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Aug 24, 2008 11:16 AM

Hebrew Nationals vs. Nathan's

Hey Hounds

So last night at dinner we had a conversation about the best store bought hot dogs. Mrs. Sippi and I said it was Nathan's and my friend said it was Hebrew Nationals.
I know a lot of folks have had their favourites and opinions on here but we decided to do a taste test.

We bough a package of each last night and had them for lunch today.

The precooked smell test definitely weren't to the Nathan's. Nice garlic aroma.

I did them three ways and the buns we used were plain old hot dog buns.

Boiled, plain, no bun. We both tried it this way.
Boiled, on a bun
Grilled,on a bun
I split both mine in half and did one end with 2 year old extra old white cheddar, mustard, kraut and onions. I did the other end with ketchup (keep the comments to yourself), mustard and Kraft singles
Mrs Sippi had all her dogs the same way.

We both felt that far and away the Nathan's were superior. It had better flavour, it puffed up on the grill (which I like) and stood up against the condiments better.

I had never had a Hebrew National before and I must say I was rather disappointed. If they were available here in Canada I wouldn't bother with them.


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  1. I married a Brooklynite and Nathan's gets the nod from her point of view. Since she has supplied and provided them to the household for 42 years, I have to agree with her evaluation. Further they have to be the ones with natural casings.

    1. interesting taste test.

      my top 3 store bought dogs:

      1) Bests Kosher
      2) Nathans
      3) Hebrew National

      1. I'll throw in a vote for Pearl's, especially the variety I get locally at the deli counter - about 1/4 lb. each, with great flavor and a really pronounced pop when you bite into the casing. I used to buy Hebrew National (they make a "Dinner Frank" that is also 4 to a pound) but these have lured me away.

        8 Replies
        1. re: BobB

          All three are good. I have what I'm in the mood for. This past weekend I compared a Hebrew National to a Nathans. I've done this before and usually prefer the Nathans. This time I liked the Hebrew National better; I guess I wasn't in the mood for an overwhelming garlic flavor. Some delis actually sell Hebrew National with a collagen casing.

          My favorite natural casing beef dog is from Best Provisions (Not to be confused with Best Kosher out of Chicago) of Newark, N.J. Usingers out of Milwaukee and Boars Head all beef are close behind. Sabrett is also good.

          1. re: hotdoglover


            Shofar used to make a good dog when jfood lived in NJ. Are they still around?

            1. re: jfood

              Shofar used to be made in Linden, N.J. Bought out by Best Kosher (Sara Lee owned) and not as good. I had one from a cart about 2 years ago.

              1. re: hotdoglover

                Used to get Shofar dogs from a cart at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds when we went to flea markets there. Then a couple of days ago we were checking out a Filipino market in Eagle Rock (L.A. County) and there was a Shofar dog cart outside the mall door. Guess I need to make it over there around lunch time... ;-)

                We really loved the taste of the Boar's Head dogs with the casing, but both times we tried them they gave us cramps and gas!

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Omaha Steaks Franks are the best ive ever had.

                  1. re: lolwahttt

                    Is that sincere or satire? Because Omaha Steaks are notorious on these boards for being mediocre Select-grade beef....

                    1. re: Karl S

                      Got to be a troll. Only post and it praises god awful hotdogs?

                      1. re: irishnyc

                        agreed....they have a price of $28 for 8*3oz dogs. at least they wont sell at the $9 sale price.

        2. Davwud, have you tried Sabrett's?

          1 Reply
          1. Well, if you had Nathan's with natural casing, that would win hands down over a kosher dog (kosher dogs with natural casings are not commercially viable for reasons I will omit to be brief). A hot dog needs snap to be tops.

            Hot dogs are really supposed to be scalded for about 7 minutes in barely simmering water (that's what make them puff up - the salty dogs soak up water). But I like mine cooked on a pan after that. And the roll (top-sliced, New England style) should be griddle-toasted.

            But the best dogs are the ones that Nathan's only serves at the original Coney Island location - they are natural casing, but a bit more emphatic and greasier than the natural casing versions they package for sale elsewhere.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Karl S


              I, too simmer in water for 7 to 10 minutes first. The natural casing Nathan's at the supermarkets are the SAME as those served at Coney Island.

              1. re: hotdoglover

                Are they? I was told years ago that they were not, which I found hard to believe at the time, but for the fact that the ones at Coney Island had much more irregular endings than the ones in the packages, so there you have it.

                1. re: Karl S

                  I'm sure that those sold at Coney Island are the exact same recipe and casing as those in the supermarkets that have casings, although skinless are much more common. I'm not positive if they are the same size (I believe they are) or why Coney Island's have more irregular endings (if they do in fact), but I was told that they are the same recipe and casing by someone in a position to know.

                  1. re: hotdoglover

                    The Nathan's dogs of my childhood and the Nathan's dogs sold today have a similar flavour profile, but they are much less intense now than they were then and (unsurprisingly) much less greasy.

                    There were no skinless Nathan's dogs back then and you couldn't get them at a supermarket. They were manufactured by different companies at different times, but the recipe never changed. Nathan's was Murray Handwerker's company, and not an anonymous corporate entity. I went to summer camp with his son.

                    Today Nathan's is just a franchising company. While they are still the best tasting franks, they ain't the same. I didn't read ingredient labels back then - there weren't any packages. However, I doubt that the fifties recipe included things such as sorbital and wheat gluten.

                    I haven't been to Coney Island in a long time. When Nathan's first became widely available, I was told there were differences in the Coney Island product. That information, almost fifty years old, would be meaningless today.

                    The same situation existed at Shopsy's deli in Toronto. They claimed that the meats sold in supermarkets and the meats sold at their (pre 1980) deli were the same, but you didn't need an educated palate to taste the difference.

                    1. re: embee

                      Great post, Embee. I was aware of the fact that Nathan's dogs were produced by different companies, including Marathon (Sabrett). The meat and spice recipe is the same, although I doubt that wheat gluten and sorbitol were included years ago. I e-mailed Nathan's about this but have not received a response.