Kristin Donnelly is a Brooklyn-based food writer and author of the forthcoming cookbook, The Modern Potluck. She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms.
Epicurious’ editors tasted 21 meat-based hot dogs and 10 poultry-based ones to find this year’s best. Because the fire marshal wouldn’t let us set up a Weber in our midtown NYC offices, the dogs were pan-steamed in a bit of water until the liquid evaporated, and then browned in the pan. Here, the results.
Best supermarket hot dog: Nathan’s Bigger Than The Bun Skinless Beef Franks
Editors said: "Best flavor of the bunch." "Zesty, meaty, would be good with mustard." "Lightly smoky, familiar in a good way, tastes like the ballpark." "Metropolitan Museum hot dog. A little spicy. Good firmish texture."
Best sausage-like hot dog: Brooklyn Cured’s “Uncured” New York Style Dog
Editors said: "Tastes the most like real food." "Sausagey with nice spice." "Mild flavor."
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Best specialty hot dog: The Brooklyn Hot Dog Co. Classic Beef Dog “Smoked and Uncured”
Editors said: "Lightly smoky." "Crisp. Nice snap."
Best grass-fed hot dog: Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-fed Beef Hot Dog
Editors said: ”Lightly smoky and meaty. A touch too salty.” “Nice color, nice texture. A bit too salty.”
Best poultry hot dog: Jennie-O Turkey Franks
Editors said: "Tastes like a hot dog." "This is how I expect a hot dog to taste. Could be beef." "Doesn’t have quite the snap of a meat hot dog but closest imitation."