Best Hot Dogs: Our Taste Test Results

Don't think about hot dogs too much. Doing so may result in the realization that you're eating questionable animal parts that've been ground up and stuffed into a tube that's either a) made of intestines or b) fake intestines.

And yet, hot dogs are so delicious. They're salty, savory vehicles for every killer topping you could possibly imagine, and you can eat them with one hand. It's hard to come by a more perfect food.

So to help you out, we're going to do the thinking for you. We tasted 15 different brands and types of beef hot dogs to find which are worthy of your grill this summer. Why, you ask? We know the proposition of eating a lesser-than hot dog is a risky one, running the danger of eating something that's filled with (arguably) cancer-causing nitrites or ingredients you can't exactly identify.

We tried everything: natural, clearly not natural, skinless, skin-on, and even organic. We were shocked to find that a brand many of us considered to be a true favorite finished in last place (truly proving that our taste test is blind). Which brands came out on top? Find out in the slideshow below.

As always, this taste test was in no way influenced or sponsored by any of the brands included.

#1: Nathan's Beef Franks With Natural Casings (Recommended)
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"A fine standard." "Enjoyable. Perfect level of sweetness." "Beefy." "Salty and garlicky." "Lightly flavored." Beef, water, contains less than 2% of salt sorbotol, sodium lactate, natural flavorings, hydrolyzed corn protein, paprika, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite
#2: Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters (Recommended)
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Very skinny, very salty. Would hold up well to a nice spicy mustard." "Pleasant -- good texture." "Very chewy." "It's got a lot of snap." Beef, water, salt, contains less than 2%: sorbitol, flavoring, potassium lactate, paprika, garlic powder, hickory smoke flavor, sodium dictate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.
#3: Applegate Farms: The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog (Recommended)
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Love this -- almost has a sausage-like flavor." "Oh-so-slight spice." "Has a soy sauce-like taste." "Lots of spices." "Tastes of crushed red peppers." Organic grass-fed beef, water, contains less than 2% of the following: sea salt, organic spices, organic dehydrated garlic and onion, organic paprika, celery powder
#4: Nathan's Skinless Beef Franks
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Sweet! Is there sugar in here?" "Very sweet." "Good salty-sweet combination." "Overly sweet but would be enjoyable with salty toppings." Beef, water, contains less than 2% of salt, sorbitol, sodium lactate, natural flavorings, sodium phosphate, hydrolyzed corn protein, paprika, sodium dictate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite
#5: Boar's Head
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"This has some serious snap." "A great standard hot dog." "Good, but a little too greasy." "Salty and gristly, unfortunately." Beef, water, salt, paprika flavoring, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, and a sheep casing.
#6: Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Soft and limp." "The texture seems very processed." "Soft and slimy texture." "Pleasantly different from the rest. Less overly-spiced." Beef, water, modified food starch, contains 2% of less of sodium lactate, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, flavorings, paprika, potassium chloride, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite.
#7: Oscar Mayer Classic Beef Franks
"A little on the salty side, but still good." "Nice smoky sweetness." "Good snap." Beef, water, contains less than 2% of salt, corn syrup, dextrose, sodium lactate, sodium phosphates, sodium dictate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), extractives of paprika, dried garlic, spice, sodium nitrite.
#8: Woodson and James Skinless
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Seriously heavy flavor." "Strong hot dog aftertaste." "Very tender." "Weird orange color, but better flavor." "A typical hot dog -- I'd grill it." Beef, water, salt, mustard flour, dextrose paprika, sodium phosphate, garlic powder, hydrolyzed soy protein, sodium drythorbate, extractives of paprika, spices, sodium nitrite, flavorings.
#9: Coleman
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Is this breakfast sausage? I love it anyway." "Deeper flavor than most." "Vinegar-like taste." "A little bit sour." "More like breakfast sausage than a hot dog." Beef, water, contains less than 2% of the following: allspice, celery juice powder, evaporated cane juice, garlic powder, ginger, honey, lactic acid starter culture (not from dairy), mustard, nutmeg, onion powder, paprika, pepper, sea salt.
#10: Kobe Beef America
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Lackluster, but a good vehicle for toppings." "Great saltiness." "Smoky and salty. Very classic." "Like rubber." "Tastes 'beefy' but not like a hot dog." American style kobe beef and beef, water, corn syrup, salt, potassium lactate, sodium phosphate, garlic, onion, sodium dictate, sodium carbonate, spice extractives, sodium erythorbate, natural smoke flavor, sodium nitrite.
#11: Ball Park Deli Style Beef Franks
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Too bland and bologna-like." "Nice layer of salt." "Not much flavor." "Slightly sweet." "Tastes like a cheap hot dog. Not bad, but not great." Beef, water, corn syrup, contains 2% or less of: salt, potassium lactate, flavorings, dextrose, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, extractives of paprika, sodium nitrite.
#12: Ball Park Beef Franks
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Very bologna-like." "Feels like it would be fabulous grilled." "What is this?" "Too salty." Beef, water, corn syrup, contains 2% or less: salt, potassium lactate, beef stock, sodium phosphates, flavorings, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, extractives of paprika.
#13: Ball Park Angus Beef Franks
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"Spicy and heavily meaty." "Weird artificial taste." "Too salty and strange." "Awful sponge-like texture." "A little scary to chew through." Angus beef, water, corn syrup, contains 2% or less: salt, potassium lactate, flavorings, monosodium glutamate, sodium phosphate, sodium diacetate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), extractives of paprika, sodium nitrite.
#14: Woodson & James Angus Beef Natural Casing
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"I like the taste, but not the strange orange color." "Tastes like dog food." Beef, water, salt, mustard flour, dextrose, paprika, sodium phosphate, garlic poder, hydrolized soy protein, sodium erythorbate, extractives of paprika, spices, sodium nitrite, flavorings. In lamb casing.
#15: Hebrew National Beef Franks
Damon Dahlen/AOL
"I can actually see white pieces of fat when I bite in -- you lost me there." "Chewy, awful and mushy." "Not flavorful and very soft." "Strange, mealy texture." "Tastes like beef jerky, with strange granules of fat in it." Beef, water, no modified food starch, contains 2% of less of salt, sodium lactate, spiced hydrolyzed soy protein, paprika, sodium diacetate, garlic powder, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite and flavorings.