Taste Test: The Best Supermarket Hot Dog Brands
Call ‘em franks, red hots, dogs, or dawgs, the all-American backyard grill favorite gets taste tested.
Springfield Gallery / Fotolia
By some miracle of the Baseball Gods, both the Yankees and Mets are currently in first place (and have been for much of the young season). This uncommon occurrence called for a baseball-related food post—a hot dog taste test. Eleven of us blind tasted six supermarket hot dog brands (apologies to Boar’s Head, which was not at either of the stores we purchased the dogs from) and rated them from 1 to 5 (meaning 55 would be a perfect score). All were grilled out in the magazine’s patio/garden and eaten both plain and on a bun with mustard.
$6.99 (8 hot dogs/12 oz)
Along with Neiman Ranch, Applegate was the most “natural” dog among the ones we tested. Unlike Neiman Ranch however, it fared terribly with the reviewers, eliciting comments like “salty,” “strange,” and “[tastes] fishy” and “not like a hot dog.”
$4.99 (8 hot dogs/14 oz)
“Low grade,” “weirdly chewy,” and “artificial” summed up most of the reviews, though a few appreciated the “smoky,” “good” flavor.
$7.49 (8 hot dogs/12 oz)
The ratings on the kosher dog of choice ranged between “very average” to “I like but don’t love it.”
$7.99 (4 hot dogs/11 oz)
The plumpest (both before and after grilling) and most visually appealing, the antibiotic-free, no-hormones-added Neiman Ranch also got points for being the “least greasy” and having a “good crunch.” Negative comments included “not a lot of flavor” and “a little bland.”
$6.99 (8 hot dogs, 12 oz)
Everyone’s favorite Coney Island frank yielded mixed commentary, including “salty but good,” “tastes beefy,” and “flavorful”, as well as “bland,” “so-so,” and “too small for the bun.”
Score: 43 (The Winner!)
$6.99 (8 hot dogs/14 oz)
The texture that had a “nice exterior snap,” as well as the “juicy,” “flavorful,” “meaty, moist” interior gave the win to the Bronx-processed dogs that are common at Sabrett-branded carts on New York City street corners. One staffer summed up the majority of positive comments: “I like—fat and juicy.”