Should You Be Seasoning Your Hot Dogs? I Tried It, and Have Thoughts

A hot take on hot dogs!



Hot dogs are a favorite grill food, they appeal to the masses and take zero prep. But TikToker Jill Castlen, better known as Mama Jill on the social media platform, broke the internet a few weeks ago when she shared a video saying she seasons hot dogs before grilling them. “Apparently it’s controversial and apparently I’m weird,” Castlen says in a TikTok that’s been viewed more than 1.5 million times. “My saying is literally it’s not seasoned till you’re sneezing, but everybody’s surprised that I season my hot dogs before we grill them.”

“If you’ve never had seasoned, grilled hot dogs,” she continues, “start doing it.”

How Do You Season Hot Dogs?

Castlen goes on to explain she seasons her hot dogs with whatever seasonings strike her fancy, using Italian salad dressing to get it to stick to the franks. “My kids would never eat hot dogs until I started cooking them this way,” she says. “My kids have now been begging for them.”

There’s just one more rule to seasoning your dogs, according to Castlen: get all-beef hot dogs. “Beef hot dogs are incredible," she says.

The popular content creator has posted follow-up TikToks about her unique way of cooking hot dogs. In a video where she shows the finished product, she proclaims, “they taste mmmmm,” after trying one. “It’s a game-changer, I’m telling you,” she says.

Weeks later, Castlen was back on the seasoned hot dog grind, walking followers through another night of grilling in her home. “Last time this caused so much controversy,” she says in the video. “If you don’t like your hot dogs seasoned, don’t season them, but the grill does not season them to me, okay?”

I Put Mama Jill’s Hot Dog Seasoning Technique to the Test

My family lives in a Florida beach town where the weather is warm enough for grilling most of the year, so we’re often found in our backyard grilling everything from hot dogs to steaks. When I saw TikTokers recreating Castlen’s seasoned hot dog recipe in their own videos, I knew it was a summer grilling trend I had to try.

Always a rule follower, I picked up beef hot dogs on my weekly grocery shopping trip. Seasoning the all-beef franks was easy. About an hour before we planned to grill, I coated them in Italian salad dressing, then shook a steakhouse seasoning blend on top. Getting the seasoning to stick to the hot dogs was a bit tricky, so after rolling the hot dogs in the dressing and seasoning, I sprinkled a bit more seasoning on top.

My husband said grilling the hot dogs worked no differently than non-seasoned ones. When they were ready, they looked delicious with their coating of seasoning and the marks left by our grill. We couldn’t wait to bring them inside, put them into buns and try them out.

The Verdict: Should You Season Hot Dogs?

Seasoning our hot dogs truly took a summer grilling classic and elevated it to the next level. Even before taking a bite, the franks had a more appetizing aroma than ever from the steakhouse seasoning and Italian dressing. The taste did not disappoint: Everyone at my dinner table was an instant convert to seasoned hot dogs.

I’m team Mama Jill on this one. Seasoning hot dogs is a great way to add some extra flavor. The next time we grill hot dogs, we plan to mix things up, splitting some between a garlic citrus seasoning we love and hitting others with whatever strikes our fancy from our spice cabinet.