The Real Reason You Should Avoid These $1 Hot Dogs

Nobody's going to confuse hot dog shopping for selecting the proper wine. But if you're going to go cheap in either case, the same rule applies: You get what you pay for. You can feed a family of eight on hot dogs sold under the Bar-S brand for less than a dollar. That sounds great, except that discerning food critics in your clan will probably taste notes of gelatin and gristle.

When rifling through the bargain bin in your grocer's meat section, you're bound to come across Bar-S Classic Franks, which are easily available for under a dollar for an eight-pack. If you take your hot dogs as seriously as some take their wine, then maybe you've done your homework, and searched product reviews online. In that case, you might decide to go ahead and grab that Bar-S eight-pack. 

Reviewers gave the Classic Frank a four-plus out of five stars on Influenster, with many reviewers raving about the price, as much as the flavor. "These are the only hot-dog wieners that I will eat," Taylor G. wrote in her five-star review. "They are so yummy and a great texture. They're so affordable and everyone in the family loves them!" At the other end of the scale, an anonymous member gave Bar-S one star: "The baby food of hot dogs ... zero texture, zero flavor. Was not expecting much at the low price, but got even less than my low expectation. Terrible."

Bar-S Franks rank at the bottom of hot dog taste tests

Despite their unbeatable price and somewhat positive reviews, Bar-S Classic Franks should be avoided. They often wind up at the bottom of hot dog taste-tests. The wiener scored an unlucky last out of 13 among dogs tested by PureWow, which gave the Bar-S Classic Frank 40 out of 100 points. To give an idea how bad the Bar-S must have been, the number 12 pick got 30 more points, and was made out of pea and soy protein. When Thrillist conducted its taste test, Bar-S Classic ranked 20th out of 22 dogs. The Bar-S weiner's texture evoked "hot dog-flavored mousse," Thrillist said.

Bar-S deserves some credit. The tasters at Rachael Ray magazine fawned over the brand's all-beef option. This dog won "best overall" among the dozens of store-bought varieties Rachael Ray tested. The magazine loved Bar-S beef's "perfect smoky-and-sweet combination."

Bottom line: If you're shopping for Bar-S franks, read the label carefully. According to critics, their Premium Beef dog is among the best — the Classic, not so much. Notice that the Premium Beef franks cost $3.28 for an eight-pack at Walmart, not the incredibly thrifty $1 for the Bar-S Classic. Depending on your food budget, it might be worth shelling out a few extra bucks for beef instead of the classic chicken and pork. If Rachael Ray has crowned the Bar-S Premium Beef "everything a hot dog should be," then the Classic is everything it shouldn't be.