The editorial staff at Food and Wine Magazine tested 15 brands of hot dogs to find the leader of the pack. Some were traditional, and others were non-traditional, like the soy hot dog. Food and Wine's Kevin Patricio visits The Early Show Monday with a list of the top five winners.
The folks at Food and Wine judged the hot dogs by taste, texture and appearance. They looked for a good balance of smoke, spice and seasoning. To measure the texture of the dog, the team considered the hot dog's firmness on the inside with a casing that provided a good counterpoint to the meatiness. It essentially had a "snap," according to Patricio.
The appearance of the dog can range from bright red to off-white. Patricio says the color depends on the meat filling.
The top five were:
Yup, the old-school hot dog came out on top. It had a "good, sweet-tasting, salty, smoky, juicy flavor," said Patricio. One staff member at Food and Wine described the Oscar Meyer as what hot dogs should be.
Oscar Meyer Hot and Spicy
This actually was Patricio's personal favorite. It evoked tastes of Italian hot sausages. Staffers thought it was good for the most part. A small minority found it a little too spicy.
Nathan's Hot Dog
The Coney Island treat had a good reaction from staffers. Some described it as juicy and pleasant. Some, however, thought it was a little bland.
One staff member described the National as good and tasted like what his mom used to serve. But another thought it was a little too greasy.
The test kitchen staff thought it was the best. Patricio had it listed as number 2 on his list.
The trend from the mid-'90s of low-fat dogs has disappeared. Patricio was happy about that piece of news. He felt those hot dogs were bland and boring.
Soy Dogs and Chicken Dogs
These hot dogs did not fare well. In fact, Patricio refused to even call them hot dogs. To him, they just don't even come close to tasting like the real thing.
During the taste test, there was also a vote for best condiment. Mustard won, followed by ketchup, relish, chili, onions and sauerkraut. Patricio prefers one that is grilled, on a slightly toasted bun with sauerkraut and spicy mustard.
Condiments are something true hot dog fans take very seriously. Chicago dogs, also know as "The Red Hot," is served on a poppy seed roll, dragged through yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, chopped onion, tomato, pickel spear, sport pepper, and a dash of celery salt.