Courtesy of Ball Park
You’ve probably thrown these on the grill a lot, and that’s okay — so have we! But char marks and mustard can do a lot to mask a hot dog’s taste and texture. When eaten naked, we realized how artificial-tasting and soft these really are. They’re also creepy AF to look at. They look impossibly smooth (like plastic!).
Courtesy of Applegate
“Something’s not right” was heard more than once during the judgment process. The problem, we suspect, is it’s jerky-like aftertaste, which nobody hopes for in a frankfurter. Another thing: These were particularly sweaty!
Whole Foods 365
Courtesy of Whole Foods
Some said these were nicely chewy, others said they were rubbery and tough. Either way, the main takeaway here is that they’re definitely not worth a special trip to the expensive market chain if hot dogs are all you need.
Courtesy of Nathan’s
As New Yorkers who have trekked to Coney Island for Nathan’s infamous hot dogs, we were pretty disappointed by their grocery product. They were way too salty! But to be fair, they weren’t so offensive that we wouldn’t eat one (or three) at a barbecue.
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Though these were somewhat mushy and wet, their familiar saltiness was nostalgic. When we were younger, however, they weren’t free of nitrates, nitrites, and artificial preservatives, as they are now.
Courtesy of Trader Joe’s
What we were into: the strong beef flavor and chewy exterior. What confused us: notes of both honey and nutmeg. WHY?
Courtesy of Hebrew National
“It tastes like real meat!” one person exclaimed. Sadly, the same could not be said about many of the other contenders. Hebrew National prides itself on using only “premium cuts of beef from the front half of the cow.” So the “whole hot dogs are scary because you don’t know what’s in them” argument doesn’t apply here.
Courtesy of Sabrett
This is the dog they sell throughout the streets and parks of New York City, so you know it’s legit. Thankfully, it’s available outside of the big apple, too. (Just check their website to find a store near you.)
Visually, it’s very shiny. It’s also longer than average, so when you’re eating it at a cookout, expect more hot dog than bun. Most importantly, it has a “snap so loud you can hear it as you chew.”
Chances are that when you’re buying hot dogs, you’re not thinking too much. You go with a familiar brand or the kind that’s a few cents cheaper. A hot dog is a hot dog right?
Flavor-wise, maybe. With the exception of a few, it was pretty difficult for us to taste the difference between a lot of the franks. But don’t forget about texture. The range of textures here was very drastic and, quite frankly, pretty upsetting. Though some dogs were meaty and snappy, others were watery and soft.
This was as very difficult task (as you’ve probably already assumed) and one that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. Even when sliced into 1″ coins, you still end up eating a ton of hot dog. Plus, these were boiled (grilling would’ve given them an unfair advantage) AND there was no ketchup, mustard, or bun allowed. Trust us, we couldn’t make this taste test any more fair.