Why You Should Check The Fat Content Of Hot Dogs Before Cooking

Hot dogs are surprisingly versatile for a food product that more or less has a uniform shape, which is long and cylindrical, as well as color, a distinctive pink hue. Dogs can be cooked up and served in many different ways and all over the country are dressed differently with a multitude of toppings, sauces, and buns. New York hot dogs, with their no-frills simplicity of mustard, sauerkraut, and relish, for example, vary vastly from a Chicago-style hot dog, which is a maximalist delight and object lesson of the more toppings, the better.

But the diversity of hot dogs isn't just skin-deep: What actually goes inside a hot dog can vary from link to link, from the type of meat to preservatives and any other food additives. As a result, the fat content is variable as well — depending on the brand of hot dog you buy — and you may want to verify the amount of fat in your cured meat before you fire up the grill for your next barbecue.

The fat content of your hot dog impacts cooking

A typical beef hot dog contains around 17 grams of fat, while some lower-fat hot dogs made out of turkey or those of a plant-based nature can contain far less, with some brands containing just 1 gram of fat per hot dog.

If you're cooking up hot dogs for vegetarians and meat-based hot dog eaters at the same time, don't throw the different types of hot dogs onto the same flames. Hot dogs with lower fat content should be cooked over lower temperatures, like medium-low settings, whereas greasier dogs will do better with hotter flames at medium heat. Lower fat hot dogs also take less time to grill, and generally, no hot dog should take longer than 10 minutes to grill to completion. 

The best way to check if your hot dog is done is by using an internal thermometer to verify that the innards have reached 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Once that mark is hit, get out your favorite buns, toppings, and get ready to enjoy.