Hot dogs. We love them. How can a German delicacy become such an American delight?
Who knew that a simple frankfurt sausage combined with a bread bun covered in ketchup and onions could be so good?
Hot dogs are now a staple of American culture. We sell them on street carts, we sell them at basketball games, eat them at baseball games, snack on them in theme parks...
There is even a whole Instagram account dedicated to the Coney Island hotdog and over 4.3 million posts about hotdogs on the social media platform alone
Hot dogs have become a crucial element of our American lifestyles and a vital part of our Fourth of July celebrations. As Americans, we eat on average 150 million hot dogs on the fourth of july every year!
As a popular and important part of our culture and historical celebrations, hot dogs are also great foods for snacks or dinners at home. They are easy to make, easy to store, cheap to purchase and provide a hearty, warming meal.
Studies show that hot dogs are kept and served in 95% of American households. So how do we keep hotdogs fresh for longer?You can keep hot dogs in a refrigerator, or in a jar or can. You can even freeze hot dogs.
Can you freeze hot dogs?
The best advice for keeping hot dogs for home consumption is that as soon as you purchase them and leave the store, you should go home and either refrigerate or freeze them immediately.
You should never leave hot dogs out at room temperature for longer than 1-2 hours as this will promote the breeding of bacteria and cause ill health.
Hot dogs can be kept in the refrigerator, if unopened for an additional 2 weeks. If they have been opened, then try to use them after one week. If you forget you bought them and they are still in their ‘use by’ period, then you can store them in the freezer for greater life.
It may surprise some people to know that you can freeze hot dogs. As a general rule of thumb, you can freeze almost anything. The real question is should you freeze them, and how can you freeze hot dogs safely to enjoy them at a later date.
Generally speaking, hot dogs can last for up to 2 months when properly stored in the freezer. However if frozen and thawed correctly, hot dogs are typically safe to eat indefinitely.
How to freeze hot dogs
If you have an abundance of hot dogs in your home, or you simply could not resist the deals at the store, then you may want to freeze them for later use. You can maximize their longevity and improve their shelf life hugely, just by freezing them.
The best way to freeze hot dogs is to wrap the original packaging with some sort of air tight covering. This could be plastic wrap, freezer bags, or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make sure there is no room for air to escape or get into the package.
If properly covered, then hot dogs can last in the freezer for up to 4 months, but the best quality will be in the first 1-2 months.
How to thaw frozen hot dogs
There are a few ways to thaw frozen hot dogs. The fastest way is to thaw them in the microwave on the defrost setting. Simply remove the hot dogs from their packaging and place them on a microwave safe dish.
Select the defrost button and start. If your microwave does not have a defrost setting, then set your microwave to 30% power. Try this for 30 seconds, or longer. Keep checking after a few minutes to ensure they are defrosted all of the way through.
This is the quickest way to thaw hot dogs, however, these hot dogs must be consumed straight away and it is not safe to refrigerate them afterwards or reheat them.
The best way to thaw hot dogs safely as long as you do not mind the wait is to remove them from the packaging and place them in your refrigerator.
You must first place your hot dogs in a shallow dish or bowl. Place the dish in the bottom shelf of your refrigerator and leave the hot dogs to defrost. This can take up to 24 hours.
To check, feel the hot dogs to see whether they are cool to the touch but not freezing cold. When you pick one up it should be flexible and floppy, so you know it is ready to eat.
These hot dogs can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days before cooking, but we recommend that you cook and eat them as soon as they have thawed.
Hot dogs are often pre-cooked before packaged and sent to stores for purchase. So in this sense, it is even possible to eat them raw. However, for best practice and to ensure you do not get any sort of food-borne illness, you should always cook hot dogs until they are piping hot.
Many processed foods such as hot dogs or luncheon meats can run the risk of being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This is bacteria that can cause sickness, headaches, stomach pains, fever and diarrhea. This can be avoided by cooking in high temperatures.
Hot dog tips
Although hot dogs generally come pre cooked, the best way to serve hot dogs is to heat them first. Hot dogs can be fried, boiled, broiled, baked or microwaved for a short time to deliver those soft, juicy results.
You should always practice safe cooking methods when eating frozen hot dogs or pre-cooked hot dogs.
If you notice any signs that your hot dogs may have gone bad or are past their use-by date then it is generally advisable to throw them in the trash and not eat them. You may keep your home-cooked hot dogs in the refrigerator for an additional 3-4 days before they go bad.
Signs that your hot dogs may have gone off are a dull color, or slimy exterior, with a sour or unfavorable odor. If there are any signs of discoloration or strange smells, then do not consume them.