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A friend of mine butterfly cuts (in half lengthwise without separating) his hebrew national hot dogs before grilling them.

I don't notice a difference in flavor and didn't perceive a decrease in required grill time. Is there anything gained by butter flying a hot dog for grilling?

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I have no idea what "butterfly a hot dog" means, and Google doesn't tell me. Do you mean that the sausage is cut lengthwise in halves? – rumtscho Jun 16 '12 at 15:34
@rumtscho that's exactly what I mean. – ahsteele Jun 16 '12 at 15:51
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Butterflying a hot dog (or any similar sausage) has two effects. First, as the moisture inside the hot dog expands during cooking, causing the casings to frequently burst due to the pressure that builds up. When you butterfly a hot dog the this is prevented. Such blistering does not 'harm' the hot dog but are somewhat 'unsightly', so I would call this an aesthetic effect. The second effect is that it allows the hot dog to cook through more evenly. Particularly for those who prefer their hot dog well done butterflying can get the insides cook through without charring the outside.

[Edit: found something interesting to add...] If you want to impress your friend with something different, try spiral cutting your hot dog.

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Butterflied sausages can also be served on rolls like a sandwich instead of needing hot-dog buns. – Yamikuronue Jun 16 '12 at 21:27
Blasphemy! Blistering is a positive aesthetic :-) – derobert Jun 16 '12 at 22:36
Beauty is in the eye, and the mouth, of the beholder. ;) – Cos Callis Jun 16 '12 at 22:39
You could also cut skin-deep'vents' along the side, for similar reasons (usually two or three, diagonally). But agreed w/ derobert - a little blister and char builds character. – hunter2 Jun 28 '13 at 6:43

Butterflying also exposes a greater area of the surface to the grill's direct heat, leading to browning and smoky flavor.

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Some people slice hot dogs lengthwise in an effort to make them a little safer for children. Hot dogs are a choking hazard for kids, so the idea is to make the pieces in each bite smaller and easier to chew. I don't know of any research that demonstrates that slicing lengthwise is effective, but since pediatricians recommend cutting hot dogs into small pieces for little kids, it seems a step in the right direction even for not-quite-so-little kids.

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