What Are Beef Hot Dogs Made Of?

Most of us probably remember eating a hot dog at a fair, carnival, or sporting event. Hot dogs have likely always been a tasty and enjoyable treat in our eyes. But what exactly are hot dogs made of, and would we still feel the same way if we knew all of the ingredients and procedures used in their production? Also, what would we think if we could still enjoy hot dogs while avoiding all of the grossness by choosing a vegan hot dog as opposed to a meat-based one? We think it’s a no-brainer.

Hot dogs are made from the emulsified meat trimmings of chicken, beef, or pork. This meat mixture is blended with other ingredients (like preservatives, spices, and coloring) into a batter-like substance.

What Are Hot Dogs Made Of?

Some hot dogs only contain three ingredients: salt, seasonings, and beef trimmings. However, many hot dogs may also include artificial preservatives, fillers, and other additives.

Consider the quality of the ingredients as well as the materials used to make the hot dogs.


When meat producers make cuts of beef like steak, ribs, or brisket, they also make extra pieces of beef. Due to their uneven size, even though these trimmings are of the same quality as the rest of the meat, they are not sold in this form. However, these pieces work great as ingredients in hot dogs. By using all of the meat from an animal, using beef trimmings helps to reduce food waste. As a result, the environment is less stressed because meat producers can produce more goods with fewer animals.

It’s crucial to understand that Coleman Natural only uses the best possible beef trimmings, as opposed to other commercial brands who use low-quality ingredients. All trimmings are bought from small family farmers in the United States who raise their livestock without the use of antibiotics or additional hormones and in a humane manner.

Salt and seasonings like paprika, garlic, onion, mustard, coriander, and mace are used to flavor hot dogs. In addition to these seasonings, hot dogs can contain sweeteners. Instead of artificial sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, Coleman Natural only uses natural sweeteners like cane sugar and honey.

Additionally, because our hot dogs are uncured, we don’t preserve them with nitrates or nitrites. Instead, we cure our hot dogs with natural cultured celery powder and sea salt. In order to extend the life of meat and prevent bacteria, curing draws moisture from it.


As previously mentioned, the quality of the ingredients used to make hot dogs can vary greatly. Consequently, it is important to carefully read ingredient lists and take note of any substitute proteins, fillers, or artificial ingredients. On the packaging label or on the website of a brand, you can find details about the product’s quality.

Two things to watch out for when reading ingredients are fillers and binders. While the USDA prohibits hot dogs from containing more than 3.5% non-meat binders, companies can still use ingredients such as cornstarch, or even dry milk powder, which can be more susceptible to contamination. They may also use artificial preservatives and colorants including sodium erythorbate, sodium propionate, and sodium phosphate.

Our beef hot dogs at Coleman Natural are never stretched with fillers, and we never use artificial preservatives. Instead, we only use natural meat, and we always disclose any additional ingredients, such as sea salt and honey.

How Are Hot Dogs Made?

There are many steps involved in hot dog production. When hot dogs are placed on store shelves for customers to buy them, they have already been fully cooked in addition to being seasoned and shaped.

Here is the basic process of making hot dogs:

  • Beef trimmings are ground to reduce their size.
  • Seasonings, salt, and water are added.
  • A second blend is used on the combined ingredients to create an ultra-fine grind.
  • The mixture is placed inside a cellulose-derived from plants casing. Some hot dogs are placed inside of intestine-made casings. Typically, cellulose casings are removed from hot dogs after they have finished cooking, leaving animal casings.
  • In a big oven, the hot dog is smoked while still in its casing. Hot dogs may be wood smoked or liquid smoked.
  • When the hot dogs are fully cooked, the casing (if it was made of cellulose) is taken off.

Understanding the Difference Between the Good and the Bad

Take the time to thoroughly understand the ingredients listed on the label before purchasing any hot dogs.

Watch out for binders and fillers that are used to bolster the size of hot dogs and other foods. If an ingredient doesn’t look familiar, it might be one of these additives.

High-quality hot dogs can also be distinguished by their appearance. Hot dogs in a package should all be the same color, but this color may vary between brands. Hot dogs from different brands may appear lighter or darker than those from other brands, and this usually indicates the amount of smoke present rather than the caliber of the product.

We’ve made it our mission since our founding in 1875 to only work with independent family farmers in the U S. This means that the phrase “Raised in the USA” will always appear on our labels. For conscientious consumers who want to support the domestic economy, the fact that our meat comes from animals raised and born in the United States is crucial.

Additionally, as part of our core values, we always put animal welfare and crate-free practices first, meeting standards for American Humane CertifiedTM pork products and redefining what “all-natural” really means.

The Benefits of All-Beef Hot Dogs

In addition to being healthier for you and your family, all-beef hot dogs also taste better because they are made with premium beef and all-natural seasonings. You can feel at ease serving our all-natural hot dogs to your family because none of the beef used in Coleman Natural products was raised with antibiotics or added hormones.

All-natural beef hot dogs are always your best option, whether you’re grilling them for a backyard party or preparing them as part of a quick meal like the Deconstructed Chicago Dog Salad.

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Originally released on August 8, 2022, this article has since been revised.

How It’s Made Hot Dogs


What meat are beef hot dogs made of?

According to the USDA, a beef hot dog must only be made from cows and cannot contain any byproducts. Contrary to franks made with poultry or pork meats, beef franks cannot be made with mechanically separated beef due to precautions against BSE, or mad cow disease.

Are all beef hot dogs really all beef?

Beef is the traditional meat used in making hot dogs. There are numerous producers of all-beef hot dogs, so you can eat a complete hot dog made entirely of pure beef without any additional fillers. There are many different types of beef hot dogs, but the two most popular are kosher and franks.

What is 100% beef hot dogs made out of?

Uncured Beef Hot Dog Ingredients: 100% Grass Fed Beef, Water, Contains less than 2%: Sea Salt, Vinegar, Spices and Coloring (including Paprika), Turbinado Sugar, Cultured Celery Powder, Natural Flavors

Are beef hot dogs 100 percent beef?

If a hotdog is labelled %22all beef%22 or %22all pork,%22 it also must be made from 100% muscle tissue of that animal Additional ingredients are added to preserve and flavor the links, but there can only be a maximum of three. 5% of the sausage, not including added water.

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