This article describes how to find the best stick and prepare it for roasting hot dogs.
Image by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr
Nearly everyone enjoys the taste of a hot dog roasted over an open campfire. Some people prefer to roast these camp delicacies on metal roasting sticks thats were purchased before leaving on the camping trip. If you are a camping purist, you know that the only way to roast the best tasting hot dog or marshmallow at the camp site is with a wienie roasting stick that you have found and prepared yourself. Wienie roasting sticks are not difficult to find or make, but a few hints may make your efforts more successful.
Use a green limb from a tree to make your wienie roasting stick.
Avoid looking on the ground for an appropriate stick for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. These sticks are going to be covered in dust and dirt. They may have insects or insect eggs inside the bark and wood. You will want to cut a green limb from a tree with low hanging branches. This green limb will not catch fire as easily as dead sticks on the ground. Most tree limbs will do a good job without any fear of toxins. If you are not a real outdoor person, stick with some type of tree that you know like oak, hickory, maple, etc.
Find a stick that is the right length and size.
Because campfires tend to be relatively hot when you are too near them on a warm evening, you will want to get a stick that is long enough to give a little space between you and the flames or hot coals. If you get a stick that is too long, it may not support the weight of your hot dog and has a risk of breaking off and allowing your treat to fall into the fire. Look for a stick that is about a yard long. It should be a little more than 1/2 inch thick at the end you will hold while roasting your hot dog. The other end that will hold the food should be about 1/4 inch thick once the bark is removed.
It can be fun to roast more than one hot dog at a time on your stick.
If you can find a limb that forks or has multiple branches near each other at the end of stick, it will allow you to cook more than one item safely at a time. Some people prefer a forked stick so that the hot dog can be pierced by two pieces of wood and give it more stability while holding it over the flames. This is actually a great way to go so that you can have more control over your cooking, too.
Cut the branch off of the tree and peel the bark from the cooking end.
Use a sharp knife to cut the branch from the tree. Usually, between one and four cuts will separate the limb from the larger branch. Try to make a clean cut if possible because this will be easier on the tree. Once the limb is removed, it is time to turn it into a wienie roasting stick. Remove the bark from the last 6 inches or so of the end of the stick that will be used to hold the hot dogs or marshmallows. Removing the bark helps add a measure of sanitation to the process, Use your knife to make a point on the end of the stick so that it will pierce your food easily.
Once the limb is cut and sharpened, it is time to cook.
Keep the end of the wienie roasting stick from touching the ground or any other unsanitary surface if possible. Slide your food onto the end of the stick and begin to cook it. You will want to rotate the hot dog or marshmallow often to keep them from burning. However, your hot dog will cook a little quicker if you avoid treating your stick like a rotisserie and just turn it every 30 to 60 seconds. If you are not experienced, it may take a time or two of cooking hot dogs until you get it just the way that you want it.
Published in: Cooking