Grocery store hot dog brands, ranked

Each year, Americans buy 9 billion hot dogs at retail stores. That's 30 hot dogs for every man, woman, and child in the country. To say that people in the United States have a love affair with wieners would be an understatement. And that 9 billion number isn't even factoring in all the hot dogs purchased at carnivals, restaurants, baseball games, food carts, and everywhere else where frankfurters are sold.

It's not exactly clear where the first hot dogs in the United States were sold, however Coney Island is the most widely-regarded birthplace of the modern day wiener. In 1869, that's where Charles Feltman thought it was a good idea to slip a frankfurter inside of an elongated roll so people at the beach could eat while strolling along the shore.

Depending on where you are in the nation, you may hear hot dogs called everything from wieners and frankfurters to coneys and weenies. But no matter what you call it, you will know a great hot dog when you taste one. With that in mind, here is our rank of hot dogs that can be bought in a grocery store, ordered from worst to best.

Bar-S Classic Franks

While Bar-S has sold the most hot dogs in America every single year since 2006, it's not because everyone loves these hot dogs. Rather, people buy Bar-S brand because they are almost always the cheapest hot dogs available. If you're feeding a bunch of hungry kids who would rather eat a Happy Meal than a dinner at a Michelin 3-star restaurant, you might as well go with the cheapest hot dogs available, right?

If you actually tasted Bar-S Classic Franks without any condiments drenched on top, you'd find that they are legitimately terrible. From the wretched smell they make when they're being cooked in the microwave, to their filmy texture once they enter your mouth, you will regret going the cheap route when you attempt to eat these hot dogs.

The packaging for the Bar-S Classic Franks says beef, chicken, and pork are all used when creating these things. That's not surprising, as it tastes just like congealed scrap meat that is sold at bottom dollar prices.

Jennie-O Turkey Franks

You probably bought these hot dogs because you thought you were going the healthier route by eating turkey. While it can be argued whether these hot dogs are actually healthier than the ones made out of beef or pork, what can't be argued is how absolutely bland Jennie-O Turkey Franks taste. After you take a bite, you are greeted by virtually no describable flavors... and then the meat just starts disintegrating in your mouth.

Jennie-O claims that their turkey franks have 40 percent less fat than comparable beef franks. While that may be statistically true, they also have about 99 percent less flavor. You'll have to ask yourself if that is a trade-off you're willing to make.

For a history that dates back more than 75 years, Jennie-O has become one of the most well-known names when it comes to quality turkey products. But that quality does not extend to their hot dogs, unless you enjoy eating tasteless wieners.

Eckrich Cheese Franks

It's possible to find decent cheese-infused hot dogs, however Eckrich Cheese Franks wholeheartedly miss the mark. Once you heat these up, you are first faced with a gross puddle of cheese water beneath your franks that you will pour down your kitchen sink. Then when you taste it, you will find the cheese water that managed to stay within the hot dog is as unpleasant as you imagined. Eckrich says that American cheese is an ingredient but you don't get any notably sized chunks so it's impossible to judge the quality of the cheese. Instead, it's just a liquified cheese-like substance by the time it gets to your dinner.

If you like the taste of the hot dogs Eckrich makes but you want the added goodness of cheese, you should just buy their Beef Franks and then melt the American cheese on top yourself. Or, you can kick it up a notch by springing for cheddar, Swiss, or another delicious cheese.

Oscar Mayer Classic Beef Uncured Franks

These hot dogs made by Oscar Mayer are some of the most recognizable in the country, although that may be because the Wienermobile has been turning heads on roadways across the nation since 1936. Once you get beyond the iconic brand, the actual taste of these hot dogs is nothing to write home about. They're really salty and greasy. In fact, after a taste, you won't be surprised to learn that one link has 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of sodium and 25 percent of the saturated fat.

With a history that dates back to 1883, it's quite possible that generations of your family have eaten Oscar Mayer wieners. However, it seems like the quality has slipped as the years have gone by, so don't blindly trust your grandmother's recipe book. Oscar Mayer Classic Beef Uncured Franks have gone from being the standard hot dog in the United States, to being long passed by the competition.

Ball Park Original Beef Franks

While they might remind you of the hot dogs you can get at a baseball game, Ball Park Original Beef Franks just aren't that tasty compared to some other hot dogs on the market. While these hot dogs are 100 percent beef and don't have any artificial flavors, added nitrates, fillers, or artificial colors, they simply don't taste that great. It's like biting into a soft piece of rubber that was sprinkled with a light coating of beef flavoring. While some people enjoy the plumpness, these hot dogs are oddly pliable and are missing any sort of snap.

Though their hot dogs are mediocre, it's interesting to note that the Ball Park brand actually does have baseball roots. After being sold at Detroit's Tiger Stadium back in the 1950s, these franks saw their popularity explode. By the 1960s, Ball Park Original Beef Franks were available across the nation. If you feel nostalgic after biting into one of these hot dogs and have a yearning to visit your childhood baseball field, that's probably no accident.

Wellshire Sugar-Free All-Natural Beef Franks

If you rigorously follow a keto diet or even a no-carb diet, you will be happy to learn a decent hot dog exists on the market that has zero carbohydrates. The Wellshire Sugar-Free All-Natural Beef Franks won't win you any cookout contests or culinary awards, but considering they have no sugar, no carbs, no preservatives, no gluten and are minimally processed, they're surprisingly good. They're flavored with garlic, celery powder, onion, and sea salt, and you can taste all of it when you take a bite.

If you've never heard of the Wellshire brand, it was started in 1996 by a dad who was concerned his kids were eating unhealthy processed meats that didn't provide any nutritional value and contained an unhealthy amount of chemicals. As a result, all of Wellshire's products are free of growth hormones and antibiotics. In addition to their beef hot dogs, they also sell hot dogs made out of chicken and turkey.

Sugardale Hot Dogs

Sugardale Hot Dogs have been around for nearly 100 years but have somehow managed to fly under the radar despite being decidedly above average. While they're not the best hot dogs you can buy, they are priced very competitively and provide good bang for your buck. If you are going with an inexpensive option, reach for the Sugardale Hot Dogs. They claim to still use their original recipe, and it tastes like they're telling the truth. If you ate these as a child, you can go to a grocery store, buy a pack, and be pleasantly surprised that they still taste the same.

Their original hot dogs, the ones that date back to 1920, are made with a delicious combination of chicken and pork. Sugardale also now has a new lineup of uncured hot dogs that are quite tasty as well. The new varieties include 100 percent beef, turkey, pork and beef, and pork and chicken.

Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dogs

If you only eat grass-fed beef, you don't have to forgo hot dogs. An Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dog is the answer to your wiener prayers, as this company only uses beef that was humanely raised on a pasture, only grass fed, and never given antibiotics. The hot dogs are also gluten-free, casein-free, and dairy-free. In fact, these uncured hot dogs are so fresh and free of preservatives that the label warns you that you should keep them refrigerated below 40 degrees at all times.

As far as the taste is concerned, you won't be disappointed. An Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dog has a genuinely meaty taste. In fact, that's the one issue with these hot dogs: they don't really taste like hot dogs, as the seasoning is lacking. You will likely be tempted to add sea salt or even garlic powder, or perhaps smother them in an ocean of ketchup and mustard.

Boar's Head Uncured Beef Frankfurters

Boar's Head Uncured Beef Frankfurters have been blessing kitchens around the country since 1905. Their one-of-a-kind recipe mixes USDA Choice Beef with a blend of spices and puts it all inside of a natural casing. If you had rubbery hot dogs that seem to bend forever, you should buy Boar's Head Uncured Beef Frankfurters. These things are sturdy and deliver a satisfying bite. Taste-wise, the spices are quite noticeable but not entirely overwhelming. You got high-quality flavor in something that still qualifies as a hot dog.

Don't be scared off by thinking these hot dogs are made of wild boar — it's all beef. Boar's Head is the company name, and they're known for their cheeses, salami, and black forest ham, in addition to these tasty wieners. Along with their uncured beef frankfurters with the natural casing, they also make the same hot dogs without the casing. Plus, Boar's Head offers a frankfurter with a lighter taste that is made with a mix of pork and beef.

Dietz & Watson Deli Beef Franks

If you are looking for hot dogs for your barbecue, go with Dietz & Watson Deli Beef Franks. These big, hefty wieners grill perfectly and, unlike many other types of hot dogs, they won't experience shrinkage while on your barbecue grill. As a result, you won't have to worry about your frank falling through the grate when you turn your head.

Dietz & Watson was founded in 1939 by Gottlieb Dietz, a sausage maker from Germany. You can taste the German influence in these hot dogs, as they are slow cooked and seasoned with a liberal amount of paprika, mustard powder, and garlic. The fact that they are skinless allows you to taste all the flavors.

If you want a healthier version of these hot dogs, consider the Uncured Beef Franks from Dietz & Watson that are certified organic. Despite being more health-conscious, they manage to maintain most of the great taste of the original.

Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters

Do you love hot dogs you can buy from street vendors in New York City? If so, you'll love Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters. These hot dogs are the real deal. Even if you're not from NYC, you should find out first-hand why the Big Apple can't get enough of their street hot dogs.

The secret to Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters is the perfectly executed hickory smoke flavoring that is added to each wiener. These hot dogs taste great no matter if you eat them plain, or fully dressed inside of a hot dog bun. If you are a firm believer that size matters, you'll be glad to learn that you can get these hot dogs in various sizes from cocktail to 12-inchers.

While the skinless beef version is the most beloved, Sabrett has a lot of other hot dog choices that are well worth your money. Their natural casing franks are glorious, as are their hot and spicy hot dogs that are made with jalapenos.

Hebrew National All Natural Uncured Beef Franks

Who doesn't enjoy Hebrew National franks? After all, they "answer to a higher authority." These hot dogs are known around the nation for being a go-to when you really need a tasty hot dog in your life. They're just as good out of the microwave as they are hot off the grill. You really can't make any mistakes with Hebrew National.

Not only do these beef franks have flavor that will have you craving just one more hot dog for days after your meal, they're made with high-quality ingredients. Starting with the 100 percent kosher beef, to the fact that there are no nitrates (other than what is found naturally in the celery powder and sea salt), you can literally taste the quality.

If you're in the market for a jumbo dog, the Hebrew National Jumbo Beef Franks are the best you can find anywhere. Most jumbo dogs sacrifice taste but these are just as scrumptious as the originals.

Nathan's Famous Angus Beef Franks

If you want to be impressed by a hot dog, you deserve to give Nathan's Famous Angus Beef Franks a go. These things are the pinnacle of the wiener world. Take a bite and taste the authentic beef flavor that encompasses every ounce of this frank. While you usually wash your hands if you get hot dog juice on your fingers, you'll be convinced that the juice from these bad boys is good enough to drink straight. Even the Nathan's Famous Angus Beef Franks texture is perfect — not too mushy, not too tough.

Not only does Nathan's Famous boast the top overall hot dog, their Cheddar Cheese Beef Franks are the best cheese hot dogs and their Jalapeno and Cheddar Beef Franks are the best spicy wieners.

Sure, you'll have to pay a premium price to get your hands on these franks. But once you taste the difference, you'll never willingly go back to those cheap, bland hot dogs again.