Closeup of Hot Dog in Bun on a Plate with Potato Chips
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We Tried 10 Hot Dogs and You Won't Believe Which One Was Best

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Closeup of Hot Dog in Bun on a Plate with Potato Chips
pjohnson1/istockphoto

Doggone Delicious

A lot of my personal and professional life centers around specialty food. But can I tell you a secret? Hot dogs have always been one of my favorite things to eat. Even the cheapest hot dog at the store, when thrown on the grill and served with a bit of ketchup and mustard, is sublime and satisfying, especially during the summer. Gimme a bun or don't, it doesn't matter. After stocking up for a taste test, sticking mostly with beef hot dogs but including a few pork options and one turkey, I tried a bite of each plain from a grill pan on my stove, then added my usual ketchup-mustard combo to see how flavors and textures held up. Here's how they shook out, ranked from worst to best — with most seeing a significant jump in price from May 2021, like lots of other grocery store purchases.


Prices and availability are subject to change.


Related: We Tried Popular Hot Sauces and Declare These the Best


Old Neighborhood Foods Frankfurters
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11. Old Neighborhood Foods Frankfurters

Price: $4.39 from Market Basket
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These were … sweet? Not what I expect or want from a hot dog, especially if I'm adding ketchup (which I always do). But one of the ingredients is corn syrup, so I guess that solves that mystery. I couldn't find these online, which I think is fine. Don't bother.


Related: We Tasted Frozen Pizzas and This Is the Best

McKenzie Deli-Style Beef Franks
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10. McKenzie Deli-Style Beef Franks

Price: $7.24 from Walmart

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The McKenzie beef franks weren't actively offensive, but I also wouldn't call them good. A bit softer (the word "flaccid" came to mind) than I would hope, with a pretty generic, almost artificial taste.

Kayem Beef Hot Dogs
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Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners
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8. Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners

Price: $3.29 from Target

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These feel nostalgic to me, but I think they'd be lower on the list had that nostalgia not played a factor. Salty, without much other flavor, and a more rubbery texture than I'd like. My inner child loves these; my grownup palate does not.


Related: Foods We Miss From the '70s and '80s

Ball Park Bun Size Beef Franks
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Bar S Classic Bun-Length Franks
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Nathan's Skinless Beef Hot Dogs
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4. Nathan's Skinless Beef Hot Dogs

Price: $4.62 from Walmart
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As a former New Yorker, I have quite a bit of Nathan's loyalty from summer days roaming Coney Island. But, all that aside, these still rule. They're beefy, juicy, and quintessentially hot dog-y. These are the ones I will be bringing to backyard summer grill-outs once it's safe to gather again.

Oscar Mayer Uncured Turkey Franks
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3. Oscar Mayer Uncured Turkey Franks

Price: $4.99 from Target

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I think these ranked so highly because I was shocked (in a good way) by them. They're great! Lightly smoky, meaty, and juicy. The texture is a bit more delicate than the others, which I actually liked. That nagging voice that is normally saying "You've just consumed heart-attack-levels of processed meat" was quieter when I ate them. So I ate two.


Hebrew National Jumbo Beef Franks
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2. Hebrew National Jumbo Beef Franks

Price: $4.99 from Target

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Many of my friends swear by Hebrew National, and they're one of the few Kosher options you can find, if that's important to you (or to one of your guests). I am not nearly as obsessed as some of my friends, but I have to say that these were very good — juicy, meaty, and flavorful. They almost had a baking spice flavor to them, which I really enjoyed.


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Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs
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