot dog is made. This not only ensures that the hot dog is evenly heated, but it also helps to kill off any bacteria that may be present in the meat beforehand. It's recommended, however, that you do not reuse the hot dog water. It may be contaminated (or just dirty) so it's best to dispose of it and use a clean bowl with fresh water if you want to make more dogs.

You may have noticed this method before. Perhaps at a baseball game at the concession stand, you'd see a worker take a hot dog out of a big boiling pot of water, or a similar method employed by a hot dog vendor.

You can also use a paper towel

When microwaving hot dogs, if you opt not to use the water bowl, one simple hack will ensure that they will taste as plump and as juicy as they would taste on the grill.

As you microwave your hot dog, the moisture inside of the meat can effectively evaporate, turning what should have been a plump juicy frankfurter into a dried-up cylinder of flavorless pork, beef, and casings. Before you microwave your hot dog, take a paper towel and wrap it around the hot dog. The paper towel will help keep the steam and moisture from escaping, letting them be reabsorbed back into the hot dog and keeping it juicy. 

Aside from wrapping it in a paper towel or using the water trick, there's not much else you can actually do to improve a microwaved hot dog. Of course, once you've finished microwaving the hot dog, there are plenty of things you can top it with, whether it's standard mustard and relish or even something more unusual like mozzarella,  hot peppers, or even mashed potatoes and gravy.