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Feb 23, 2013 03:01 PM

Best hot dogs without nitrates or nitrates?

I bought wonderful no-nitrate hot dogs at a Santa Cruz, CA area Whole Foods a few months back. They had a good flavor, not too much sodium, and an outstanding snap.

Assuming they would still be sold by the store, I didn't note the brand name. Now I can't find them.

Any recommendations?

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  1. did it contain celery juice?

    It would not be safe to make hot dogs without some type of preservative

    Even Fearless Franks by Niman Ranch which clearly states on the label that there are not added nitrates or nitrites contains celery juice which is high in nitrates. Please don't be fooled by misleading labels and advertisements or pay a premium when you are being mislead.

    4 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      There are specific USDA regulations on what you can or cannot say when making bacon and hotdogs (and related items) without the pure chemical nitrates/ites. Things like 'not cured', 'keep below 40deg', not added nit... (except those contained in celery juice), .... Part of the reasoning is that the level of chemicals in the juice are harder to control and monitor.

      Companies like Niman and Applegate use things like celery because it gives the desired product qualities (like color), and can still be labeled as 'organic'. They are not trying to reduce the total nitrite/ate levels in your diet.

      1. re: scubadoo97

        You consume nitrates daily in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Anything grown in soil pulls nitrates out of the earth.

        Niman Ranch addresses the relationship between curing salts and celery juice on their websight.
        They aren't misleading anyone. The info is present for whomever cares to look for it.

        I eat a ton of spinach and a lot of kale. Both are loaded with soil born nitrates. Artichokes have a boatload too. A nitrate free diet will like likely end in starvation.

        Science heavyweights like The National Academy of Sciences, the American Cancer Society and the National Research Council have all published studies concluding there is no health risk from consuming Nitrites.

        1. re: Brandon Nelson

          there is a difference between nitrite additives and nitrites that occur naturally in vegetables. Vegetables with nitrites also contain high levels of vitamins A and C, which it is theorized work to block the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the human gut, explaining why nitrite containing veggies help protect from cancer, while synthetic nitrite additives in cured meats are shown to cause cancer.

      2. I think Trader Joe's sells a nitrate free hot dog.

        7 Replies
        1. re: carolinadawg


          Common people, wise up to this stuff. The Fearless Flyer hot dogs at TJ does contain nitrates. Doesn't matter where the nitrates come from, it no more healthy or unhealthy in one form or the other.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            So are you saying that eating celery means ingesting nitrates?

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Agree with your information. Here is a link to good NYT article


                There is no nitrate/nitrite free (hot dog) lunch.

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  That was suppose to be come on people, not common people. Sorry for the auto correct typo.

                  To the OP did you call WF and ask which brands they carried a few months back. Odds are they know

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    The guy in the butcher department was clueless and couldn't remember.

              2. My life is a litany of exceptions, and in the wonderful world of hot dogs I make (as I almost always do) an exception and have what tastes just really great. So my response is not going to be of interest. I'd look for hand crafted sausages. They are usually a good sub for dogs.

                1. Well, this has turned out to be a different discussion than I'd thought. I'm grateful for the instruction about nitrate/nitrites.

                  But regardless of the health claims, we really liked the pasture-raised, celery juice-only hot dogs I got at Whole Foods. It was the flavor and the snap that hooked me.

                  So for those of you who have tried hot dogs labeled pasture-raised and no nitrate/nitrites and liked them, what is your favorite brand with good snap and flavor and not overwhelming sodium?