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Weekend Workshop: Electrify your meat with this DIY hot dog cooker

Need something to keep you busy this weekend? We’ve got you covered. The Weekend Workshop is our weekly column in which we showcase a badass DIY project that you can complete with minimal skills and expertise. We’ve dug through all the online tutorials and gone the extra mile to pinpoint projects that are equal parts easy, affordable, and fun. So put on your work pants, grab your tool belt, and head to the garage. It’s time to start building!

Just because summer has officially drawn to a close doesn’t mean you have to give up all of the incredible benefits the sunny season has to offer. Granted, you may not be soaking up some rays at the beach or enjoying a dry bike ride until next May, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a perfectly cooked hot dog beneath cloudy skies. No, we aren’t talking about barbecuing inside, but rather cooking a frankfurter using electricity … and a DIY contraption, of course.

Thanks to a former physics major and Instructables user named makjosher, whipping up your very own electric hot dog cooker shouldn’t take much more than a few hours with a smattering of electrical equipment and some patience. Basically, you stick a hot dog between two electrodes and wall current cooks it from the inside as it flows through the dog. Having already built prior models that proved the concept but could also potentially kill you, this model was built as a safer alternative with more features, like a dimmer knob that controls the heat.

To help you get started, we’ve sifted through the Instructables walkthrough to figure out an exact build list. Because the construction of this electric hot dog cooker calls on the use of a hacksaw, miter saw, and soldering iron, it’s incredibly important you know how to use these tools before beginning. It also goes without saying that using protective gear is paramount. If you feel uncomfortable using any of the tools, we recommend finding someone to help or skipping this week’s project. With that said, here’s what you’ll need to get started:

Tools: 

  • Hacksaw
  • Ruler
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Miter saw
  • Power drill
  • Rotary tool
  • Soldering iron
  • Grindstone

Materials:

  • Scrap wood (3/4-inch and 3/8-inch thick)
  • 16-gauge wire (several sections under 1 ft. long)
  • Blank electric box cover
  • 600W rotary dimmer switch
  • 120V indicator lamp
  • 120V, 3A, SPDT momentary push button switch
  • Extension cord
  • No. 6 bolts with nuts and washers
  • PVC coupling (1-inch and 2-inch)
  • Small hinges with hardware (2)
  • Drywall and wood screws
  • Self-drilling screws
  • Aluminum bar (1/2-inch wide)
  • Drawer pull handle
  • Sheet of clear styrene (0.015-inch thick)

With the required tools and materials gathered, it’s now time to start assembling this novel electric hot dog cooker. Simply follow makjosher’s thorough Instructables walkthrough and before the weekend comes to a close, you’ll be enjoying some franks from the comfort of your own kitchen. Happy building!

The step-by-step instructions for building this electric hot dog cooker can be found at Instructables.