Some hot dogs are made of only three ingredients: beef trimmings, salt, and seasonings. However, many hot dogs can also contain fillers, preservatives, and other artificial additives.
Along with considering what hot dogs are made of, you should also consider the quality of the ingredients.
BEEF TRIMMINGS AND OTHER MEAT
Beef trimmings are excess pieces of beef made when meat producers create cuts of beef such as steak, ribs, or brisket. These trimmings are the same quality as the rest of the meat, but they are not sold in this form due to their non-uniform size. However, these pieces work great as ingredients in hot dogs.
Using beef trimmings reduces food waste because it finds a purpose for all the meat used from an animal. This puts less stress on the environment, as meat producers can create more products using fewer animals.
It’s important to know that while other commercial brands use low-quality ingredients, Coleman Natural gets its beef trimmings from the highest quality cuts of meat possible. All trimmings are purchased from small American family farmers who raise their livestock humanely and without the use of antibiotics or added hormones.
SALT AND SEASONINGS
Hot dogs are flavored using salt and seasonings, such as paprika, garlic, onion, mustard, coriander, and mace spices. In addition to these seasonings, hot dogs can contain sweeteners. At Coleman Natural, we only use natural sweeteners like cane sugar and honey instead of artificial sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup.
Our hot dogs are also uncured, which means we don’t add nitrates or nitrites to preserve them. Instead, we use all-natural cultured celery powder and sea salt to cure our hot dogs. Curing draws moisture from meat to extend its life and ward off bacteria.
FILLERS, BINDERS, AND PRESERVATIVES
As mentioned above, the quality of ingredients in hot dogs can vary drastically. Therefore, you should read ingredient lists carefully, noting any alternate proteins, fillers, or artificial ingredients. You can find information about the quality of the product on the packaging label or through a brand’s website.
Two things to watch out for when reading ingredients are fillers and binders. While the USDA prohibits hot dogs from containing more than 3.5% non-meat binders, companies can still use ingredients such as cornstarch, or even dry milk powder, which can be more susceptible to contamination. They may also use artificial preservatives and colorants including sodium erythorbate, sodium propionate, and sodium phosphate.
Coleman Natural doesn’t use fillers to stretch our beef hot dogs, and we never use artificial preservatives. Instead, we only use all-natural meat and always remain transparent about any other added ingredients, like sea salt and honey.