Best Hot Dog: Hebrew National
Good color, right girth, salty, meaty, and perfect. They have the right spice balance and the best damn fatty flavor of all the hot dog flavors we tried. Need we say more?Read more here >>
They're all attached in a rope-like strand, like the Dietz & Watson brand (more on that soon). Some tasters had issues with the whole hanging off the bun experience—they're long and thin—but when it comes to taste, they win big smiles. "Snappy, salty, just real nice."
Dietz & Watson
"Flaccid and tasty," said one taster. (Hmm, you don't see those words paired up everyday.) A little smokey, a little sweet. "Classic look." "Nice size and shape." "Thin and understated." If there was a beauty queen award, this one would dominate. But, as soon as you bite into it, the skin slips off, which isn't such a pleasant sight.
As for the way-more-available skinless alternative, they're not all that bad. Juicy with a nice sweet-salty balance. "Robust!" said one taster. They're tender, though a little mushy, and bursting with fatty juice pockets. They have a deep, brownish-pinkish hot dog shade, which earned them aesthetic points, but one taster didn't appreciate the "short, too stumpy" size.
Why? The lack of nitrates, which are used for preservation and give it that reddish hue. If you start reading the label closely ("no antibiotics—ever, no added horomones—ever, all vegetarians feeds"), you're pretty relieved about this fact, and forget about the off-putting brown.
Taste-wise, it reminded us "of kosher salami, but with less salt." It's mild, bordering on bland, but "natural-tasting" and not artificial (which isn't always a compliment in hot dog land). Much better with garnishes. Pretty squirty too. "Like a wet sponge."
"Oddly smooth-looking," noted one taster. "Pink and gritty," said another. Not our favorite, but if you're looking to expand your bologna cuisine horizons, here it is in tube form.
Whole Foods 365
Most notable though, and this isn't flavor-related: the color. "Deep red, WTF?" .. "TOO RED." .. "Oddly red." Maybe it wouldn't have been an issue if we didn't have eight other hot dog shades to compare it to, but it was just odd. Aren't the nitrates supposed to give it that redness? In this case, according to the ingredients, it's cherry powder doing the job.