Taste test: Hot dogs

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yep, there is one), Americans eat 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It has been five years since Taster's Choice put beef hot dogs to the test. This column launched in June 2004 with a review of seven brands of dogs. This time, we found 12 varieties of all-beef hot dogs at local grocery stores — and some of the results were the same.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)


Hebrew National

Jumbo Beef/71

Nathan's Skinless/63



Hannaford/55
How'd it look? Reddish brown. Plump and proud — like a hot dog on steroids.Short and skinny with a nice brown coat.Short and stalky.
Judges' comments "This has the 'Bob Evans,' down on the farm, smoked breakfast sausage taste," said one judge who liked the flavor and slightly greasy surface of the dog.Judges described this as the "classic ball park" hot dog. "It's like Wrigley Field in September," one said. "Bring on the poppy seed buns!" A couple of panelists detected a hint of garlic. "It's beefy and tender with a nice grilled texture."Salty, chewy and hickory-flavored, panelists said. They liked the moistness as well. "These cry for mustard and a bun," said one judge.
Would they buy? All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping informationWidely available. $3 for a 12-ounce pack at Wal-Mart. Widely available. $3.50 for a

16-ounce pack at Wal-Mart.
Exclusive to Sweetbay. $2.69 for a 16-ounce pack.
PREVIOUS RESULTS: Nathan's also scored well with judges in 2004, who noted "one dog clearly stood out" in that taste test.

Also sampled: Publix ($3.49 for a 16-ounce pack, 51 points); Oscar Mayer Premium Beef Franks ($2.50 for a 16-ounce pack at Wal-Mart, 50 points); Ballpark Angus Beef ($2.98 for a 16-ounce pack at Wal-Mart, 32 points); Gwaltney ($7.48 for a 3-pound pack from Wal-Mart, 29 points); Sabrett Skinless ($3.24 for a 16-ounce pack at Wal-Mart, 25 points); B Bar ($2.19 for a 16-ounce pack at ALDI, 24 points); GFS Marketplace ($9.79 for a 5-pound box from Gordon Food Service, 23 points); Kayem Deli ($3.99 for a 16-ounce pack at Sweetbay, 19 points); and Applegate Farms ($5.99 for a 12-ounce pack at Nature's Finest Foods in St. Petersburg, 18 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; consumer/foodie John Hehn, owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Rhonda Sanderford of Yes-Homes, Smith & Associates Real Estate. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL, 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com .

Taste test: Hot dogs 06/02/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 4:30am]

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