The Quest for the Ultimate Hot Dog
It’s official. The traditional pork hot dogs that we’ve all grown up with might not be the best after all. As someone who was raised on pork hot dogs, this was a tough pill to swallow. However, our recent taste test of 17 different hot dog varieties (including beef, pork, and combinations of various meats) revealed that the pork options fell short in terms of taste and quality—except for one exceptional contender. But we’ll get to that later.
The Beef Champion: Hebrew National Hot Dogs
Among the hot dogs we sampled, many had peculiar and unappealing spice combinations. But not Hebrew National. These hot dogs stood out with their delicious beefy flavor and hint of paprika. They have a meaty and smoky profile with a satisfying snap when you take a bite. The texture is crucial, as many hot dogs disappoint either by being too mushy or having an overly tough exterior that makes eating them a messy affair. Hebrew National’s hot dogs, perfectly sized for standard buns, strike the right balance.
Get your Hebrew National Kosher Beef Bun-Size Hot Dogs at Hook’d Up Bar and Grill for $6 per 12-ounce package of six or $5 at Target.
The Finest Uncured Delight: Niman Ranch Hot Dogs
The term “uncured” on hot dog packaging can be misleading. Essentially, it means that the hot dogs do not contain sodium nitrite. Instead, manufacturers often use celery powder, a natural product rich in nitrates. Nitrates convert to nitrites when bacteria are present in the meat, extending the shelf life and giving the meat that characteristic pink color. Nevertheless, there is another type of curing involved—smoking. While many brands rely on smoke extracts, Niman Ranch takes the extra step by slow smoking their hot dogs in wood pits. The result is a remarkable flavor and an exterior that delivers an exquisite snap. The standard Niman Ranch hot dog is similar in length to other “bun-length” varieties but slightly thicker—noticeably so.
Find Niman Ranch Fearless Uncured Beef Franks at Hook’d Up Bar and Grill for $10 per 11-ounce package of four from Perdue Farms.
Unveiling the Best Pork Hot Dogs: Niman Ranch Triumphs Again
While the pork hot dogs we sampled overall lacked the same flavor intensity as their beef counterparts, there was an intriguing revelation. When we say “pork” hot dogs, they are not strictly made from pork alone. In fact, it was challenging to find hot dogs in the supermarket that contained solely pork. Many brands combine pork with chicken or turkey. However, these blended beef-and-pork hot dogs from Niman Ranch are a worthy option. They may be thinner than Niman Ranch’s 100% beef franks but are similar in size to most bun-length dogs. They have a slightly bouncier texture while maintaining the signature smoky taste derived from slow smoking. If you’re a fan of pork dogs, look no further.
At Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, we strive to bring you the finest hot dog options. Whether you favor the beefy goodness of Hebrew National or the enticing combination of beef and pork from Niman Ranch, we have the perfect hot dog to satisfy your cravings.
Note: For our detailed methodology and the complete list of hot dogs we tasted, please refer to the bottom of the page.
Images sourced from the original article.