Many of us are hot dog fans. We might enjoy them as a quick “go to” meal at home, an afternoon at the ball park, but always on important holidays like the 4th of July.
The hot dog has been irreverently maligned over the years as bad food, nutritionally void, even received veiled thoughts of tainted meat. Well, the NY Times has investigated this favorite American food and came up with some good news and gave us some direction when choosing our holiday treat.
Hot Dogs have a long and varied history. “The hot dog’s immediate ancestors, traditional wienerwursts and frankfurters from Germany and Austria, were made from combinations of pork, beef and sometimes veal. Beyond the meat, frankfurters have a trace of smoke, a touch of garlic and a hum of warm spice from paprika, coriander, clove or nutmeg. These subtle seasonings are what make a hot dog a hot dog.”
Some hot dogs are still made with fillers and different meats. The first rule of thumb is choosing only all beef hot dogs.
The New York Times has given us their top ten choices of all beef. They taste tested only all beef dogs, always in a bun, and with a moderate amount of traditional condiments. Here are the taste testers top picks….
“Only Wellshire Farms, a brand sold only at Whole Foods markets, and Hebrew National, a stalwart, had what we considered a true and familiar hot dog profile: an identifiable beefy taste, a texture that’s soft but not mealy, a noticeable juiciness and a thread of warm spice flavor. Wellshire Farms got the edge because of its slightly larger size, coming in first in our tasting”. Other acceptable entries included Nathans Famous Skinless Beef Frank, Oscar Meyer Skinless Beef Franks, Boars Head Beef, The Brooklynn Hot Dog Company, and Miman Ranch. They assigned a thumbs down for Trader Joe’s Organic Grass Fed and Ball Park Franks, these last two were deemed to have less flavor and a “rubbery” taste.
And, back to the question of how healthy are franks….they are not on our best food choices list, but we do allow a 4th of July dispensation for all beef hot dogs.
Enjoy the holiday and stay safe.