At summer parties, when the grill is almost certain to be filled with hot dogs and hamburgers, we usually prepare by bringing our own meat. Not to offend our hosts but we are pretty serious about the meat we eat.
So, what's in a hot dog? Do we really want to know? Of course we do, we want to know what the heck we're eating right? Okay, here are common hot dog ingredients (from Wikipedia):
Meat by-products (or MSM) and fat
Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
Preservatives (cure) - typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite
Additional info: In the US, if variety meats, cereal or soy fillers are used, the product name must be changed to "links" or the presence must be declared as a qualifier.
Pork and beef are the traditional meats used in hot dogs. Less expensive hot dogs are often made from chicken or turkey, using low cost mechanically separated poultry. Hot dogs often have high sodium, fat and nitrite content, ingredients linked to health problems. Changes in meat technology and dietary preferences have led manufacturers to use turkey, chicken, vegetarian meat substitutes, and to lower the salt content.
If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, "wieners" tend to contain pork and are blander, while "franks" tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned.Please be sure to click on the links, and this one on Meat by-product. And if you've watched the movie Food, Inc., you'll already know a little something about meat by-product/fillers.
Yeah, so I'm pretty comfortable with our choice not to eat the everyday hot dogs at all and only eat high quality versions when the craving hits. Higher quality and organic hot dogs have been available for a long time and have improved over the years. In 2006, organic hot dog sales increased 21%. The demand for real meat hot dogs continue to rise and companies like Let's Be Frank have answered our good dog prayers.
Offering 100% grass-fed beef franks made with beef from local farms and turkey dogs made with turkey from Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, Let's Be Frank is doing it right. They also make a pork bratwurst and Italian sausage. At $7.50 a package (12 oz.), it's a splurge but if you're like us and only buy hot dogs every once in a while, the cost isn't an issue. Let's Be Frank is local to me but if they're not to you, I'm confident there are similar options in your area.
Throw one of these on a whole grain bun with whatever toppings you like and enjoy. It's a dog you can feel good about eating and giving to your little ones. Have a great weekend!