What Are Hot Dogs Made Of? Do You Dare Find Out?

Welcome, beleaguered internet traveler, I see you’ve decided to stare terror in the face. This article is not for the faint of heart. No, the casual web user making his workmanlike way through the sunny, cheery corners of the internet would most likely tarry not on a page promising to tell you what’s in a hot dog. You, however, are clearly made of stronger stuff. You’re unafraid to learn the dark mysteries at play in the corners of our consciousness—you’re very brave, perhaps, or very foolish? In any event, join me, won’t you, as I explain, literally, how the sausage gets made. 

How are hot dogs made? 

The very question may conjure up this incredible sight gag from The Simpsons, but fortunately the truth is slightly less disgusting. According to Coleman Natural foods, it goes something like this: “Beef trimmings are ground to reduce their size.” Then, “Seasonings, salt, and water are added…The mixture is stuffed into a plant-derived casing made of cellulose. Some hot dogs are stuffed into casings made from animal intestines. Animal casings usually remain on hot dogs after they are finished cooking, and cellulose casings are removed.” After that, “The hot dog is smoked in its casing in a large oven. Hot dogs may be wood smoked or liquid smoked.” Finally, “The casing (if cellulose-based) is removed, and the fully-cooked hot dogs are packaged and sent to retailers.” 

Coleman cautions, however, that there is a wide range of quality when it comes to what hot dogs are made of: “Hot dogs may also be made with low-quality beef, chicken, and/or pork trimmings or mechanically separated meat. The USDA states that hot dogs can contain up to 20% of mechanically separated pork and any amount of mechanically separated poultry.” As with anything, and especially meat products, when you’re buying hot dogs, make sure to take a look at the label to ensure your sausage is stuffed with the good stuff. 

Are hot dogs gluten free?

The answer is typically yes, though again, reading the label is paramount since some hot dog manufacturers throw in ingredients that may use gluten.

What are uncured hot dogs?

They are basically the same as cured dogs, though they don’t use any artificial nitrates or nitrites, instead typically using naturally occurring nitrates found in celery juice.  

How long do hot dogs last in the fridge? 

You’ll be happy to know they can last around two weeks—and two months or so in the freezer. 

What’s the correct way to eat a hot dog?

Well, it’s Chicago style, with sports pepper, onion, pickle, tomato, mustard, relish, celery salt, and never, ever ketchup.

Okay, that last one isn’t actually factual, that’s just a personal opinion. However you choose to eat your sausage is perfect. (It’s just not as good as Chicago style.)

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *