Smoked Hot Dogs with A Shortcut Pickle Relish

Everyone loves a hot dog; they are, in many ways, the quintessential barbecue food. They’re great for kids and are an excellent accompaniment to any large barbecue protein at your next cookout.

The best part is that smoked hot dogs take so little time to prepare; they can be main dish or you can throw them on at the end of a long smoking session and add a bonus dish to your menu with no effort!

How to Make Smoked Hot Dogs. 

There are a ton of ways to make smoked hot dogs; you can start with a great artisanal beef hot dog or pork hot dog from your local butcher or gourmet grocer, but whatever style you like will do just fine. 

You can make them from scratch, but as someone who’s made hot dogs by hand, I can tell you the effort is not often worth the results. 

Gather your ingredients and equipment. 

Once you’ve got your beef hot dogs ready to go, make sure to read the rest of this recipe and gather all of the remaining ingredients before you get started. 

There is nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe and realizing you are lacking an integral ingredient, or worse, you somehow skipped a step along the way. 

Light your smoker. 

This smoked hot dog recipe has relatively little prep, and thankfully, hot dogs don’t take that long to smoke, so you’ll want to prep the smoker before anything else. 

If you’re using a pellet grill, charcoal smoker, or stick burner, you’ll want to give it time to get up to temperature fully. Electric or gas smokers are much faster to preheat, but you sacrifice some flavor. 

Set your smoker to 185°f if your using a smoker with temperature control, or set your smoker thermometer to 185°f and damper the flame as it approaches the set point.

Make sure to load the wood chips into your smoker earlier than you might with larger proteins. Because smoking hot dogs takes much less time, you don’t want to risk any off flavors. Loading the wood chips when lighting the smoker will ensure you have the best smoke flavor possible. 

Prep the hot dogs.

While the smoker preheats, you can prep your hot dogs. This will only take a few minutes, so if you plan to cook multiple proteins, you can wait until the last minute. 

To start, open the hot dogs and pat them dry. Using a small pairing knife, score the hot dogs in an X pattern about a 1/4″ deep. 

Next, mix the ground mustard seed and barbecue rub in a small bowl or dish. Roll the scored hot dogs in the rub and then load them into your smoker, placing the hot dogs directly onto the grill grates. 

Button up the smoker and let the dogs cook for 30 minutes before checking on them. 

Whip up some relish!

With the hot dogs in the smoker, it’s time to get down to the relish. 

Quick relish is easy to make, and there are a ton of variations to be found. This recipe is a classic representation, with a few additions that make it shine. 

First, drain your bread and butter pickles, and reserve at least a cup of pickle juice. 

Next, chop your pickles into fine dice, red bell pepper, and white onion. You can do this by hand or make the process even faster by throwing the ingredients into your food processor. 

Once chopped, mix the ingredients together in a bowl and adjust the consistency with some of the reserved pickle juice. The perfect relish should be juicy but not soupy. 

You can season the relish however you like, I love adding a touch of honey and siracha for a sweet and spicy kick, but a straightforward pickle relish is perfect for these barbecue hot dogs.

Glaze the hot dogs with BBQ sauce. 

After the hot dogs have been smoking for around an hour, open the smoker and brush the hot dogs with the barbecue sauce. 

Increase the temperature to 225°f and allow the hot dogs to continue to cook for another 30 minutes before serving. Once the hot dogs have achieved a proper glaze and reached an internal temperature of 155°f, they are ready to go. 

Serve and enjoy!

Once the dogs are done, you can enjoy them almost immediately. You do want to give them a few minutes to rest before diving in; the hot dogs will be pretty hot when fresh out of the smoker. 

Serve the hot dogs on fresh hot dog buns with a big scoop of sweet relish or whatever other hot dog toppings you like. On the off chance you have any leftover hot dogs; you can keep them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. 

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4 from 4 votes

Smoked Hot Dogs With A Shortcut Pickle Relish

Step up your hot dog game with this incredible recipe for smoked barbecue hot dogs with shortcut pickle relish. These sweet and smokey beef hot dogs make a perfect bonus dish for your next cookout, or an awesome game day snack on Sunday!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author Chris Riley


  • 6 Large hot dogs (we used German Hot Dogs from Dearborn Sausage Co)
  • 2 tbsp sweet BBQ rub
  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed
  • 2 tbsp BBQ Sauce

For the Shortcut Picklerelish

  • 1/2 cup sweet & spicy pickle slices, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice (from the pickle slice jar)


  •  Preheat the smoker to 185 degrees F.
  • Prepare the hot dogs by scoring the skin with a knife in an “X” pattern about 1/4 inch deep.
  • In a pan or baking dish combine the BBQ rub and ground mustard seed and whisk until combined.
  • Then roll each hot dog in the rub mixture.
  • Transfer the hot dogs to the smoker and place directly on the grates with the scored side up.
  • Close the lid and let smoke for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile prepare the relish by adding the pickles, onion, red peppers, and pickle juice to a bowland stir. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Then lightly brush the top sand sides of the hot dogs with the BBQ sauce.
  • Raise the temperature of the smoker to 225 degrees and let the hot dogs continue to cook for another 25-30 minutes until heated throughout.
  • Top with the relish when ready to serve and enjoy.


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