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The Frank Truth About Hot Dog Machines

Hot dog machines can help your concession stand, convenience store, or small foodservice locaiton generate extra revenue. Your customers will be more inclined to purchase other snacks and drinks to round out their purchase since most people don't see hot dogs as a snack but more of a main course of a meal, even if the meal is quick service fare.

There are many types of hot dog machines and bun warmers. Below is a quick rundown of the differences.

Hot dog machines are used at a variety of events and settings including concession stands, convenience stores, and delis. Most machines are designed for the counter top and are popular for inspiring impulse sales.

Types of Machines

Types of Hot Dog Machines

Hot dog steamer

Hot dog steamers are easy to use and maintain. They keep product fresh and do not require a large amount of time or attention. An added benefit is the steamer’s ability to cook hot dogs in as little as 10 minutes.

Hot Dog Roller Grills

Commonly found in self-serve areas of convenience stores, roller grills are usually placed toward the front of c-stores to encourage impulse sales. These grills cook hot dogs in under 10 minutes and hold as much as 75 hot dogs. It is suggested that a sneeze guard be placed in front or around the machine for hygienic purposes.

Bun Warmer

Bun warmers are purchased separately from hot dog machines and warm the bun to a specific temperature. The user is able to control the temperature and some machines incorporate a hidden dial feature to prevent others from tampering with the heat. Depending on size, bun warmers have a capacity of 144 buns and can range in temperature from 80° to 200°F.

Hot Dog Steamer / Bun Warmer Combo Unit

Hot dog machines are often constructed as a hot dog / bun steamer or a roller grill / bun warmer. This design improves cooking time since the hot dogs and buns are prepared simultaneously. These combinations can hold up to 300 hot dogs and 50 buns.

Capacity and Size

The capacity of hot dog machines vary depending on the manufacturer and size of the unit. For example, a 13”W X 22”D X 13”H hot dog steamer/bun warmer can hold 30 dogs and 50 buns. While a 18”W X 15”D X 16”H machine can cook 170 hot dogs and 18 buns.

Energy Source

Most hot dog machines use electricity to operate and require no ventilation system.


Hot dog machines are made out of stainless steel. Manufacturers choose this material in order to improve the durability and overall life of the unit.

Cooking with a Hot Dog Machine

Hot Dog Steamer

When preparing a large amount of hot dogs with a steamer, make sure to power the machine at least an hour before your event starts. Doing this allows the steamer to heat up and thoroughly cook the hot dogs.

The steamer well can be filled with water or solutions such as beer, chicken or beef stock. Fill the well below the steamer rack to prevent the liquid from bubbling up into the hot dogs. Once the liquid boils, turn down the temperature before placing hot dogs in the unit.

Allow the dogs to steam until they reach a minimum internal temperature of 63°. Buns should then be placed in the steamer for about 10-15 minutes before the event.

Hot Dog Roller Grill

Preheat the unit for 10 minutes and allow the grill to heat up to 90°. Place hot dogs on the grill and cook until they achieve a minimum internal temperature of 63°. Once cooked, hot dogs can be served immediately or remain on the grill for up to 2 hours.


Hot Dog Steamer and Bun Warmer

  • After use, unplug the machine and empty the water inside the steamer.
  • Use a gentle cloth to wipe down the unit. Clean each piece separately in soapy water.
  • Solutions such as dish washing liquid and stainless steel cleaner are sufficient cleaning agents for most stainless steel hot dog machines.
  • Dry all surfaces and remove any remaining moisture.
  • Roller Grill

  • After use, unplug the grill and let it cool. While waiting, fill a bowl with water and detergent.
  • Use a soft cloth or sponge to remove grease, crumbs, etc. from the outside of the unit. Then, remove the drip pan and let it soak in the bowl or sink.
  • Use a sponge to scrub the roller casing. Feel free to use more abrasive materials on the casing if tough stains remain.
  • Once the entire machine is clean, allow for the unit and drip pan to dry.
  • Manufacturers

    ACityDiscount offers a wide array of hot dog machine manufacturers including Star Manufacturing, Food Machinery of America, Nemco and AJ Antunes.

    Recommended Optional Products: Installing a sneeze guard is strongly recommended for hot dog roller grills.


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