HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Whats the best hotdog to buy for my hotdog stand? What tastes the best?

I'm at a dilemma as to what kind of hotdog to purchase for my new business. I'm concerned with cost but I cant make money if I don't pick a hotdog that people will love. I've had Nathans suggested to me but since I never cared for them its made it hard to chose them. So know I figured I'd ask those who know more about food than me. The Customer.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Whether you will be grilling, boiling or steaming your dogs Kayem carries great tasting franks that will work with any method. Kayem makes the franks sold in Fenway Park and at Nationals Park. They carry both natural casing and skinless franks in either beef/pork or all beef versions.

    From their site: "They have no by-products, fillers or artificial flavors and are msg and gluten free."

    I have had the Old Tyme Natural Casing beef franks at home and I believe they use the Jumbo Beef dogs at Nationals Park which I have also had and enjoyed.

    Website: http://www.kayem.com/products/franks/...

    Good luck.

    1. I usually like the best local or regional you can get for your area. They would probably appeal to those who are "local" and therefore familiar with and comfortable with the brand. People not local, at least foodie types, often like to try the "local" product.
      Personally, I like a natural l casing. Growing up in NYC my favorite hot dog stand hot dog has to be Sabrett. They once had the market all to themselves. www.sabrett.com.

      8 Replies
      1. re: bobbert

        I agree with using the regional favorite - you can probably charge a little more, too, to offset your cost.

        1. re: bobbert

          Haven't experience a lot of variety here in NE OHIO so far so the standard condiments and cheese seems to suffice here. However I'd like to try and bring some a different flavor to the area. Was reading that celery salt on dogs is preferred by some in NY. I've never tried that but if it works Im willing to.

          1. re: BOSSDOGGSHD

            I thought celery salt was a Chicago thing?

              1. re: escondido123

                Biggest here (Metro NY) is onions in red sauce, chili, or cheese sauce. And of course mustard, sweet relish and sauerkraut. It's always interesting to see what is popular elsewhere! Sometimes people request ketchup or even mayo, have to have on hand just in case.

              2. re: coll

                I don't know about regionality of celery salt, but I put a dash or two in my tuna fish instead of dicing up celery. No crunch, but all the taste.

                1. re: njmarshall55

                  I have a giant container and have been adding it to Bloody Marys. But if I live to be 200, there will still be a half container left. Any advice appreciated, so tuna salad, check. Hot dogs, check.

              3. re: BOSSDOGGSHD

                Celery salt on a dawg is terrific regardless of where you have it.

            1. Where will your hot dog stand be? And how will you prepare them?

              6 Replies
              1. re: JMF

                Currently I'm in NE Ohio but by the end of the year I may be in Atlanta area.
                The dogs will be boiled and steamed eventually I will consider grilling depending on area demand.

                1. re: BOSSDOGGSHD

                  As a food and beverage business consultant I suggest you either build your business around what is the regionally accepted hot dog styles. Or, research all the hot dog styles there are and decide which ones you will serve. just selling hot dogs with no fore thought won't make you a living.

                  1. re: JMF

                    I think this thread IS the OPs 'research'. (smh)

                  2. re: BOSSDOGGSHD

                    You'll face some tough competition with the infamous Varsity in Atlanta. My vote would be go local, but consider some of the other top notch products...Sabrett is still my fave.

                    1. re: njmarshall55

                      The only competition the Varsity would provide is for those customers that wouldn't know a good hot dog if they had one. Crowded with mediocre food, it's all about the "show" and being able to say you went there. An Atlanta institution, perhaps. A taste treat, not.

                      1. re: grampart

                        Lot of NYers down in Georgia now, not a bad idea to appeal to them.

                2. There's a science to selling hot dogs. You need to provide your regional area and your target audience. Are you a roadside stand, a business in the middle of town or do you have a captive audience. As indicated by others, how you plan to prepare them is also a very important decision in determining whether you should choose an all beef dog, or a beef & pork combination. I would also argue that the bun platform is just as important in your decision.

                    1. When I bought hot dogs in bulk in NYC I'd go to the Sabrett wholesaler. You could buy the dogs in a variety of sizes and prices. #6's = 6 to a pound #8's=8 to a pound and so on. Sabrett makes a nice dog. Kayem is very good but you may have a hard time finding them at wholsale prices. BJ's sells them.

                      1. If you're going to open a hot dog stand, be sure to read THE CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. After reading that book, you'll never look at hotdog stand again without thinking of Ignatius.

                        3 Replies
                          1. re: arktos

                            A trip down a memory lane of reading - a masterpiece!!

                            For those who care:

                          2. Around here, people usually look for Sabrett. They are very generous with point of sale items like umbrellas, T shirts and signage.

                            You can control your cost on the dogs by getting the size that fits your budget. Most use 10 to 1 and up to 13 to 1. The buns will be a bigger cost to you, Sabrett distributes the least expensive one that I know of unless you want to get fancy. It's relatively thin. But the thicker the bun, the more it will satisfy the eater's appetite and the less hot dogs they will buy. Sabrett buns will cost you 15 cents vs 35 cents if you go with Arnold or Martins.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: coll

                              Never thought about thin buns. lol

                              1. re: BOSSDOGGSHD

                                So many things to consider, if you want to make money!

                            2. You need to so some ground work about your market area. If you're going to be in Atlanta, you should find out what the local hot dogs are, what's the favorite of those dogs, how is it usually prepared and what condiments do most people in that area like to put on their dogs.

                              Hot dogs are local like pizza. If you try to use some out of area dog, you'll have issues. That also goes for preparation and condiments. You might as well find out what the favorite beverage is in the area also.

                              Example, Schickhaus franks need to be in every store on the Jersey shore, but go to CT or Mass and it's Hummels in CT and Kayem, Pearl in the Boston area. Western Mass is Blue Seal, NYC is Nathan's at Coney Island, but it's Hebrew National in the kosher deli's. Sabrett's in some parts of NJ, but not others.
                              Good Luck. Remember, you're not selling hot dogs, you're selling what brings together families, leaves a person with a childhood dream or someones first date.

                              1 Reply
                              1. I would argue that while the local favorite dog is important, it is not paramount......a high quality product presented well and at a price point where the customer feels s/he received good value is most important. You can be like sheep...or set yourself apart from your competition. .

                                1. Hands down a great hotdog, for a hotdog cart is Dearborn Sausage Brand. The people on here commenting on the other dogs, just simply have never had one. They are high quality for a reasonable price and they do a lot of business with hot dog venders. By far your best option, people will go out of their way to get your hotdogs.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Dboes1

                                    The people here commenting on other dogs don't live in the midwest, so have other brands that they favor. There is no one best hot dog.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      Bull, don't give me that politically correct crap. I've tried over 100 different dogs, from restuarant's, carts, trucks, stadium concessions, grocery, to mail order. I've tried the brands talked about, and where I will say most are good, there are hotdogs that do stand out. You must not be too much into hotdogs to make that statement.

                                      1. re: Dboes1

                                        And you've probably had them cooked a whole lot of ways. To say that one brand or one way of cooking them is the absolute best? That's just plain wrong.

                                  2. The most successful dog places in my area serve a whole beef dog and a Polish. Is that something that is big in your area? Generally kraut and mustard are used with the Polish!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                      Many trucks here will also feature a sausage and pepper.

                                    2. the most important parameters are:

                                      1. Is it natural casing or no casing? Most grocery store brands have no casing ("skinless"), and most "gourmet" hot dogs and pretty much all other sausages have casings. They give that snap when you bite into them. Vienna Beef, Sabrett, Kowalski, and Nathan's are some examples of brands that have natural casings, although most of these make skinless versions as well. Natural casing is more expensive.

                                      2. Is it all-beef or something else? Unless you're going with some kind of gourmet thing or there's a strong local preference for something else, you should go all-beef, just because it looks good to say all-beef really.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: alliaphagist

                                        1. Usually you choose skin on or skinless depending on how you're going to cook the dogs. NC is best for boiling and skinless best for grilling on a roller set up.
                                        But if you're going to be selling hundreds of dogs a day, you probably won't be going to the grocery store anyway, you can get whatever your preference is wholesale and delivered (or at BJs if not that much business at your location).

                                        2. All beef is sort of mandatory around these parts, due to religious beliefs. But those in the know go nuts for beef and pork mix, so you might want to offer it on the side.

                                        1. re: alliaphagist

                                          No flames but consider a veggie dog for people like me who want to eat a hot dog but don't eat meat..you would rock it!
                                          Wishing you all the best.

                                        2. Well it's been a year, BOSSDOGGSHD, how about a report?