Hot Dog Steamers, Rollers, and Broilers: The Pros and Cons

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Last updated on May 17th, 2024 at 10:02 am

Hot dogs are an all-time favorite food, especially in the United States, where they are a staple at sporting events and backyard barbecues. When it comes to preparing hot franks, there are three main options: hot dog broilers, hot dog steamers, and hot dog rollers. Each has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to consider your needs and preferences before making a purchase.

Commercial hot dog equipment is a staple in concession stands, food trucks, convenience stores, and more. Because each cooking device employs a different cooking technique that could result in a distinct taste and texture, choosing between steamers, rollers, and broilers can be challenging.

Below we have conveniently laid out some pros and cons for each type of hot dog equipment to make your decision easier!


Nemco 8300 Countertop Hot Dog SteamerHot dog steamers are designed to cook franks or sausages in a moist environment, which helps to keep them juicy and flavorful. Steamers are convenient because they are capable of cooking dogs and steaming buns simultaneously, producing juicy franks and fluffy buns at the same time.

Steamers cook by transferring heat from an element to the food using water. Heat is effectively transferred, and the hot dog is kept juicy and tasty by steaming. In contrast to radiant or direct heat, steaming won’t cause your dog’s exterior to burn. They work by heating water in a container and generating steam, which cooks the hot franks.

Countertop steamers almost all contain a small water reservoir in the base to produce steam. These reservoirs must be manually refilled when they run dry, however this process is quick and simple.

Commercial hot dog steamers can be moved and installed in many areas since manual-fill reservoirs eliminate the need for plumbing. Commercial steamers are a great choice for operations that want to hold hot franks for longer time periods.


  1. Quick and Convenient: Hot dog steamers are fast and easy to use. They can cook a batch of franks in just a few minutes.
  2. Healthy Cooking: Steaming hot dogs is a healthier way to cook them compared to grilling or frying. The steaming process helps to retain the flavors and nutrients of the product, while removing any excess fat.
  3. Consistent Results: Hot dog steamers are designed to cook evenly and consistently, so you don’t have to worry about undercooked or burnt franks.
  4. Easy to Clean: Most steamers are made from materials that are easy to clean, such as plastic or stainless steel. Simply wipe them down with a damp cloth after each use and you’re done.


  1. Limited Capacity: Hot dog steamers have a limited capacity, so they may not be suitable for large families or businesses that need to cook large quantities.
  2. May not be versatile: While hot dog steamers are great for cooking franks, they may not be suitable for cooking other types of food.
  3. Requires Water: Hot dog steamers need a constant supply of water to work, so you may need to refill water reservoirs several times a day depending upon production levels.


Hot dog broilersStar 175CBA Broil-O-Dog Cradle Wheel Hot Dog Broiler with Bun Warmer are common in c-stores, stadiums, bars, and more. They are typically made of durable steel and use heat from an electric heating element to cook hot dogs to an ideal finish. Broilers are usually vertical and can be set to different temperatures to control the cooking speed.

Broilers are easy to use since you just need to load hot dogs on the spits, turn on the heater, and let the broiler do its thing. Broiler ovens cook franks by heating them in an oven-like environment while rotating them to ensure they cook evenly. The hot dogs are rotated using either a spike wheel or cradle wheel.

Hot air transfers heat from the element to the food, cooking it. Although the dry air of a broiling device takes more moisture from the completed product than steaming, broiling can also provide a wonderful browned or crisped exterior.


  1. Quick Cooking: Hot dog broilers are designed to cook franks quickly, making them ideal for concession stands and small businesses.
  2. Easy to Use: Broilers are easy to use and require little preparation. Simply place the hot dogs in the broiler, turn it on, and cook to your desired level of doneness.
  3. Consistent Results: Hot dog broilers are designed to cook franks evenly, so you don’t have to worry about undercooked or burnt products.
  4. Versatile: Broilers can be used to cook a variety of foods and can be easily transported to any location with the appropriate electrical connection.


  1. Limited Capacity: Hot dog broilers have a limited capacity. Similar to steamers, these units are limited on capacity thanks to their enclosed oven.
  2. Difficult to Clean: Hot dog broilers can be messy to clean, as grease and food particles can accumulate in the broiler pan.
  3. Price: Hot dog broilers can be more expensive than traditional cooking methods, such as grilling, steaming, or boiling.


Nemco 8027-SLT Slanted Hot Dog Roller GrillCountertop roller grills pack quite a punch when it comes to speed and efficiency, and they can be placed right on the countertop for easy self-service at a convenience store or full-service at a concession stand. Rolling hot dogs on the grill is a speedy and effective way of cooking.

Chrome rollers rotate the dogs over and over, evenly cooking them while providing a great merchandising strategy. This consistent rolling of the franks will keep them from drying out.

Hot dog roller grills are ideal for convenience stores, concession stands, and other foodservice operations that offer grab-n-go items. Like the other options they can speedily cook franks, sausages, taquitos, and more.


  1. Consistent Results: Hot dog roller grills are designed to cook dogs evenly, so you don’t have to worry about undercooked or burnt products.
  2. Versatile: Roller grills can be used to cook a variety of foods, including hot dogs, sausages, egg rolls, bratwursts, and more.
  3. Sizing: These grills are available in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate higher capacities. Small units can hold around 20 franks with production near 250 per hour. Larger units can hold up to 100 franks at a time with production near 1,000 per hour.
  4. Easy to Clean: Most roller grills are made from materials that are easy to clean, such as stainless steel and chrome. Individual rollers can be removed for deeper cleanings.
  5. Bun Warmer Attachment: To make operators lives easier, there are roller grills with bun warmers attached. These are great for keeping franks and buns in one location.


  1. Limited Capacity: Depending upon the size you purchase; capacity can be limited.
  2. Slower Cooking: Compared to steamers and broilers, roller grills will typically take longer to fully cook franks. You also need to wait for the grill to heat up when first turned on.
  3. Exposure: Not every roller grill comes with a sneeze guard equipped, this leaves franks open and exposed. This leaves a higher chance of cross-contamination.


When it comes to choosing a hot dog cooker, it’s important to consider your needs and preferences. Hot dog broilers are cheap and easy to use, but slow and can dry out products. Hot dog steamers are fast and keep franks juicy but can be more expensive and difficult to clean. Hot dog rollers are efficient and durable but can leave franks exposed and are also difficult to clean.

Ultimately, the choice between these three options will depend on your specific needs and budget. No matter which option you decide on, at Burkett we have everything you need in one location. Check out our collection of commercial hot dog equipment today!

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