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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.

    7 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.

            1. re: Littleirishtroll

              Sodium Nitrite is sodium nitrite regardless of the source. Vitamin C is added to a cure for the same reason except that we can control the exact amount of nitrites going into our product. Celery juice you can't monitor the amount of nitrite going in so you have inconsistent quality and more often than not a much higher dose of sodium nitrite.

            2. re: Brandon Nelson

              Amazing to see some clarity in one of the threads of this type. (Like so many other food topics just a little bit technical, there's much too much rule-of-thumb mythology.) Brandon Nelson was right, to the letter (and you can confirm it if you'll do the work.)

              LittleIrishTroll caught part, but unfortunately not the important rest, of the story: "there is a difference between nitrite additives and nitrites that occur naturally in vegetables. Vegetables with nitrites also contain high levels of [natural antioxidants]."

              First, food scientists have known for _decades_ that many vegetables contain natural nitrites, but also antioxidant chemical species that suppress nitrosamine formation. That's why you don't see threads like this warily warning people against eating GREEN VEGETABLES. (For anyone hung up on the following detail: _nitrites_ are the radicals of practical import for both antibacterial action and potential formation of toxic nitrosamines. But nitrates reduce to nitrites in cured meat while stored, which is why nitrates, as in saltpeter, have been used for centuries for curing meats.)

              But modern cured meats TOO use antioxidants, as deliberate additives, to inhibit nitrosamine formation. Look for the presence of an ascorbate, or its very close relative, erythorbate , on the ingredients label, and you'll realize you're getting cured meats with (just like those green vegetables!) "high levels of [natural antioxidants]." Modern regulations on nitrate/nitrite additives are written explicitly for avoiding nitrosamines (the original hazard issue that got everyone who now reads this concerned over "nitrites and nitrates").

              Please don't get distracted by things like celery powder (unless you want also to swear off celery, in a naïve assumption that it's somehow BAD).

              A thread title more accurately on target would be "Best nitrosamine-suppressed hot dogs" or even (more accessibly) "Best hot dogs with deliberate antioxidants."

              IMHO, ANY sausages eaten immoderately probably unwittingly raise other known, gratuitous risks like salt, fat, and those still-incompletely-understood statistical correlations between certain diseases and even UNcured meats in large quantities.

              1. re: eatzalot

                How much spinach do I need to put on my hot dog to make it safe? :o)


          1. 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?