Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
May 29, 2009 07:37 PM

What makes a hot dog YOUR top dog?

I'm not a hot dog connoisseur, but I know what I like. I may be easier to please than some--a grilled, buttered bun for my dog goes a LONG way. Good chili (nothing too acidic) atop the dog makes me happy. And my own preference is for a skinless dog--grilled is yummy. I recently had a deep-fried dog--I didn't get it. It didn't taste different to me--I was underimpressed, to say the least. But enough about me, how do YOU roll?

P.S. to jfood--I've been reading your hot dog posts with interest, but didn't want to pirate your thread, so I hope you find this post and chime in.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chili, cheese, onions and mustard and of course, being a RI native, NY or Coney Island System HOT WIENERS!!!l

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sean

      Thanks, Sean! I appreciate the RI connection. Since we're close neighbors, I'm always surprised to learn about things I've never heard of such as NY or Coney Island System Hot Wieners/Weiners! I had to look it up and found this:

      When I first read "HOT WIENERS," I was thinking you meant Johnny Red Hots--I haven't had one in at least a decade. They used to sell them outside Home Depot (and I used to live with someone named John, so the name always struck me funny). ;


      I will have to try a "gaggah" next time I'm in RI.

    2. No Nitrates, All beef. Has to actually have taste and texture. I'm really liking the Coleman all natural beef dogs that Costco is selling now.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Fritter

        I will have to look for them. Wonder if Sam's Club has 'em?

        1. re: Fritter

          One heads up on the whole "no nitrates" thing...Unless the dog is as gray as cement, it has nitrates, despite the claim...they use a loophole. Check the ingredients, and I guarantee you'll find something like "celery extract" or "celery juice" or something on the list.

          What would celery be doing in a hot dog, or any other cured meat product? It is naturally high guessed it...nitrates. But because nitrates are a naturally occurring component of the ingredient, they don't have to be listed. But the nitrates are there, and the proof is in the pink!

          1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

            And a bit of research:

            Colman's ingredient list says the dogs contain "Celery Juice Powder"

            And Consumer reports say:
            "While the three uncured franks might boast of "no added nitrates," our testing found that Applegate Farms, Coleman Natural, and Whole Ranch contained nitrates and nitrites at levels comparable to many of the cured models"

            1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

              Coleman's is *not* attempting to hide the nitrate/nitrite facts.

              On the label, it states "all natural, uncured beef hot dog, no msg, nitrites or nitrates* added - gluten free". IF you follow the astrisk, it states further: "except for the naturally occurring nitrites in sea salt, nutmeg and celery juice powder". There, full disclosure.

              I was at Costco yesterday and remembered Fritter's post above and picked up a package Colemans. Unfortunately, there's only 2 people in my house and I had to buy 3 lbs of them. Fortunately, they taste really good. While grilling some pork chops last nite, I grilled off two dogs - not at all overly salty like the national brands - and to verify, I had a pkg of Ball Park in the freezer and by comparison, Coleman's has (a bit) less sodium as well as fat (but trust me, there's still plenty of fat there!).

              Now I have so many hot dogs, I may need to plan a neighborhood block party.

              1. re: CocoaNut

                I would disagree, having worked in marketing for 20+ years, and dealt with FDA labeling requirements on foods, OTC and Rx drugs, and nutrional supplements. This is exactly what is doen, and what they are doing.

                They clearly have nitrates, and add ingredients to their product specifically because of the nitrate content of those ingredients, and the effect they have on the appearance of the final product.

                To claim prominently "no nitrates added", in big honking type, along with other health/natural claims is clearly an attempt to lure those who wish to avoid nitrates, while the asterisk and small reference to the source helps them to comply with the letter of the law. In fact, as Consumer Reports says, they have as much or nearly as much nitrate content as brands that add nitrates via more "conventional" means. it is a pure and simple marketing ploy

                To me, that is deceptive, albeit via a legal loophole that makes it technically compliant. If you are seeking to avoid nitrates for whatever reason, you would be inclined to believe Coleman dogs allow you to do that, and it is clearly not the case.

                But nevertheless, I eat hot dogs..not some sort of anti-nitrate militant, here. Just pointing out what I feel is a questionalbe practice, IMHO.

                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe


                  You will really get a kick out of the website ingredients, sans asterisk


                  1. re: jfood

                    Oh yeah, right to my point.

                    interestingly, FDA will not allow "MSG free" if a product contains ingredients (e.g., hydrolyzed yeast proteins, etc) which contain high levels of glutamates...I don't quite understand why this is permitted, though I imagine the issue just hasn't been raised loudly enough, and they have bigger fish to fry...

                    At the end of the day, if someone considers nitrates bad, and they want to avoid, I'm not sure why it matters where they come from...If I was trying to avoid strychnine, I don't see that it makes a difference if it is lab synthesized, or from a natural source, it'll kill me either way. (note I'm not saying nitrates = poison, just making a point)...

                    1. re: jfood

                      Questionable claims aside... Do we LIKE the Coleman's frankfurters? Applegate Farms? Or other uncured brands? What do all you dog 'hounds on this thread think?

                      1. re: surman

                        Jfood's dog of preferences

                        1 - Don's Hot Dogs made by Best Provisions in Newark, NJ but they only sell them there so its a little tough
                        2 - His go-to grocer dog is HN Dinner Franks. He likes the size, the taste, the texture and they can stand up nicely to his new preferred grilling method which is split and cook butterflied on the grill.

          2. Having grown up in Queens NY and having an uncle who had a Hygrades beef route, the Nathans/Hygrade was the gold standard. Hebrew National was a good second choice. In the more recent decades I have liked Boars Head with casing. America's Test Kitchen didi a store brand hot dog test and said they liked Nathans with its casing snap but showed the skinless on the tasting table. Last week Pathmark stores were selling Nathans at buy one get two free. I bought casing and skinless. The casing wins. The ones with casing give 12 oz. to a pack while the skinless ate 16 oz.

            I will do a test between Nathans casing and Hebrew Nat next.

            Over the years I have become more of a purist in my dog appreciation. Although I love kraut, slaw, horseradish mustard, dijon, Russian with a dog I now relegate the accoutrement to the side and enjoy the dog plain. I leave the seasoning to the dog meister letting their recipe speak to me.

            1 Reply
            1. re: phantomdoc

              phantomdoc, i noticed that discrepancy on the atk testing table, too.

            2. Have lived up and down the Atlantic Coast. My favorite is known in most areas as a "Boardwalk Frank". The best is a Schickhaus Griddle Frank. In the city what we call "Dirty Water Dogs" (street cart hot dogs) need to be Sabrett #10's. They're now available in many supermarkets.

              1. For starters, it has to have a natural casing. And the best hot dogs to me are definitely not all beef...I don't dislike all beef hot dogs, and there are some decento ones out there...but I much prefer ones made with pork and beef or preferably, the real deal made with all pork.