What type of hot dogs are you buying?

Hot dogs are often my go-to lunch in the summer and on weekends. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to make and the kids will all eat them. But I think I spend way too much time thinking about their purchase.

I stand in front the hot dog area weighing the consequences of each type of hot dog.  I am trying to weigh healthiness (meaning fat and calories) versus food processing (meaning is it mechanically separated? is it good “meat”?) versus cost.

So for a healthy hot dog I think of turkey dogs (fat/calories) but often they are unappealingly pale and marked as mechanically separated. (You have to read the ingredient list for this information.)

I have read repeated negative things about mechanically separated meat. Click the link to see photos. I don’t know if it’s really bad for you but I don’t particularly like the looks of it.

So then I started buying the kosher hotdogs from Hebrew National. They are only made from Kosher cuts of meat so there’s no weird cow parts being thrown in. There are also no artificial flavors, colors, fillers or by-products. So you can feel like they are eating real meat. However, the fat is high (the ones in my fridge right now say 14 grams of fat per dog) and they are pricey. I get them either at the Costco or wait for sales at the grocery store.

(See I told you thinking way too hard. I watched a lady buy this off-brand of hot dogs that I had never heard of. They were kind of green looking. I don’t think she was thinking hard enough about the purchase.)

For a while I tried veggie dogs. They love the Morningstar corndogs but weren’t crazy about the Morningstar hotdogs.

I guess for now I will stick with the kosher dogs on sale. What are you guys buying? What went into your decision-making process?

88 comments Add your comment

Augusta

June 8th, 2012
12:53 pm

Publix brand all beef hotdogs. But not very often…..only for the grill….when we have lot’s of kids over.

We do more sandwiches than anything else. I buy deli meat about twice a week…..And ONLY Boar’s Head.

Get It RIght

June 8th, 2012
1:03 pm

Yes, you’re thinking too much about this. Two things you should never see made – Law and Sausages (hot dogs), so the mechanically separated meat pictures mean nothing to me. I usually try for Ball Park brand and roll them around in the cast iron frying pan. Mmmmm.

A

June 8th, 2012
1:04 pm

No need to stress over hotdogs. We buy veggie dogs (Morningstar) and whatever organic/non-nitrate and nitrate/less disgusting meat dogs are cheapest.

Edward

June 8th, 2012
1:09 pm

Hebrew National or Nathan’s for me, nothing else. I’d rather pay a few cents more per hotdog than try to guess what it in them.

Voice of Reason

June 8th, 2012
1:10 pm

All-beef Ball Park brand all the way.

Spacey

June 8th, 2012
1:13 pm

No, I don’t think you are over-thinking what your kids eat. I fret over the milk! Should I buy organic??? We go through 3-4 gallons a week and the cost is outrageous. Therefore, I still buy the regular milk, but I think about it. Do the health benefits of all their milk consumption out-weigh the fact that it is not organic?

I really like the new Nitrate Free Angus beef hotdogs from Oscar Meyer.
Also, Eden Farms now makes a Nitrate Free ham for sandwiches. It is the best deli-ham I have ever eaten.

cp

June 8th, 2012
1:14 pm

Ballpark Lite, made from turkey & pork. Same taste as regular Ballpark, but half the fat!

Techmom

June 8th, 2012
1:28 pm

I personally don’t like the taste of pork hot dogs so usually end up with the all-beef hot dogs. My husband prefers Hebrew National.We don’t eat that many hot dogs though and my son actually will very rarely eat one- he’s just never been a fan. I like mine covered in chili and cheese so the fat content of the hot dog is the least of my problems :)

@Augusta – what’s the deal with Boar’s Head? I don’t eat that much lunch meat and I’ve always chalked their prices up to their cost of marketing (kind of like Mayfield milk) but there are people who swear by it. I am pretty brand-neutral and don’t mind store brands so maybe I’m just cheap.

FCM

June 8th, 2012
1:30 pm

TWG…you know I luv ya….but for the life of me I can figure out why your worried about a song the kids may hear….vs the SULFITES that are in hot dogs. I mean eating more than 2 a week for a female increases the chance of cancer significantly (men can eat 5).

Dances with Cougars

June 8th, 2012
2:00 pm

Bison Dogs!

Y !

U !

M !

DB

June 8th, 2012
2:01 pm

As long as they are kosher, I’m happy. I figure, if they are kosher, there’s a better than even chance they are probably edible. :-)

arlene

June 8th, 2012
2:05 pm

I love Hebrew National the best because of the beef quality. I stock up on them when the’re on sale, because they are pricier than other brands. I just tried Ball Park all-beef franks, and they are very tasty also.

catlady

June 8th, 2012
2:22 pm

Theresa, there are just too many choices! I go with Hebrew National or (occasionally) Nathan’s Beef. I get them about once a month. Last week I got the 1/4 lb ones. They were too big to eat! But delicious!

jarvis

June 8th, 2012
2:25 pm

@Spacey, Your in-depth concerns over food etc. are your way of needing to feel like you can control you and your kids health. You can not.

You have to take a deep breath, give them a good balanced diet and get them actively playing. Everything else in life is a crap shoot. I’ve yet to see the news story titled, “Family of 5 killed by store-brand organic milk.” Milk won’t kill you kids. God willing old age will.

jarvis

June 8th, 2012
2:25 pm

or store-brand non-organic milk :-)

Augusta

June 8th, 2012
2:38 pm

@TechMom – I buy Boar’s Head because my sister in law works for a distributor and she absolutely RAVES about the brand. Then she recruited me on the weekends to demo the products in Publix. I loved it…..so I started buying. Yes its more expensive, but once you get used to it, you won’t go back to Oscar Meyer. I can’t even stand to look at their stuff anymore…..And the taste, after you’ve been on Boar’s Head, you can really taste the difference. This week we have the Ever Roast Chicken, and the Mozz cheese….sometimes I buy the Publix pre-cooked bacon, and add a couple of slices…..Oh my…..now I’m hungry for a sandwich…..

jarvis

June 8th, 2012
2:44 pm

@Augusta, I love Boar’s Head….HUGE fan.

Augusta

June 8th, 2012
2:55 pm

@jarvis – ever try any of their cheeses? Every once in a while, I’ll buy 1/4lb of the port wine roast beef, and 1/4 lb of horseradish cheese. I make little roll ups with it……Man that stuff is SO good. I got my mom hooked on it. It’s VERY expensive, like $10.50/lb….

jct

June 8th, 2012
2:59 pm

Applegate Farms Turkey Hotdogs. I am more concerned with the sugar in hot dogs. I was amazed that almost every brand except this company adds sugar.

I am trying to keep hidden sugar out of my families diet.

Voice of Reason

June 8th, 2012
3:14 pm

@Augusta

If you mean the Boar’s Head London Port Roast Beef that stuff is the greatest Roast Beef on the whole damn planet. You are right it’s like $10.00/lb but SOOO worth it.

Augusta

June 8th, 2012
3:16 pm

@Voice – Thank you….I couldn’t remember the exact name. I knew it had “Port” in it….try it with the horseradish cheese.

Kat

June 8th, 2012
3:27 pm

“See I told you thinking way too hard.” (You really aren’t thinking hard enough on this one.)

jarvis

June 8th, 2012
3:31 pm

The horseradish cheese is awesome!

Augusta

June 8th, 2012
3:35 pm

I haven’t met a cheese I didn’t like….

palepadre

June 8th, 2012
4:10 pm

I don’t eat them often and so I vary what I buy. What you have with them could be more damaging.High calorie sodas,Beer. Plus toppings. Even if you are eating a “Diesel Dog” Biggg! Bruiser of a wiener,eat all in moderation.

JOD

June 8th, 2012
4:17 pm

Wow, I got censored for an elementary school word. This filter is getting absurd.

At any rate – Happy weekend, ya’ll!

Enlightened

June 8th, 2012
4:31 pm

TofuPups by the Lightlife company. Great tasting, no animals needed to die, and GMO free (which is a lot more than you can say for all the stuff your animal-based dogs were fed).

Absolutely the best dog to have around for your vegetarian friends too.

Jessica

June 8th, 2012
5:10 pm

I wouldn’t worry too much about the fat content, especially if your kids are healthy. Just avoid nitrates and other weird ingredients.
If you are worried about calories, give your kid the hot dog anyway and cut out the juice, soda and cookies (i.e. the sugar) instead. Excess sugar is much worse for children than most types of fat.

Marc

June 8th, 2012
5:13 pm

Sorry but the “weird meat” you don’t want were the main ingredients in most sausages. That was one of the ways they used everything they could.

kay

June 8th, 2012
5:32 pm

I buy the Gwaltney chicken hot dogs because I have tons of nieces and nephews and I can’t afford to feed them all with the good stuff…. but when its just my and my small family, its Nathans. I grew up on Hebrew National and used to love it but now for some reason I can’t take the juiceyness (fatiness, greasiness?). They also don’t recover from the freezer well, the flavor is way off.

As far as Boars Head….. we treat ourselves to the Salsalito Turkey every now and then. Thats some good stuff! When we buy it we also splurge on some upscale cheese, upscale bread…. 1st class all the way baby!!

VoTech

June 8th, 2012
5:54 pm

go dawgs.. hot dogs that is

VoTech

June 8th, 2012
5:56 pm

mime are so covered with onions, slaw, saurkrat, mustard.. you can’t tell .. but I love turkey bratwurst !!

Judge Smails

June 8th, 2012
6:16 pm

Love me some Varsity Chili Dogs!! I dont want to know whats in them either.

Jan

June 8th, 2012
7:00 pm

People still eat hotdogs?!? Who knew???

Kar

June 8th, 2012
7:09 pm

I grew up on Hebrew National because of my brother’s food allergies. As an adult though, I still prefer the low fat ones because they’re the least scary although slightly expensive.

Remember what they say, Kosher is the new Organic

misawa

June 8th, 2012
7:35 pm

Nathan’s all beef dogs for the kids, brats dipped in beer for the old kids. If I’m having either, it’s a meal I just don’t care about the health aspects.

dave

June 8th, 2012
8:25 pm

I avoid any hotdog with chicken or turkey because they are ‘mechanically separated’ from the bone w metal brushes and bits of tendon and bone come off as well, and I can taste the gritty pieces in the hotdog and they get stuck in my teeth. So I go with all beef hotdogs and sausage. Been a fan of Hebrew National for 20 years. Nathans is good. Just tried Copelands organic, pricey, but good as well.

Ally

June 8th, 2012
10:02 pm

I only get hot dogs with no nitrates and other chemicals. My grandfather died of colon cancer (went through removing part of his colon in his 80’s), and he ate a lot of processed meats. Sure, they’re a lot more expensive, but I recognize all of the ingredients and I feel good about it. I don’t worry about the fat too much because we don’t eat them on a regular basis, they’re more of a treat.

Regarding lunch meats, we are Boars Head converts as well. I used to buy the store brand to save some money, but then slowly started buying Boars Head to try their different flavors and see what the excitement was all about. Now it’s 100% BH, but I like the All Natural ham (it tastes like fresh ham and not all salt, but it’s another $10/lb meat) the best. The All Natural line has no nitrates as well, which I buy about 80% of the time. The All Natural line is only carried by Publix (and maybe not all of them) and is at least $2-3 more/lb than regular BH, but that extra $2-3 is worth it because we eat sandwiches 5 days a week. The same for organic milk – I will spend more because it’s worth it. Now, if I could find organic apples that aren’t mostly rotten, I would be happy…

Misty

June 8th, 2012
11:46 pm

Hebrew National here. They do have one that is lower in fat count.

missnadine

June 9th, 2012
12:08 am

Seems the author really has nothing left to discuss. Hot dogs, really?

food lover

June 9th, 2012
8:17 am

You feed your children hot dogs? So… you’ll be teaching them healthy eating habits later, after they’ve acquired a taste for junk food???

JOD

June 9th, 2012
9:12 am

@Misty – Good point. I’ve been buying the ‘reduced fat’ HN, and you really can’t tell the difference!

nelson

June 9th, 2012
10:26 am

I buy regular “Ballpark” franks or Hoffman. All hot dogs are, is baloney. If I want turkey I buy turkey, not turkey franks. If you want something healthy, do not buy franks at all, buy fruits and veggies. When whistlers mother says it, it is true

Mandingo

June 9th, 2012
11:09 am

I stopped eating them years ago and am on the brink of going Vegan. I have no confidence in the FDA and hope that agency can be overhauled.

Jamee Tenzer

June 9th, 2012
11:29 am

You are not alone in being concerned about what you feed your kids. Personally, I subscribe to a “moderation” rule. My kids have been known to eat processed foods, too much sugar and dessert for dinner. I know, Mother of the Year Award is around the corner. But, I feel if for the most part, they are eating a good variety of healthy and organic (when possible) foods, they will manage to build strong bones, bodies and brains by the time they head of to college.

On the subject of hot dogs – Trader Joes has all beef hot dogs with no preservatives. You need to use them within a week of opening a package or keep them in the freezer. They are delicious – have no preservatives and are are all beef..

Jamee Tenzer
http://www.shesarealmother.com

jarvis

June 9th, 2012
1:24 pm

Oooohhhh….how judgemental food lover.
You kids will hate you later in life and rebel by eating nothing but Cheetos and Little Debbie.

Enjoy your fatties.

Jesse's Girl

June 9th, 2012
2:47 pm

Hotdogs have been banned in or home. My husband has personally seen how they are “made”…even the so called “healthy” variety. No bueno. No bueno indeed. The FDA only requires an ingredient and flavoring reporting rate of 49%. So essentially the food maufacturers…and I find it more than a little disheartening to refer to food as manufactured…are left to adhere to the honor system when answering questions about the remaining 51%. They are not legally obligated to do so…save for the sudden and surprising out break of questionable pratices. Insert MAJOR sarcasm….My advice? Don’t eat them. At all. Ever. I am not a junk food nazi. But I do use good solid common sense. And nothing makes sense abot hot dogs. Or pizza rolls. Or Twinkies:)

GTPete

June 9th, 2012
5:14 pm

Applegate Farms organic beef hot dogs. Expensive as heck ($4.99 for 7), but no nitrates, no fillers, all beef. The thing that sets it apart from Hebrew National, Trader Joe’s brand hot dogs, etc. is that it is relatively low in fat (2.5g saturated fat per hot dog). Pair that with the 100% stone ground whole wheat hot dog buns from Trader Joes and you can fool yourself into thinking you are eating healthy.

Mark Martino

June 9th, 2012
5:37 pm

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Mark Martino

June 9th, 2012
5:37 pm

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