Nitrate Free Hot Dogs…As Good as the Real Deal? I Think So!

One thing my family really likes to eat is hot dogs. I know, I know, sounds so gross, and kind of weird as a starting sentence, but it’s true. And by my family I mean everyone in my family except me. I like a hot dog, like once a year, and it is only because I get a craving for one at a ball game or a BBQ in the summer. BUT, the boys in the house and even my girl C, like to eat them year round, mostly when watching their beloved Iowa Hawkeyes play football on TV. H likes them so much (let’s be real, he has had like 2 in his life) that we had a hot dog roller, restaurant style, at his 1st birthday party.

Like most other things that my family eats, I try to find a way to make it at least a semi-healthy option. Key word, try. It has been a goal of mine to crossover a bit more to the organic side of the fence while maintaining an affordable family diet. (Totally doable, just takes a bit of time.) Now, I wouldn’t dare take away their hot dog bonding time, so I figured I better get busy finding a healthier alternative.

Last week, I called the farm where I buy all of our pastured, no-added nitrate, preservative-free, hormone-free, sustainably raised pork, Country Time Farm in Hamburg, PA. I ordered another 20 pounds of ground pork (that is what we use these days instead of ground beef), and while I was on the phone with Ember, I asked about their no-added nitrate hot dogs and bacon. I figured it would be a good time to do a little taste-test with the family.

****Side note: It is difficult to find (if it is even possible) hot dogs that have absolutely NO NITRATES/-ITES in them, however…these are the closest that you can come. The hogs raised at Country Time Farm are done so humanely and fed organically without GMO’s in their food.  Their hot dogs are made with organic spices and without any fillers at all. Celery juice is what usually adds the nitrites in hot dogs and this is not present in these hot dogs. 

After Thanksgiving, while Ben was off and my parents were visiting, we tried all of our (slightly healthier) goodies. First up was the no-added nitrates bacon. A winner! I wasn’t too worried about it, bacon is bacon, right? H loved it and no one could tell a difference. Ben would tell you that he could, but he would be lying and he knows it too. He says, and I quote, “It’s good, but not quite as flavorful and you have to be careful because it gets overcooked much quicker than regular bacon.”

 Next up were the hot dogs. I conned my dad into my plan as well, and we had them for lunch one day.

The verdict was that they were great. Everyone felt that they were a bit denser and seemed like a bit more of a meal than just a plain hot dog. But that’s a good thing, right? As far as taste goes, they got an A+. There definitely was a difference between the regular and no-added nitrate hot dogs. The no-added nitrate hot dogs seemed a bit more fresh and filling. Many people say that the additives are what gives the hot dogs flavor. I TOTALLY DISAGREE! These are completely filled with flavor.

So, now that these are a winner, let’s talk about whether or not they are sustainable in our house. The answer is yes. Of course, I also look at cost. I paid $4.99 for a pound of hot dogs. There were 6 in a pack (but they were definitely bigger and heartier than regular hot dogs). At the grocery store, not on sale, I usually pay $3.99 for 8 of them, though usually I only buy them on a BOGO sale. In all, I say that the nitrate-free are totally worth it. I feel much better about my kids eating these, knowing that they are a fresh, wholesome alternative to some of the other ones chock full of unknown ingredients.

I have to be honest, we LOVE getting pork from Paul and Ember at Country Time Farm, so I haven’t checked out many other places to get these. I know that Kimberton Whole Foods sells nitrate-free hot dogs and I am sure Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods does too. I personally like the freshness of the ones that we get from our local friends and so I’ll stick with the farm for now.

I joined the Tuesday Green’s Link-up today over at Crafty Garden Mama! Be sure to check out all of the other fantastic “green” posts over there today!


About Lauryn Blakesley

A woman out to explore, celebrate, and enjoy everything that my community and living locally has to offer. Blessed with three beautiful children and an incredible husband, our family embraces adventure while dreaming of what is to come. Lover of knitting, running (although mostly after little ones right now), the color orange, fun accessories, fall, tea, and a clean kitchen floor. I spend my days in awe of my family and trying to teach my three to treat others as they would want to be treated.

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  1. WE LOVE Country Time Farm! They have the most delicious pork ever. Their bacon… hot dogs… ribs… chops… it is all amazing. I get it at the P-ville farm market in the summer months and I can usually find a good selection at KWF the rest of the year. SO much better tasting (and better for ya) than the chemical filled crap at the grocery store.

    • I totally agree! We have substituted ground pork for all of our ground beef and our meals are tasting SO much more delicious. Their pork is so full of flavor! Small world! Paul and Ember are so nice as well…just a great all around farm to support:)

  2. You’re in my neck of the woods…I’m a bit south though, closer to the MD/DE border, but still in PA.

    These do sound like a good option…better option for hot dogs. I suspect my husband would have known the difference with the bacon, too. We have been disappointed a couple times when we’ve tried off brands and such with the bacon.

    Thanks for the taste test!

  3. We’ve tried nitrate-free from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Oscar Meyer. I think the ones from WF were the best. The Oscar Meyer ones were funky. Just not right.

    I get nitrate-free bacon often at Amelia’s Grocery Outlet. Since it’s the ends, they’re pretty fatty and very tasty.

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