Summer is in the air, and it’s time to start thinking about what hot dogs you’ll be grilling up for those backyard barbecues. To simplify your decision, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best and worst hot you can buy at the grocery store.
Continue reading to find out which ones you’ll want to grill up and which ones you’ll want to leave at the supermarket.
10. Bar S Classic Bun-Length Franks
Bar S is a good brand of hot dogs; however, not everyone likes them. Cheapism.com writer Christine Clark says these hot dogs don’t have much going for them in the flavor department. She taste-tested 10 other brands, too, and ranked them from worst to best. Bar S came in at #6.
Clark does point out, however, that these hot dogs are very inexpensive. She noted that you could pick up a pack from Walmart for just $1. Give them a try yourself and see how you like them.
9. Costco’s Kirkland Beef Hot Dogs
According to a 2019 article written by The Washington Post, Costco’s Kirkland Beef Hot Dogs are the best store-bought hot dogs in America.
Their taste testers loved them for their appearance, their seasoning, and their well-balanced taste. Here is some of what the taste testers had to say:
- These hot dogs “taste like childhood.”
- They “taste like summer.”
- “I could eat three of these at a ballgame.”
- “These pick up grill marks nicely.”
Just in case you were wondering: yes, these are the same hot dogs sold in Costco’s food court.
8. Nathan’s Famous
New Yorkers are very familiar with this brand. It’s the same hot dog that Coney Island serves up. And, yes, you can get these American classics from the grocery store.
According to fans, they’re beefy, juicy, delicious and slightly on the saltier side, although not too salty.
“In a bun — and with condiments, ideally — this is a well-balanced, tasty hot dog,” said one taster from The Washington Post.
- Nathan’s Famous claims to be the world’s most famous hot dog.
- The recipe hasn’t changed since its creation in 1916.
- Nathan’s Famous hot dogs were named after their inventor, Nathan Handwerker, who staged a Fourth of July hot-dog eating contest in 1916.
7. Hebrew National
Depending on who you ask, Hebrew National Beef Franks can either be a hit or a miss. Some people absolutely love them because they’re one of the few Kosher options out there.
Others love them because they’re flavorful, juicy and taste like real meat. In fact, Hebrew National says it only uses premium cuts of beef from the front half of the cow.
On the other hand, some people absolutely hate them. Some folks find them to be too salty and overly processed. Others find their appearance to be quite dull.
There’s also the issue of gluten. While Hebrew National hot dogs are considered to be gluten-free, they really aren’t. It’s not that they actually contain gluten but are prepared in a facility where gluten cross-contamination is possible.
Since the FDA allows hot dogs with a gluten content of fewer than 20 parts per million to be labeled gluten-free, Hebrew National can label theirs as such.
6. Oscar Mayer Uncured Franks
Oscar Mayer’s uncured turkey franks are a hit when it comes to taste and texture.
“They’re great! Lightly smoky, meaty and juicy,” Christine Clark from Cheapism.com wrote. “The texture is a bit more delicate than the others, which I actually liked.”
When it comes to nutritional content, however, these franks are definitely a miss. That’s because they’re high in calories, sodium and fat. Most people are under the impression that the turkey kind is healthy, but that is, unfortunately, not the truth.
As for the uncured beef franks, some people love them because they remind them of their childhood. But, because they’re on the slimmer side, some taste testers were a bit disappointed.
It “leaves me wanting a bigger mouthful,” said one taster. Another one said that while it packs a decent punch, it gets lost in the bun.
5. Ball Park Beef Franks
Ball Park is a very popular brand of hot dogs. In fact, most people in America probably grew up on them. But, believe it or not, a lot of people are not too thrilled with them. Christine Clark from Cheapism.com referred to them as “mushy” and “artificial tasting.”
Then there are the taste-testers selected by The Guardian. According to one of them, these franks are very salty and taste highly processed. Also, there’s a Washington Post article that referred to them as “nothing spectacular.”
But, it isn’t just the taste testers who say you should avoid these hot dogs like the plague. Even the folks at Berkeley Wellness are in favor of avoiding them. According to an article published by Mashed.com, the health and wellness website says you should pass on Ball Park hot dogs because of their nutritional content.
They each contain 190 calories, 16 g of fat, and 550 mg of sodium — or, put another way: between a quarter and a third of your entire daily recommendation for sodium. And that’s just for the standard size franks. The Grillmaster dogs each contain 260 calories, 24 g of fat, and 780 mg of sodium.
4. Trader Joe’s Uncured Hot Dogs
Trader Joe’s sells uncured beef and chicken hot dogs — and folks rave about both of them. People love the bold flavor, spice blend, and chewy texture of the beef hot dogs.
They also love the fact that the uncured chicken hot dogs are super healthy. In fact, Health Magazine named them the best chicken hot dog. They contain 60 calories, 250 mg of sodium, 2.5 g of fat and 9 g of protein. And, here’s another plus: when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, chicken is the most efficient meat on the planet.
Sabrett hot dogs are sold throughout New York City’s streets and parks — but that’s not the only place you can get them. They’re available from Instacart for $5 per pack.
There are a lot of things people love about this brand. For one thing, their dogs are beefy and meaty. They’re also longer than the average hot dog and have plenty of “snap.”
Another plus is that they are one of the few hot dog manufacturers that have a gluten-free certification from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Their gluten content is less than 10 parts per million.
2. Applegate Uncured Hot Dogs
While Applegate brand hot dogs get oodles of points for high-quality ingredients (e.g., grass-fed beef, no antibiotics, etc.), the brand doesn’t score too well in the taste department. One taste tester described the uncured beef franks as “gamey.” Another said they taste similar to lamb.
Still, another felt they were too salty. “The amount of salt in this — it’s like a South Dakota truck stop jerky level,” the taster said.
Unfortunately, the uncured chicken hot dogs fared just as poorly. One taster called them “spammy.” Another referred to them as “bland.”
1. Wellshire Uncured Beef Franks
Not only are Wellshire’s uncured beef franks all-natural, but they’re also sugar-free too. Additionally, they won The New York Times’ hot dog taste test. According to fans, they’re beefy and have just the right amount of salt.
But, of course, we don’t all have the same taste buds. That being said, some people are not too fond of this brand. According to an article published by The Washington Post, some taste testers felt the hot dogs were too sweet, even though they’re supposed to be sugar-free.
One taster said it kind of reminded them of pancakes. Another said it was peppery. And, another said that it smelled like ketchup, although ketchup was strictly forbidden from the test.