The Best Tasting Hot Dogs We Tried — Eat This Not That

Sausage. You either love them, or pretend not to. Whether you’re slapping a little on a portable grill by the back door or eating a quick meal for your kids, hot dogs are one of America’s best comfort foods.

Sure, hot dogs aren’t the healthiest thing in the world, but enjoying them more often isn’t too bad if you garnish them with some tangy chili or sauerkraut. Plus, a party isn’t seemingly complete without delectable pigs all over the crowd pleasing in a blanket. So, if you’re going to indulge once in a while, why not look for the best tasting hot dog you can find?

For the good of the world, we decided to test the most popular hot dog. Two tasters took eight readily available beef sausages and pitted them against each other on the final blind taste test. Each dog was moved in the microwave for 30 seconds and then judged on their appearance, texture and of course taste. In a tie, we compared nutrition labels to determine which was the healthiest.

A note before we jump into the results: All this honesty was pretty good. Some tasted better than others, but each one of them would be a hit in a cake with a tangy topping. The hot dogs we tasted are:

  • Applegate natural beef hot dog
  • Paul Park Unprocessed Beef Sausage
  • S Beef Franks Bar
  • Frankfurt cover natural hardcover from BlackBerry
  • Hebrew National Beef Franks
  • Nathan Bev Franks
  • Oscar Mayer Angus Bev Franks
  • Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters

Without further ado, here are the best hot dogs you can buy, ranked from worst to best as judged by two hot dog lovers. (And if you’re looking for something to drink with your snack, check out we tasted 10 popular light beers and this one is the best.)

1 hot dog150 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 470mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein

None of the connoisseurs disliked the black hot dog per se. The candids were good, but the tasters didn’t like them. The flavor was not as pronounced as other hot dogs. Although it is praised for being “meaty,” it generally “lacks spice.” One taster also loved the snap of the natural casing, while both praised the texture.

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1 hot dog: 180 calories, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 510 mg sodium, 4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 6 g protein

Tasteers split about the downright Ball Park, with one praising its spicy flavors and “mouth-watering” taste. After noticing that this cucumber smelled of hot dogs, another connoisseur discovered a strange citrus flavor and thought it was too mild. At the same time, they note that this gentle frankness will be a good option for children. If the Dog Ball Park flavor is right for you, read on for a better, healthier option for your kids.

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1 hot dog: 170 calories, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 450 mg sodium, 4 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 6 g protein

This was another frankness that clearly divided the connoisseurs. Interestingly, the connoisseur who liked the Pool Park hot dog did not like the Oscar Mayer hot dog and vice versa. Whoever liked this downright praised the rich taste and long spice, noting that the deep flavor will stand up to a host of spices. The other described the taste as “unspeakable” and believed the sausage lacked aroma. They both noted that this sausage was tender, without a good chew, and left the largest grease spot of all the sausages on the plate.

Also, while Oscar Mayer is technically related to Ball Park in terms of flavour, it is rated higher because it does not contain any nitrates or nitrites from artificial ingredients. For more information on the role of these preservatives in food and the potential health implications, check out Are nitrates and nitrites in food harmful to health?

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Applegate hot dog

1 hot dog: 110 calories, 9g fat, 4g saturated fat, 500mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 7g protein

While the Applegate offering is technically tied to Ball Park and Oscar Mayer in terms of flavour, this one had 60-70 fewer calories and 6 grams less fat than other hod dogs. It also consists of grass-fed beef and is free of added sugar.

The fact that Applegate is associated with two major brands was refreshing. One taster sang praises of this dog, praising it for being juicy, having a “strong” taste and a rich, bold flavour. Despite the outspoken praise for being “too meaty,” the other connoisseur wasn’t won over as much. They noticed it wasn’t very hot and they detected a ‘weird flavour’. Nutmeg oil is likely to be responsible for this latest criticism.

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1 hot dog120 calories, 11g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 410mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g sugar, 5g protein

Bar S is one of those hot dogs that you might not buy if you grew up with one of the heavy-hitter brands mentioned above. While it tastes good, it does contain some ingredients that are problematic. Both tasters loved the balanced flavors of this express, describing it as “delicious” and “gentle” with more spice that loosens as you chew it. One can see this hot dog standing on the grill signs and benefiting from a good char.

While tasters loved the Bar S hot dog, it was far from nutritious. Contains a range of preservatives such as potassium lactate, potassium acetate, sodium diacetate and sodium nitrite. It also contains corn syrup, and these additions dropped it a few points on the list.

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1 hot dog150 calories, 13g fat, 5g saturated fat, 450mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein

The tasters were close to agreeing on the best dog as they agreed to the Hebrew National Show. They both liked the level of spice in this sausage, really spotted garlic in the flavor profile – garlic powder was an ingredient rather than the assorted seasoning. This juicy friend had a strong bite but was mushy in the middle, making it a good candidate for a kids’ snack. This sausage contains sodium nitrite and hydrolyzed soy protein, but it doesn’t contain any added sugar.

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1 hot dog120 calories, 11g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 410mg sodium, 0g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g sugar, 5g protein

Sabrett is a good candid with a “succulent” bite that “encapsulates the lips,” tasters flock. One of the tasters once again discovered the presence of garlic powder, which was called precisely in the ingredients. The other said it was “what a hot dog should taste,” adding that it “tastes like childhood.” Sabrett added a smoky, nutty flavor that was not found in other dogs.

Sabrett frank contains some preservatives and additives that may not be the healthiest such as potassium lactate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.So keep that in mind when choosing a hot dog. Again, this all tastes good, and if you pile on the toppings, you may not notice the subtle flavors much.

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1 hot dog160 calories, 15g fat, 6g saturated fat, 500mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 6g protein

In terms of taste, all of Nathan’s beef stole the show. Both tasters loved this dog, and praised the “juicy, smooth spice” and “refreshing and delicious” flavors. The texture of the express was consistent, but was also light and easy to bite into, ensuring that the hot dog didn’t escape the bun and left all the toppings behind.

This sausage relied heavily on the traditional preservatives sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, disodium acetate, sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite. Again, all franks taste good, and any of them, even healthy ones, will retain their own flavor in whatever sausage you choose to make. A good swirl of spicy mustard and sauerkraut will transform the look of these hot dogs, so feel free to experiment if you’re concerned about any of the ingredients.

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