Give Your Franks the ‘Dirty Water Dog’ Treatment

Give Your Franks the ‘Dirty Water Dog’ Treatment

There are many ways to prepare and consume hot dogs, and I enjoy the entire spectrum. Give me a grilled dog, an air fried dog, a split or spiraled dog, a Costco dog, or a chilli dog. I will eat them all. I do, however, have a special place in my heart and stomach for dirty water dogs.

Dirty water dogs are those classic, iconic hot dogs you get from a cart on the street, usually in New York, though not exclusively. (My favourite dirty water dog cart growing up was run by a man named George who hung out near the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. Great hot dogs; interesting location.) The dogs are cooked and held in a vat of salty, seasoned water, and they are plump, juicy, and infused with flavour. But you don’t need your own cart, or even a large vat, to give your hot dogs a dirty water vibe.

I’ve made a sous-vide version of these before, but you don’t need that fancy of a setup to enjoy this infused frank. (It’s a cool party trick, however, if you want to make a whole bunch for a crowd and keep them warm for a few hours.) All you really need is a big pot, some red wine vinegar and a few choice seasonings, an optional pinch of curing salt if you want to mimic the “extracted nitrates” the dogs are exposed to in the vat, and — of course — some hot dogs (just make sure they’re not skinless).

Easy Dirty Water Dogs


  • 6-10 hot dogs, not skinless (if you want to cook more, just double everything below)
  • 950 ml of water
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • A big pinch (1/8th of a teaspoon) of ground cumin
  • A big pinch of garlic powder
  • A big pinch of ground nutmeg
  • A tiny pinch of curing salt (optional, to approximate all the nitrites you’d most likely find floating around in hot dog water.)

Add everything but the dogs to the pot, bring it to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer. Add the dogs, cover, and cook for at least 10 minutes. Remove from the burner and serve on steamed buns with your favourite toppings. (I won’t even judge you for using ketchup, if you’re into that kind of thing.)

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