The Real Difference Between Ball Park And Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs

In 2008, the Seattle Times declared that the makers of Oscar Mayer and and Ball Park hot dog were engaged in a summertime "wiener war" for the largest market share. But evidently, they had not yet begun to fight because in 2011, CBS News wrote, "Let the wiener wars begin." By then they weren't just trying to outsell each other — they sought to out-sue each other, alleging that their competitor's claims of hot dog supremacy constituted false advertising.

This might be the most Freudian conflict ever fought. Consider that for years Ball Park's major selling point was that the hot dogs "plump when you cook 'em." The Chicago Tribune points out that Ball Park later adopted the motto, "Eat like a man." Ad man Scott English explained, "It's a big, satisfying hot dog. And we came up with something that reflects that big, satisfying feeling." Meanwhile, the iconic Oscar Mayer wiener jingle is about wishing you were an Oscar Mayer wiener so that people would love you. That type of envy is all sorts of Freudian.

In the "wiener war" of words, neither Ball Park nor Oscar Mayer has a clear advantage, thanks to awkward Freudian slip-ups. Since verbal hotdogging won't decide the winning wiener, it might be best to compare the actual hot dogs and see which brand comes up short. So how do the competing wieners differ?

Settling the weiner war between Ball Park and Oscar Meyer

Comparing the classic versions of the hot dogs, there's a slight size difference. A 16-ounce pack of Ball Parks contains 8 franks, according to the company website. By contrast, a one-pound pack of Oscar Mayer classic wieners has 10 franks. While that means Ball Park has bigger portions, every serving also gives you more fat and sodium. The meat content also differs slightly. Ball Park's label lists chicken, pork, and the meat-adjacent beef stock. Oscar Mayer wieners, however, contain turkey, and chicken, and pork.

Flavor is a trickier metric because it's so subjective. In a 2017 New York Times taste test of all-beef franks, neither Oscar Mayer nor Ball Park was the top dog. However, Oscar Mayer was rated as "Middle of the Pack" whereas Ball Park franks ranked as "Unpopular" and  were criticized for having an overly soft consistency. In a 2019 Washington Post comparison, Oscar Mayer's beef franks placed third out of 15 brands while Ball Park took the ninth spot. In 2018, the Takeout compared five brands of Angus beef franks and awarded the top spot to Ball Park. The following year, the Huffington Post rated Oscar Mayer classic beef franks as the best-tasting out of 10 brands. Ball Park franks showed up multiple times, but their best showing (prime beef) was 4th place. 

While your taste buds are the most important judge, based on these rankings, Oscar Mayer appears to have the edge.