The 8 Best Hot Dogs You Can Buy

For this prestigious and long-awaited taste test, we invited the gruesome twosome, Mythical Kitchen’s own Laverne and Shirley and the hosts of the Webby-winning A Hot Dog Is a Sandwich podcast, Josh Scherer and Nicole Enayati. Nicole, of course, ate her hot dogs like a distinguished human being, and Josh, well, we’ve all seen Josh eat. This was a lot like letting a feral animal loose in an alley full of garbage cans.

For this taste test, I cooked the hot dogs in a pan to get a nice sear, then added a little bit of water into the pan to finish the cooking. This, in my opinion, cooks the hot dogs thoroughly while adding a bit more texture than purely microwaving them or boiling them in water. We looked for three things in a good hot dog: snap, flavor, and size. Ideally, a good hot dog casing adds some extra texture. Being loaded full of spices isn’t always a plus, but if it adds to the overall experience without taking away from the beefiness, we liked spice. Finally, the size: Hot dogs should fit inside of a standard hot dog bun comfortably, perhaps even extending past the bun just a touch. We don’t want more bun than dog, ya feel me?

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hebrew national beef franks

Best of the Best

Hebrew National Beef Franks

Hebrew National’s dog is salty and meaty, and its girth (sorry) is absolutely perfect. It doesn’t have a huge amount of snap, but it’s got enough so you can still tell it’s made with a natural casing. The biggest score, though, is the spice blend. Hebrew National is dense with wonderful flavor. Salt, spice, garlic powder, and paprika combine to create a juicy bite of beef that’s so good the hot dog starts to flavor the hot dog bun itself with its deliciously spiced beef juices. “This absolutely rules,” said Josh as he shoved half a hot dog in his mouth, getting mustard all over his face.

Sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard, diced pickles—everything compliments a Hebrew National hot dog. Some people think plain hot dogs are an abomination, but once you try a juicy Hebrew National hot dog, you immediately reject that notion. Maybe the snap could be better, but it’s damn near a perfect hot dog.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

kirkland hot dogs

Best Big Hot Dog

Kirkland Signature Beef Hot Dogs

These are gigantic hot dogs and they are absolutely wonderful. Every single one of us liked them. Kirkland hot dogs are triple the size of a normal hot dog and triple the taste, as well. “I thought I liked discreet hot dogs, but turns out I don’t,” said Josh. “This is so [redacted] delicious,” he continued. “Salty, beefy, and a great snap.” I absolutely love how egregiously thick these hot dogs are. Something about it feels like Texas State Fair food and I’m in love with the meatiness of these big boys. I like how they protrude from both sides of the hot dog bun, so your first bite of the hot dog is just a giant hunk of salty, well-spiced meat. Kirkland hot dogs can hold a lot of toppings, too. Load this up with onions, ketchup, relish, cheese sauce and chili, whatever. The Kirkland hot dog can withstand any amount of pressure. This is a whole damn meal. A dinner dog.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

boar's head beef hot dogs

Best Snap

Boar’s Head Beef Frankfurters

This might be too fancy for some; Boar’s Head hot dogs come wrapped together like links of sausage hanging in a butcher shop. The taste and texture, though, is incredible. “The snap is so inviting,” said Nicole. “This feels like a person made this,” said Josh, “Which is impressive because most hot dogs feel like they were made by a Tesla machine.” Boar’s head hot dogs have some extra spice and flavor, but they still maintain the true I-don’t-actually-know-what-this-is spirit of a hot dog. It’s got a great, natural flavor and a hard snap that plays well with a soft, squishy hot dog bun. The length is great, too, so your first bite won’t be mostly bread. “I’m actually going to finish this,” said Josh. 

Here at Sporked, we don’t daintily spit out food when we do taste tests. We eat.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

simply nature beef hot dogs

Best Spice

Simply Nature Uncured Beef Hot Dogs

“What is this flavor?” asked Nicole with curious delight. Simply Nature features a slew of organic ingredients like organic onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, paprika, and celery powder. Simply Nature hot dogs are beefy but have a uniquely pronounced taste due to the added spices. The only knock on these hot dogs is that they might be a little too taut, a bit too tightly wound, instead of loose and juicy. Josh also rolled his eyes at the organic branding of these hot dogs. “I want you to spit in the eye of science and give me a hot dog,” he said. I don’t disagree, but hey, flavor is flavor.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Aldi

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

365 uncured beef hot dogs

Best Gourmet Hot Dog

Whole Foods 365 Uncured Beef Hot Dogs

“Oooh, it’s a loosey,” said an excited Josh as he bit into this dog. Unlike Simply Nature, Whole Foods hot dogs are loose and deliciously tender. The skin on the Whole Foods hot dogs have a great texture that creates an added barrier. “I want more boundaries in my life and barriers in my hot dogs,” said Josh. Nicole, however, thought that the skin was too tough and reminded her of the rings around bologna. It’s a lot of spice for a hot dog, so it borders on gourmet territory. But I love gourmet hot dogs. Load me up with fancy fixings and charge $9. There’s a ton of flavor potential here. This should inspire you to get creative in the kitchen.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

oscar mayer hot dogs

Best Classic

Oscar Mayer Original Uncured Wieners

It’s a classic. Also, this whole time I thought it was spelled Oscar Meyer. Not Oscar Mayer like John Mayer. Anyway, Oscar Mayer is squishy, spongey, salty, and has that classic hot dog taste. “It tastes like it’s been pickled,” said Nicole. There is a bit of piquancy to an Oscar Mayer hot dog that sets it apart from other cheap, casingless hot dogs. Personally, I love Oscar Mayer hot dogs for their ability to meld into other dishes. Cut them up and put them into mac and cheese or do what South Texas does: Cook them with scrambled eggs and stuff it all inside a taco.

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

nathan's hot dogs

Best for a Cookout

Nathan’s Skinless Bun Length Beef Franks

Nathan’s has a good snap to it and it’s well balanced and tasty all around. It can taste just a tad bit rubbery, but I think that’s okay in a hot dog. You definitely want to grill a Nathan’s hot dog to get the most out of it both in terms of flavor and texture. The dogs themselves are sizable, and the flavor is good without being overpowering. I like Nathan’s, and think that their combination of size and agreeable flavor make them a great choice for any cookout (or hot dog eating contest, obviously).

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

foster farms turkey franks

Best Turkey

Foster Farms Turkey Franks

Staff writer Jordan Myrick fought hard for this one. I get what Jordan likes about it, and a turkey option is never a horrible thing to have on hand for those who don’t eat beef or pork. “To me this tastes good,” said Jordan. “It’s savory, not dry, and has a great, meaty flavor.” I was a fan of Foster Farms’ turkey breakfast sausage and Jordan likes their turkey dogs. Foster Farms just does turkey products very well. 

Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Target

Rating:

6.5/10

Sporks

Wagyu Beef Hot Dog from Snake River Farms

During a Good Mythical Morning blind taste test, Rhett got fancy with his pick, ya’ll. “For people who have class, like me, you can get a wagyu beef hot dog from Snake River Farms,” he said half jokingly. In the end, they both agreed that the Snake River Farms hot dog had a great snap and incredible flavor. Link argued that it’s got too pure of a flavor for a hot dog (he prefers mechanically separated). But, there’s a place for fancy food sometimes. Case in point: Snake River Farms wagyu beef hot dogs.

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About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • No sabretts?

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  • if you want a “more” Hebrew National experience, try their “Specials” – much girthier, same flavor profile.

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  • You are totally wrong! None of these can compare to a Chicago All Beef Vienna Hot Dog!

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    • Facts

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    • 10000000%

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  • Where’s the Sabrett’s Hot Dogs?

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    • Uncle Joey ate them all.

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  • You never had a Smith’s Dog from Erie,PA

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    • Have you tried Sahlen’s?

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    • I actually might have, but can’t remember. I’m from New Castle, PA. Love Erie!

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    • You need to try a Smith’s, boiled and grilled!

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  • My favorite is Ball Park beef franks. I’ve tried a couple of those you listed b ut they can’t beat ballpark. A couple of those I’ve seen don’t sell around here.

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  • The greatest hot dogs are Vienna Beef.

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  • Have you ever tried Sahlen’s hot dogs from Buffalo NY?

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    • Wardynskis or Sahlens blow all these away… Oscar Mayer??? Lol

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    • Yes there great

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    • Buffalonian here, Sahlens are the only hot dog I’ll eat

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  • I don’t see Feltman’s Cooney Island beef hot dogs on this list which I think is the best grilling hot dogs of them all

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  • At Last……..you have done so much for the lowery Hot Dog… I will go to a grocery tomorrow and buy several brands and will eat and enjoy every bite !

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  • How do you possibly leave Farmer John off of this list?
    You guys must not know much about the west coast, namely California!!!

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  • How do you leave out Farmer John? You guys are obviously not familiar with the west coast, namely California!!!

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    • I mean they live in California so I don’t know, They usually start with more than what’s on this list and narrow it down to make the list.

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  • I completely disagree. I have been in many hotdog manufacturing plants in North America and the dogs they have chosen don’t even come close to the best!!

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  • I completely disagree. I have been in many hotdog manufacturing plants in North America and the dogs they have chosen don’t even come close to the best!!

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    • Two people with different names, two minutes apart, Commenting the exact same thing Word for word. Why?

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  • No Duesmacher

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  • The original NY pushcart style frankfurters that are famous for the snap are called Natural Casing but is difficult to find those in stores much anymore, but sometimes still direct from the company. Now people mostly find skinless (without the casing) franks at the stores which are sometimes a step down, and finally there are now “healthier” versions called all natural or uncured, but recommend to try the healthier versions only after the original to see if it retains the original taste you enjoy. My favorite so far after trying dozens are Sabrett Jumbo skinless and hofmann german franks natural casing hot dogs. For example Nathans makes a coney island natural casing as well as the skinless you generally find in the store and an all natural uncured. Brands I recommend include Sabrett, Glazier, Nathans, Hummels, Hoffman, Zweigle, Snake River Farms, Koegels, Boars Head, Vienna Beef, and perhaps some may enjoy Hebrew National as you did but this is just a partial list. (Didnt really like Sahlens).

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  • Justice for the city of Rochester and our Zweigle’s brand!!! I think you tried the white ones (which require an advanced palate, I understand) but the red ones are next level.

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  • I think your full of it nothing like a natural cased dog nest from the butcher but I’ll do an ambassador dog all day long the nest but any natural skin is better than any of this shit hands down sorry but true

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  • Now here’s the thing. I know the whole crew isn’t from NC, but you gotta include the Leafy Bright red dogs on here as a shoutout to the ol stomping grounds. Even if they’re in last place, you just gotta do it.

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  • Help low salt what is best hot dog

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  • You definitely haven’t tried Zwiegles Hots from Rochester,NY. They are The Bomb !!!

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  • If your going Nathan’s you have to go with the Coney island natural casing. It’s all about the right spice and the snap. I’ve never had the boars head but of the rest Nathan’s is my #1 seed.

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  • I love hot dogs. The best I had was Morrell New York style beef. And I live in Wyoming but from northeast of Pittsburgh.

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  • I love hot dogs. The best I had was Morrell New York style beef. And I live in Wyoming but from northeast of Pittsburgh. The spices in these are delicious. I forgot to mention, in 1970 I worked at Old Timer pa king house in Loveland Colorado, they also had a good spice in their beef hot dogs.

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  • Omaha Steaks Hot Dogs are the bomb over any of those!

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  • Sabretts are the best all around HOT DOG BOILED OR FRIED ON GRILL

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  • Where are Zweigles they are the best.

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  • Shocked to see that Abeles and Heymann are missing from this list. They specifically mentioned them as one of their favorite on their podcast.

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  • The Signature Select Jumbo Uncured Beef Franks from Albertsons/Safeway blow all these out of the grill. They are incredibly meaty and juicy, and the texture is a lot less processed and homogeneous. And the flavor is so complimentary to any combination of toppings, it never gets drowned-out like so many others do.

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