What’s in a Hot Dog?



I remember reading a magazine article once about landfills and how hot dogs–25 years later–still hadn’t decomposed. Whether it was a landfill problem–due to lack of air circulation–or a food issue, it got me thinking.

I haven’t eaten a hot dog in years. Even when I did, I would only eat Nathan’s or Hebrew National because they seemed to use fewer preservatives.

Wikipedia lists the common hot dog ingredients as meat and fat, flavorings, and preservatives for curing (typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite).

The USDA has a nice fact sheet on its website. You could get lost there, trying to figure out the differences among the multitude of ingredients.

Hebrew National–“made with premium cuts of kosher beef”–has the nicest list of all, including both ingredients and nutritional information. Here’s what’s in their classic Beef Franks: Beef, Water, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Sodium Lactate, Spice, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Paprika, Sodium Diacetate, Garlic Powder, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Flavorings. CONTAINS: Soy.

Still, as appealing as that sounds, just watching the “How It’s Made” You Tube video above keeps my mind, stomach, and soul from ever craving another hot dog again. There are a lot of parts in those dogs. Parts that come from trimmings and who-knows-where. Parts I can live without.

What do you think?

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2 responses to “What’s in a Hot Dog?

  1. I think hot dogs are like the leftover casserole of the meat aisle– anything lying around goes in. When my son was little and was very sensitive to dairy products, we discovered he had a reaction to some hot dogs. Turns out some have whey or cassein added. Never expected someone with a milk allergy would have to worry about a “meat” product.

    • I think that’s one of the scariest things about processed foods, Steve. So many ingredients snuck in, and for what? Thanks for your comment!

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