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When Did It Become So Difficult To Find Hot Dogs Not Made With Chicken?

So, I picked up some "Bar S" Jumbo Franks last week and was very disappointed after eating one discovering that they were made from chicken, and pork and beef. I can't stand that chicken taste in a hot dog. I want a "real" hot dog ya' know? So I go back to the supermarket today to pickup some proper franks and was shocked to have to search for franks that didn't include chicken. When did the default hot dog in America include chicken?


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  1. That's one of the reasons I only buy kosher beef hotdogs. One of my favorites is Hebrew National.

    1. I'll have to check the labels. I didn't realize this had happened. Maybe that's why hot dogs seem so much blander now.


      1. Yeah, I only buy all beef kosher Hebrew National, too.

        1. The Coleman natural beef dogs at Costco are incredibly good. No nitrates.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Fritter

            Trader Joe's also sells ones that are nitrate free.

            Personally, I always buy Hebrew National.

          2. I'm not sure they are really difficult to find. The hot dogs not specifically labeled "beef", "chicken" or "turkey" are where you get the chicken/pork/beef combo. Had you bought Bar S BEEF Jumbo Franks, you would have had exactly what you wanted :-).

            Now, if your store doesn't carry them, that's something else.

            We usually stick to Hebrew National.

            3 Replies
            1. re: thirtysomething

              I was at my local Pathmark in Philly and virtually all the prominently displayed hotdogs included chicken. It took me about a minute to locate a pack that didn't include chicken. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

              1. re: Chinon00

                I suspect they feature hot dogs with chicken because most people prefer them as being cheaper and slightly lower in calories. Personally, I find the phrase "mechanically separated chicken" on the ingredient list is an appetite killer!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Cheaper and slightly lower in calories - as well as blander.

                  But yes - anything that says "all beef" is the way to go.

            2. Hofmann Natural Casing German Style Franks, made locally since 1879, contain no chicken.

              1. So a quick survey at the grocery store turned up this from the 8 sampled. 4 contained chicken. They just said "Hot dogs." The other 4 contained no chicken. Two clearly said "All Beef", one said "100% Beef" and the other said "Original Recipe" which would suggest all beef. It was.


                1. Hebrew Nationals. Three hit the grilltonight for jfood.

                  Very easy decision.

                  1. Hebrew National: "We answer to a higher authority."

                    And thank goodness they do...it's beef and nothing but the beef.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mcsheridan

                      I never eat hot dogs made with poultry. They are cheaper, blander, and just don't taste good. Part of the reason is that they're geared towards kids. Another reason is that many people are more health concious. There are many good choices if you look. Check the deli department. Many times the better hot dogs are sold there.

                      Hebrew National is a good choice and can be found anywhere. Boars Head and Nathan's also have wide distribution. You're not limited to all beef dogs though. There are good quality beef and pork dogs depending on where you live. Thumann's should be available in PA. Hofmann's as mentioned earlier is a good dog. I personally prefer the dogs with a natural casing.

                    2. Chinon, if Bar S is in your area, then you should also be able to find the Bar S "Jumbo Beef" dogs. They are far superior to the lo-grade Bar S chicken dogs, at a price about half that of Hebrew or other national all-beef labels.

                      Bar S is indeed deserving of the reputation as a supplier of low end emulsified products, but I believe they are making the effort in at least this one item to make a better product. They presently retail around 2.50, versus .99 for the chicken type.

                      If price is important in your household, they warrant at least one try. I find them saltier than necessary, but the snap and texture is worth the price point. Since I've discovered them last summer, I use them in multifeed situations, and most folks find them great.

                      I am not putting them in the same class as Nathan's or Hebrew; my comments are for those who search for a price point balance along the quality continuum.

                      To further add incendiary fuel for the flames I am sure I will receive, they were winner of a taste test last summer. I had seen them in the market, did not buy based on Bar S rep, but googled when i got home, and found the taste test. Look for the two r's and you will see why I expect flames:


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: FoodFuser

                        Try Bar S could be a tough putt for jfood to take on Double-F.

                        Jfood made a drastic decision last week after finishing a package of Nathan's. He thought the flavor had changed over the year and he would only buy HN in the foreseeable future.

                        1. re: jfood

                          "Just call me Double-K... the Kerosene Kid." Now I'll just kick back, grill a dog, and watch the flames.

                      2. Be careful about Hebrew National. As far as I know they are still all beef, but chicken, or a chicken-beef mixture, can be kosher.

                        I think that the whole chicken in hot dogs thing started when manufacturers realized chicken is cheap, and they could use its healthfulness as an excuse for adding it to the hot dogs.

                        For me, a hot dog must be beef, pork, or a combination of just those two. Chicken is yechhh!

                        1. From USDA fact sheet:

                          Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP)
                          Mechanically separated poultry is a paste-like and batter-like poultry product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or similar device under high pressure to separate bone from the edible tissue. Mechanically separated poultry has been used in poultry products since the late 1960's. In 1995, a final rule on mechanically separated poultry said it was safe and could be used without restrictions. However, it must be labeled as "mechanically separated chicken or turkey" in the product's ingredients statement. The final rule became effective November 4, 1996. Hot dogs can contain any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.

                          A nice history synopsis here of increasing use of chicken in hot dogs:

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: FoodFuser

                            Oh lord. I saw the mechanical separation process in person a couple years ago and it was enough to swear me off dogs and lunchmeat containing chicken and turkey forever.