This being a holiday weekend there’s likely to be a lot of hot dogs consumed. Since I only eat a hot dog maybe once or twice a year, I want the tastiest variety I can find. Happily, there’s a number of experts telling us which ones are the most flavorful and why. So in case you haven’t firmly made up your mind on this topic, I thought I’d pass on what the wiener gurus have to say.
America’s Test Kitchen is probably the most authoritative. They test the wazoo out of everything that passes through their New England research lab (kitchen). They give the gold medal to Nathan’s Beef Franks.
ATC picked Nathan’s as its “top dog” for juiciness, snap, size, and plump. Lean dogs were too dry, they said. Testers favored a bit more fat for a tender, juicy wiener and preferred those with more salt over low-salt varieties. They shunned varieties too heavy in spices and corn products
Yet, another tester, Bon Appetit, threw their laurels to Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters.
But Wait. . .
The New York Times weighed in this weekend. Pundits Sam Sifton, Melissa Clark and Julia Moskin of The New York Times tested 10 popular hot dog varieties: Applegate, Nathan’s, Oscar Mayer, Wellshire Farms, Boar’s Head, Trader Joe’s, Niman Ranch, Ball Park, Brooklyn Hot Dog Company and Hebrew National.
Two dogs made the winner’s circle: Wellshire Farm, sold only at Whole Foods, and Hebrew National. Both had what they called the “familiar hot dog profile,” that is, a beefy taste, a soft but not mealy texture, noticeable juiciness, and a warm spice flavor. But Wellshire Farm got the blue ribbon by being slightly larger in size.
Ball Park hot dogs struck out with testers, who called the variety too soft and laced with additives. Trader Joe’s was panned, also, for being “rubbery and unfamiliar” in taste.
So there! You have the experts’ opinions. Now go out and buy whichever doggone hot dog fits your bun. Have a Happy 4th!