Taste of Home
There are two types of people in the world: Those who prefer burgers and those who prefer hot dogs—and the divide becomes clear at any cookout.
Personally, I’m firmly in the hot dog camp. From the satisfying snap when you bite into the pillowy bun that lets you pile on practically any topping, I say hot dogs are the all-American summer meal. (After all, vendors don’t yell “Burgers! Burgers!” at ball games, right?)
At your next barbecue, you’ll want to make sure the best hot dogs are plated up next to loaded juicy burgers like these on the buffet. To find out which brand is best, our sister site Taste of Home got together some hot dog aficionados for a blind taste test. Testers tried six popular brands of store-bought hot dogs and picked a few winners.
Taste of Home
Honorable Mention: Great Value Uncured Beef Franks
The tasting panel deemed Walmart’s store brand as the “standard” hot dog. Though it was saltier than the other top picks, all testers agreed that we’d be happy to eat this at a cookout. If you’re hosting a larger event, Great Value’s beef franks are a budget-friendly choice (they’re as much as $1 cheaper than competitor brands!). Here are a few other affordable dinner ideas that are big on taste.
$2.74 for an 8-pack; available exclusively at Walmart.
Runner-Up: Hebrew National Beef Franks
Tasters agreed that this dog had the most unique flavor of the bunch, and with good reason. They discovered that Hebrew National packs its franks with garlic powder and paprika—two of the ten essential spices that every cook should own. The panel also found that these franks were firm and substantial, perfect for feeding even the most famished cornhole winner.
Price varies for a 6-pack; available at grocers nationwide.
Best in Show: Nathan’s Famous Skinless Beef Franks
Host of the annual 4th of July hot dog eating contest, this brand took the title of champion. The panel unanimously agreed that Nathan’s Famous combined all of the best qualities into a winning hot dog. It tasted flavorful—seasoned but not salty—and had a gentle snap with every bite. Nathan’s Famous has had plenty of time to perfect the recipe: The company has been serving up its signature franks for well over a century (kind of like these other legacy brands you need to know about).
$3.67 for an 8-pack; available at grocers nationwide.
The Bottom Line
If you’re at the store and need to choose the best hot dog for your outdoor cookout, any of these finalists would make a great choice. However, Nathan’s Famous may just win over the hamburger enthusiasts in your group.
What to Make Next
Taste of Home
While it’s easy to douse hot dogs in the standard squiggles of ketchup and mustard, here are a few more ways to make your franks the talk of the party:
- DIY dogs: Set up a topping bar for guests to customize their dog. To keep organized, separate pre-prepped condiments using a muffin tin.
- Wrap ’em up: Make meal-sized pigs-in-blankets with our Hot Dog Roll-Ups recipe. Refrigerated crescent rolls help this four-ingredient dish come together in a snap.
- Pile on the chili: Put a pound of ground beef to work in this recipe for loaded Chili Coney Dogs. (Don’t skip the sprinkle of onions on top!)
Not a fan of any of these toppings? Try one of these 15 other ways to make a “boring” hot dog delicious.
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