Mass Production Cooking/Hot dogs for 600


What is ideal way to cook hot dogs for 600

Thinking grill space might take too long. Oven?

Hi Wes!

You are asking the right guy. A few years ago, I was a chef at the National Security Agency and we were holding a 4th of July celebration for 15,000 people!  I had to make 22,000 hot dogs!

Since most people like the grill mark appearance of the "tube steak", but I didn't have enough grill space to cook all those dogs, and the grill just dries things out, I had to think of something else.

So, I quickly marked the franks on a grill and laid them into a deep hotel pan. (Don't forget, hot dogs are already cooked, they're not raw like sausages). Once I had about 200 hotel pans filled, I covered the dogs in beef broth and put them into the commercial steamer to cook in a moist convective fashion. This way, they looked grilled but didn't dry out.

If you don't have a commercial steamer, you can cover the pans in foil and put them in the oven until the broth starts simmering.

Don't forget, you need a way to keep them hot (above 140F) during service, so the franks being covered in beef broth will keep them hot for a long time, whether in a chafing dish or not.

The kicker of this story is that it POURED on July 4th and the event was cancelled! I made pork and beans, pork chili and beanie weenie for the next week. There's not much you can do with 22,000 left over hot dogs. It was a disaster!

Speaking of which, if you're serving hot dogs to 600 people, I'd recommend about 750-800 dogs (depending on their size) because only about 20 - 30% of people will have two, especially if you have side items like potato salad and cole slaw.

Good luck with your event!  

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Chef Todd Mohr. CCE


I'd be glad to answer your questions about how basic cooking methods apply equally to cooking for two in your home, or 1000 for an event. Please don't ask me how much to order from the caterer or deli. That's up to them to consult you on. If you are doing the actual cooking, I can help. My expertise is in cooking for more than 100 people. Your questions concerning cooking methods, amount to purchase, portioning, strategies for food service, and food safety for large production are welcomed. There are plenty of recipe websites on the internet. Please don't ask me for recipes. I don't believe in written instructions for cooking anyway. The more information you give while asking your question, the better response I can give. "How do I feed 100 people at my daughter's wedding?" is too broad of a question. "If I plan to offer chicken and beef for 100 people, how much chicken should I purchase?" is a better question. Visit my website at LIKE ChefToddMohr on Facebook Subscribe to ChefToddMohr on YouTube


I'm certified by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Culinary Educator. I'm currently a Chef Instructor at three different culinary schools in Baltimore, Maryland. Previously an Executive Chef at a large hospital, feeding 3000 people three times daily over 8 different menus. Also a Chef at The National Security Agency in Washington, DC, part of a team feeding 15,000 people twice daily. Then, General Manager/Executive Chef of various Business Dining Cafeterias, feeding thousands daily. My catering company has hosted many large events, feeding up to 1000 people.

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Bachelor of Arts, Long Island University Associate of Arts, Baltimore International Culinary College

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Certified Culinary Educator (ACF)

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My catering company has had many of the nations largest companies as clients.

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