Frankfurters, franks, wieners, weenies, tube steaks, coneys, and red hots.
I had a fantastic hot dog the other day. It reminded me of a mid-winter birthday lunch I once gave for Nancy. It began with a roaring fire in our dining room and our table set with our wedding china. I surprised the guests by instructing them to pick up their plates and go into our driveway. The Super Duper Weenie man arrived in his truck and we all chose our favorite dogs. The point is, people like hot dogs. Wieners don’t take themselves too seriously and they lend themselves to lots of toppings.
People have strong opinions about the best hot dogs. Reviewers look for taste, seasoning, appearance, and ‘snap’ (the moment you bite into the casing of the dog). Our local butcher, Greenwich Prime Meats, sells the great hot dog that inspired this article – Sabrett Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters. They also recommend Hebrew National Kosher Beef Franks.
There are lots of opinions on the best store-bought, all-beef hot dogs. These are the brands which consistently get the best reviews:
Costco’s Kirkland Beef Hot Dogs
Nathan’s Angus Beef Franks
Nathan’s Skinless Beef Franks
Oscar Meyer Classic Beef Uncured Franks
Trader Joe’s Uncured Beef Hot Dogs
Sabrett Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters and Hebrew National Kosher Beef Franks – my choice and the favorite of Greenwich Prime Meats.
There are two boutique hot dog brands which have had huge sales during the pandemic. Both can be ordered online for home delivery.
Feltman’s of Coney Island is owned by two brothers who have brought back the Feltman’s Brand which was big on the boardwalk into the 1950’s.
Brooklyn hot dogs are all natural, hormone and antibiotic free.
Worried that the hot dog is not your most nutritious choice? There are several plant-based wieners which get good reviews. Most still contain sodium for flavor, but have fewer calories, less saturated fat and about the same protein as their meat-based cousins.
Moving Mountains Hot Dogs are entirely plant-based, using sunflower seeds. They are seasoned with natural ingredients including onions, carrots (for color) and paprika. The ingredients are mixed into a paste, then shaped into a hot dog and cooked, then smoked. They are said to be nutritious: high in B complex vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin E and protein.
Lightlife Plant-Based Smart Dogs are made with both soy and pea proteins. The ‘classic’ hot dogs contain just 50 calories each, with 8grams of protein. The jumbo smart dogs contain 100 calories and 14 grams of protein.
Field Roast Frankfurters are made with wheat gluten rather than soy and are almost twice the size of the typical skinny vegan dogs. Each dog has 190 calories and 20g of protein. Their flavor comes from a mix of spices including paprika, caraway, garlic, ground mustard, and liquid smoke.
Be Leaf Hot Dogs are made from non-GMO soybean and wheat proteins and contain 45 calories each.
Upton’s Naturals Updog Vegan Hot Dogs are made of Seitan (wheat gluten) canola oil, wheat flour, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, paprika, onion and spices. Don’t tell your guests, but the casing on these dogs are a special algae-based coating that gives them a satisfying snap.
Upton’s makes a variety of vegan products which resemble their meat-based cousins. They use ‘Seitan’ which is a traditional Japanese food made by rinsing the starch away from wheat and retaining the protein. It tastes like meat and has no cholesterol.
Morningstar Farms Veggie Dogs are not for strict vegans—they contain milk and egg products—but they are inexpensive, meat-free dog and available in a wide range of supermarkets. They are made of wheat gluten, corn syrup solids, egg whites and spices. It is frozen which makes it a nice option for an unplanned meal. They are made by Kellogg.
Here is the menu from the Super Duper Weenie man to give you some inspiration.