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We Tried 11 Hot Dogs and These Are the Tastiest

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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 always sublime. Gimme a bun or don't, it doesn't matter. It's always satisfying, but especially during the summer. So I trekked over to my local Hannaford's supermarket to stock up for a taste test. I mostly stuck with beef hot dogs, but included a few pork options and one turkey.  I grilled one of each using a grill pan on my stove. I tried a bite of each plain, then added my usual ketchup-mustard combo to see how the flavor and texture held up. Here's how they shook out, ranked from worst to best.

Prices and availability are subject to change

Related: We Tasted 13 Frozen Pizzas and This Is the Best

Old Neighborhood Foods Frankfurters
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Old Neighborhood Foods Frankfurters

Price: $4 from Hannaford's
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.

McKenzie Deli-Style Beef Franks
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McKenzie Deli-Style Beef Franks

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Price: $6.28 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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Kayem Beef Hot Dogs

Price: $8 from InstaCart
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These were all right, with a natural casing snap but otherwise unremarkable.

Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners
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Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners

Price: $3 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: 23 Foods We Miss From the '70s and '80s

Ball Park Bun Size Beef Franks
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Ball Park Bun Size Beef Franks

Price: $4 from Target
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The Ball Park beef franks were a bit mushy and artificial tasting. If I'd used relish for the taste test, I maybe would have liked them better. Good salt balance, though. 

Bar S Classic Bun-Length Franks
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Sabrett Bun-Size Skinless Beef Frankfurters
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Sabrett Bun-Size Skinless Beef Frankfurters

Buy on Walmart  $26.84

Price: $4 from Target
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I am not someone who lives and dies by the "snap" from natural casing, so the skinless options tended to rank higher for me. This was perfectly pleasant — beefy and meaty. Reminds me of the street dogs I used to eat when I lived in New York.

Nathan's Skinless Beef Hot Dogs
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Oscar Mayer Uncured Turkey Franks
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Oscar Mayer Uncured Turkey Franks

Buy on Walmart  $28.42

Price: $5 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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Hebrew National Jumbo Beef Franks

Price: $4 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.

Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs
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Winner: Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs

Price: $6
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These were wonderful and easily my top pick. Quintessentially hot dog-y, but also with the most complex beefy flavor and a bit of grassiness to them. I also like that they were a bit smaller than the others.

Looking for something to go with those dogs? Be sure to check out Every Doritos Flavor We Could Get Our Hands On, Ranked.