Outdoor Hot Dog Roast

An outdoor hot dog roast is loads of fun for summer parties, 4th of July, or kids birthdays. Host a gathering where hot dogs are the main attraction and let guests roast them over an open fire or grill them up. Follow these tips, ideas and recipes for a great summer party at home.

table with man holding a hot dog surrounded by toppings, scooping out chili from a bowl.

Is there anything more fun or nostalgic than cooking hot dogs over an open flame? Bring those memories to life with a hot dog roast outside and cook them over an open fire, just like you did as a kid!

This is a terrific family party for Memorial Day, 4th of July, Father’s Day, or any weekend gathering. It’s quick and simple to set up and it’s interactive for all ages. Pair it with the ultimate hot dog toppings bar and you’re all set to entertain.

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Duraflame roasting logs in a fire pit with hand lighting it with long lighter.

What You Need

  • If you live in a rural area with plenty of land and space, you can build a small bonfire or campfire to cook over. Remember to surround the burning area with rocks, bricks or stones to contain the fire. Also helpful, is to dig a shallow hole to set the wood down into.
  • If you live in a suburban or urban area, you’ll need to use a firepit, an outdoor fireplace, or even a grill!
  • I prefer to use Duraflame® Campfire Roasting Logs to provide the fire. They’re easy to use, they’re safe for food, and you can keep them on hand so they’re there when you need them.
  • You could use real wood for roasting, but it must be untreated wood, and it needs to be dry. Damp wood will simply smoke as you try to burn it.
  • You’ll need to light the logs using a long lighter that lets you start a flame without getting too close.
  • A firepit tool set is useful to help you poke the logs around the pit when needed. It also includes a shovel to help with cleaning out the ashes of the firepit when completely cooled.
  • Long handled roasting sticks are essential. They have a telescopic arm so they keep kids at a safe distance from the fire. Plus, they are double pronged so they hold the hot dog securely. You can also use them for marshmallows and make s’mores for dessert!
two people out of frame, roasting hot dogs over a fire in a firepit.

How to Roast Hot Dogs

The wonderful thing about a hot dog roast is that it’s interactive and guests can make it their way!

Personally, I like plenty of char on the outside of my hot dog, but if you prefer it to be just heated through then that’s okay too.

  1. First, bring the fire to a steady flame so you know it’s nice and hot.
  2. Place the hot dog on a two pronged roasting stick and hold it just over the top of the flame to heat through.
  3. Rotate the hot dog every minute or so, until the outer skin is darker and crispy, and the center is hot and juicy. It can take a total of 2 to 5 minutes depending on your desired doneness.
  4. Place hot dog on a bun and add your favorite toppings.

Using a Grill

Heat the grill for at least 30 minutes so it’s nice and hot.

  1. For a gas grill, heat it on its highest setting. When ready to cook, turn it down to medium. Place hot dogs on the grate and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until grill marks form.
  2. For a charcoal grill, heat until the charcoal has an ash coating. Then, spread them out evenly and place the wire rack on top. Cook the hot dogs for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until grill marks form.

PARTY TIP: While hot dogs are technically already cooked, it is still recommended by the FDA to cook them through until they’re “steaming hot” due to processing.

bowls in the center of a dinner table, filled with hot dog toppings like chili, mustard, ketchup and relish.

Expert Tips

Everything can be done ahead so you have plenty of time to relax and get ready before the party.

Safety first! Make sure young kids are being supervised.

Once guests arrive you can light the fire and everyone can cook their own hot dog. It’s so much fun to do and makes for a lively gathering spot.

photo collage of summer food side dishes.

Good Side Dishes for a Weenie Roast

To make this even easier on the host, make it a potluck party so guests can contribute their favorite recipes.

  • To accompany a wiener roast, choose a couple of my best summer side dishes to make.
  • Create a seasonal fruit platter that requires no recipe and no cooking.
  • Prepare my favorite kettle potato chip nachos with blue cheese and balsamic glaze. They’re a terrific snack to munch on before dinner.
  • Step up your hot dog toppings game with these cookout party ideas and topping recipes.
  • For dessert, you’re already prepared with a campfire so you should definitely make s’mores! As an alternative, you can serve DIY ice cream sandwiches with soft cookies from the bakery section and vanilla ice cream.

Party Planning

  • This party plan is super casual. Set the table with melamine dishes and a paper runner.
  • Serve canned or bottled drinks from an ice-filled bucket or cooler. Include retro-style sodas, water, popular soft drinks, beer and wine. You’ll probably want to separate the non-alcohol from the adult beverages by using 2 ice tubs.
  • Forego a formal centerpiece and make the hot dog toppings the centerpiece instead. Use a plank board as a tray to hold all the bowls of toppings including ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, onions, pickle relish, shredded cheddar, and homemade chili.

Summer gatherings and summer entertaining doesn’t have to be complicated. Just set up a hot dog roast and a casual outdoor setting and let guest enjoy!

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  1. I can only think about chili dogs now. Who knew about the roasting logs? Thanks for the tip!

  2. Love all the easy and hassle-free details of this party, perfect for Father’s Day! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to our Sunday Link Party at Bird’s Party Blog!! Your gorgeous party is being featured this Sunday!! Don’t forget to stop by and link up some more fun party posts ♥

    1. Thanks Camilla. I’ve posted the salad recipe on the blog now. It’s so good!

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