Burger King to add hot dogs to the grill

Burger King is going to the dogs — hot dogs, that is.

The burger chain announced Wednesday that it was adding grilled hot dogs to its menu, looking to use the kitchen equipment it already has — its hamburgers are flame-broiled — and offer more variety on its menu.

“Instead of boiling a hot dog in water, we can grill it just like you would at a backyard barbecue,” said Alex Macedo, president of the company’s North America division. “It made all the sense in the world for us.”

Burger King, the No. 2 burger chain behind McDonald’s, has most of the ingredients needed to dress its dogs, made from a proprietary recipe using 100 percent beef, already at hand in its stores. Macedo said about the only new ingredients were buns and relish.

“We also have to chop the onions a little differently,” he said.

Of course, hot dogs typically are heavily dressed in condiments like ketchup and mustard — and that is good news for Kraft Heinz, Burger King’s condiments supplier and corporate cousin. Kraft Heinz is owned by 3G, the Brazilian private equity group that also owns a piece of the burger chain.

Macedo said customers had long been asking Burger King to add a flame-broiled frankfurter to its menu, and about a year and a half ago, the company began seriously working to satisfy that demand. The company tested its hot dogs in five cities around the country.

He said it took teams in the restaurants about 10 days to fully master assembly of the two hot dogs the company is offering. Team members have been watching training videos in which Snoop Dogg gives the lesson. A Spanish-language version features Charo.

Two versions will be on the menu: a simple hot dog in a bun with ketchup, mustard and onion, and a chili cheese dog.

“For us, this isn’t just another product launch, it’s a whole new category,” Macedo said. “There are 20 billion hot dogs sold in the U.S. each year, so it’s a big opportunity.”