Frankfurters, franks, bangers, weenies, wieners, tube steaks, coneys, and sausages.
All these names refer to the delicious steamed, deep-fried, or grilled sausages, served in partially sliced buns, known as hot dogs. The term “hot dog” also refers to the sausage itself.
There are so many different types of hot dogs, it’s easy to conclude that there is one for everyone. In fact, stats from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council for 2020 indicated that Americans spent over $7.68 billion on hot dogs and sausages.
For a sausage that was imported from Germany, the hot dog has become so popular in the United States that it’s now part of American culture.
Without hot dogs, you’ll hardly enjoy watching your favorite baseball team or host a successful backyard barbecue. Indeed, you’ll not find a corner of the United States that doesn’t pride itself on having some of the best hot dogs around.
When ordering a sumptuous wiener at the local ballpark, however, you don’t really have control over the type of hot dog you get to enjoy.
You might not even care whether you’re served a cured or an uncured hot dog at the time, too.
But what is the difference between these two types of hot dogs?
A cured hot dog is preserved using artificial nitrates and nitrites. An uncured hot dog doesn’t contain artificial nitrates or nitrites.
Rather, they are preserved using naturally occurring nitrates. These include celery juice or celery powder and natural salt products.
Uncured hot dogs are usually labeled “uncured” or “no nitrates or nitrites added” as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) labeling laws.
Nitrates and nitrites, whether artificial or naturally occurring, prevent the meat from spoiling. They also enhance its flavor, color, and smell. They are also approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA.
Table of Contents
- Uncured Hot Dog Nutrition Facts
- Are Uncured Hot Dogs Safe to Eat?
- Are Uncured Hot Dogs Keto?
- Can You Eat Uncured Hot Dogs When Pregnant?
- Can You Eat a Raw Uncured Hot Dog?
- Cured vs Uncured Hot Dogs
Uncured Hot Dog Nutrition Facts
Both cured and uncured hot dogs offer almost similar nutrition facts in terms of carbohydrates, calories, fat, protein, and sodium.
The USDA estimates that a single uncured hot dog has approximately:
- 130 calories
- 11 grams of fat
- 5 grams of protein
- 1 gram of carbohydrates
- 330 mg of sodium
The number of calories on a typical uncured hot dog can range from 70 to 150 calories, however, depending on its size.
Some of the spices and natural flavorings used in uncured hot dogs include, but are not limited to:
- Garlic powder
- Celery powder
- Ground mustard
- Ground coriander
- Red, white, and black pepper
- Yeast extract
Different brands use different formulations of the spices they use to make their hot dogs.
Are Uncured Hot Dogs Safe to Eat?
Uncured hot dogs are absolutely safe to eat. Like cured hot dogs, uncured hot dogs come fully cooked and can be prepared the same way.
We’re all familiar with the general guideline that advises to “keep hot food hot and cold food cold.” The USDA also outlines various food safety guidelines to help ensure your hot dogs are safe to eat:
- Refrigerate or freeze your hot dogs immediately you get them from the grocery store.
- Store unopened hot dog packages for 2 weeks if they don’t have a product date.
- For best quality, don’t freeze your hot dogs for more than 1 or 2 months.
- Once you open your hot dog package, store it for only 1 week.
- Don’t leave your hot dogs at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Don’t leave your hot dogs out for more than 1 hour if the temperature is over 90oF.
Expert Tip: Best practice is to keep uncured hot dogs refrigerated until you’re ready to use them.
Children under 4 can also enjoy uncured hot dogs. Parents should remove the casings if their hot dogs of choice have them, then cut the frankfurters lengthwise or into tiny pieces before giving them to children. This avoids a choking hazard.
Are Uncured Hot Dogs Keto?
Yes, uncured hot dogs can make up part of a ketogenic diet. They are low in carbs and high in fat, making them the ultimate keto-friendly delicacy!
You can grill or boil your hot dogs, pile on some mustard, and have yourself a fantastic and delicious keto meal without feeling guilty at all.
Keto is a high fat, low carb diet that can help you lose weight and improve your health. You reduce your carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat, which puts your body in ketosis.
When your body is in the metabolic state known as ketosis, it breaks down fats and ketones in the liver for energy, instead of relying on carbohydrates and glucose.
But while you might be able to enjoy your uncured hot dogs as part of a keto diet (check to ensure your favorite dogs have no starchy fillers added in), you definitely cannot have them served on your usual hot dog buns. That’d defeat the entire purpose of a keto diet.
Instead, you can wrap your wiener in lettuce or hunt around for some keto-friendly buns. For toppings, stick to mayo, yellow mustard, or sauerkraut.
Here’s what to avoid when wolfing down hot dogs as part of a keto diet:
- Unnecessary preservatives or additives such as MSG
- Extra fillers like extra gluten (which is usually used as a binder)
- Sugars and other hidden carbs
- Store-bought hot dog toppings such as ketchup and relish
If you’re interested, we have some more keto hot dog recipes and facts you’ll be thrilled to read about.
Can You Eat Uncured Hot Dogs When Pregnant?
Yes, you can still bite into your favorite uncured hot dog without stressing too much when pregnant.
As long as you ensure that you cook your wieners to a temperature of at least 160oF before you gulp them down, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of illness or food poisoning during pregnancy.
Don’t underestimate the importance of cooking your hot dogs well lest you end up eating a frankfurter that’s contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This bacteria, when ingested by pregnant women, can cause miscarriages, stillborn births, and birth defects.
When it comes to eating dogs when pregnant, the best rule of thumb is to cook them for yourself and eat them while hot and fresh off the grill.
Can You Eat a Raw Uncured Hot Dog?
No, you shouldn’t eat “raw” uncured hot dogs even though they come pre-cooked.
It’s always a great idea to check whether your hot dogs’ packaging says they’ve been cooked before being packed.
It’s still important to reheat your franks before you dive in. Even when hot dogs have been factory-cooked to a safe temperature for human consumption.
Doing so is especially important if you have an increased risk of contracting foodborne illnesses. At-risk persons include:
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- People with weakened immune systems
Uncured hot dogs, like the cured ones, are ready-to-eat foods that are processed and packaged at a plant. As such, there’s always a risk of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, which is the bacteria that causes listeriosis.
|Listeria monocytogenes can be found in:||Symptoms of listeriosis|
|Deli-style meat and poultry||Chills|
|Soft cheeses||Headache and backache|
|Unpasteurized milk||Abdominal pain|
|Upset stomach and diarrhea|
Reheating hot dogs until they’re steaming hot before eating them helps take care of the threat of listeriosis.
Then again, why would you want to eat an uncooked hot dog when you can slowly grill your hot dogs to perfection, microwave a few franks when you’re in a rush, boil them if you wish, or deep fry a few for that crispy texture and juicy flavor?
Get your creative juices flowing by trying out some of our “satisfaction guaranteed” hot dog recipes when you dare to excite your palate.
Cured vs Uncured Hot Dogs
When choosing to go with either cured or uncured hot dogs, it all comes down to whether you’d like to use chemicals or a natural food source for your preservative.
That’s because both cured and uncured wieners taste similar to each other, even though they use different preservation processes. The table below outlines certain differences worth pointing out between cured and uncured hot dogs:
|Cured hot dogs||Uncured hot dogs|
|Preservative||Synthetic or chemical nitrates and nitrites e.g., sodium nitrite||Natural nitrates and nitrites e.g., celery powder|
|Color||Are pinker due to the preservatives|
|Sodium content||May be slightly higher to prevent spoilage|
Making a simple swap such as buying uncured hot dogs as opposed to cured hot dogs can help you cut down on the synthetic preservatives you put into your body. This can be a great step towards making healthier food choices.
Remember to thoroughly cook your cured or uncured hot dogs before you consume them (in moderation, of course) as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Lastly, it’s always good to be in the know about what’s what when you’re living in a world where fake news and tall tales are the order of the day. Here are five hot dog facts that could come in handy the next time you hear someone claim hot dogs are made of dogs.