Of all the foods you can cook on a grill this summer, one of the most basic just has to be a hot dog. Unlike steaks, fish, or even corn-on-the-cob, those popular and kid-friendly “dogs” are pretty much impossible to mess up. Really, the only danger is losing track of time and burning them!

The downside to this easy cook-out staple? If it’s difficult to mess up something so simple, it seems to follow that it’s also pretty difficult to improve them. Sure, you can play around with toppings, or switch to all-beef, turkey, or veggie versions, but at the end of the day, a hot dog’s just a hot dog— right?

Turns out, that assumption is wrong, wrong, wrong! There is a way to grill them up even better, and it doesn’t even require you to be an expert in barbecuing. All you need to do? Spiral cut those dogs.

As you can probably tell, we already love hot dogs on the grill, but this trick we learned from Chow might make us love them a whole lot more. By spiral-cutting your hot dogs, you up your hot dog game more than you’d think, and the reasons why you should do so are about a lot more than just aesthetics. Keep reading to learn the easy way to do and why you should do it in the first place, then check out Chow’s video demonstration below.

How to Spiral Cut a Hot Dog

That spiral cut might look like you need professional experience in food carving, but it’s actually really simple, we promise. All you need is a wooden skewer for each hot dog, and a knife.

  1. Start by skewering each hot dog with a wooden skewer, directly through the center of each one. Don’t worry if you mess up while piercing the wobbly food and send the skewer out through the middle; according to Chow, hot dog meat is really forgiving. Just back the skewer out and start again.
  2. Hold your knife at an angle. Begin to slice the hot dog, going all the way down to skewer. At the same time, roll the dog away from you, so that the cut forms a spiral around the hot dog. Cut all the way to the edge.
  3. Pull the skewer out, and grill the dogs as you normally would!

Easy! Seriously. It sounds more complicated than it is; once you watch Chow’s demonstration below, it’ll all click.

Why You Should Spiral Cut

“OK,” we can hear you saying, “That’s fine and all if ‘looks cool’ is a priority for you, but I’m no hipster. Why should I do this when I can just throw them on the grill as they are?”

Excellent question, friends, and one with several answers:

  1. They cook up super straight— “straight as an arrow,” in fact, according to Chow.
  2. You get an even char on all sides of the hot dog. No more weird cool spots when you bite into one!
  3. You also get more surface area, creating more crispy and caramelized areas on your meat.
  4. They fit better in your average hot dog bun!
  5. The cuts form crevices perfect for catching and holding all your favorite hot dog toppings.

Still not convinced? Then we’ve got to encourage you again to watch Chow’s video and see these spiral-cut hot dogs in action.

So what do you think now? Will you be spiral cutting your hot dogs from now on? Have you ever seen this trick before, or something similar? What are some of your favorite tricks for cooking hot dogs?