The 9 Best Grassfed Hotdogs

Grilling season is here, and we've got the best way to celebrate: humanely raised, hormone-free hotdogs.

May 11, 2012
Healthier Hotdogs: They Really Exist

It's that time of year again--summertime, eating outside, and lots of grilling! So pass the processed meat, please. You've probably heard all the urban legends about hotdogs: They contain pig ears, snouts, tails, and every other animal entrail you'd never touch with a 10-foot pole. But they're not all bad! We searched high and low for the best hotdogs out there, made with 100 percent real beef, not "variety meats," as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) likes to call them. And ours are organic or grass-fed, higher in omega-3s and vitamins, and untainted by the genetically modified animal feed, hormones, or antibiotics in unhealthy factory-farmed fare. Grab your tongs and hit the grill with these healthy dogs.

Applegate Farms Great Organic Beef Hotdog

Calories: 110
Fat: 8 g (3 g saturated)
Sodium: 330 mg
$5.99/8 hotdogs;

Good to know: Not only are these hotdogs the lowest calorie 100 percent grass-fed dogs out there, but they're also the most widely available.

Organic Prairie Organic Uncured Beef Hotdogs

Calories: 120
Fat: 11 g (4 g saturated)
Sodium: 360 mg
$47.00/35 hotdogs;

Good to know: All the meat products sold under the Organic Prairie brand are raised on certified-organic U.S. family farms. Order online in bulk, or look for smaller packages at grocery stores nationwide.

Let's Be Frank

Calories: 170
Fat: 13 g (6 g saturated)
Sodium: 430 mg
$8.00/4 franks or $50.50/30;

Good to know: These all-beef, grass-fed hotdogs come from a ranch certified by the Food Alliance, a program that certifies farms that treat animals and people humanely, and have eliminated antibiotics, hormones, and genetically modified organisms from animal feed, in addition to working to protect the environment around their ranches.

Rocky Mountain Organic Meats

Nutrition info isn't available because the cost of getting that information was too high for this small, Wyoming-based ranch, says the company's president and founder Rod Morrison. "All of our hotdogs are completely grass-fed, and everything comes from Wyoming," he says. "We're the cowboy state. We know how to do this."
$7.60/4 hotdogs;

Good to know: Per USDA guidelines, hotdogs that list "by-products" or "variety meats" on their ingredients labels need only contain 15 percent muscle meat to be called hotdogs. Don't worry--none of our picks contain "variety meats."

U.S. Wellness Beef Garlic Franks

Calories: 140
Fat: 9 g (4.5 g saturated)
Sodium: 430 mg
$8.60/6 hotdogs;

Good to know: Canadian researchers have found that daily intake of omega-3s in the amounts that exist in the average serving of grass-fed beef (about 35 mg per 3 oz serving) lowered triglycerides, blood fats that contribute to heart disease, without affecting cholesterol levels.

Tendergrass Farms Pastured Pork Grassfed Franks

This small collection of family farmers, which includes the noted sustainable farmer, author and lecturer Joel Salatin, doesn't have nutritional information for their hotdogs.
$8.99/4 hotdogs (5 lb. package);

Good to Know: For the pork purists out there, these "beyond organic" franks come from pigs that live their entire lives on the pastures of small family farms, which is something that even USDA Organic standards don't require. All of the farmers that contribute to this Virginia-based animal agriculture operation recently pledged to feed their pigs, chickens and turkeys GMO-free feed, as well.

Homegrown Meats Grassfed Beef Hot Dogs

Calories: 130
Fat: 11 g (4.5 g saturated)
Sodium: 590 mg
$7.99/4 hotdogs;

Good to Know: Not only are these hotdogs certified by the American Grassfed Association (a program that verifies animals eat only grass their entire lives), but they're also Animal Welfare Approved, the strictest certification program for humane animal treatment.

Tallgrass Beef Grassfed Beef Hot Dogs

Calories: 150
Fat: 13 (6 g saturated)
Sodium: 450 mg
$49.95/18 hotdogs;

Good to know: Though Tallgrass Beef sells its products in grocery stores across the country, they're a mainstay in the Chicago area, where Tallgrass hotdogs are sold at Wrigley Field.

Prescott Frost Organic All-Beef Hot Dogs

Calories: 160
Fat: 14 g (5 g saturated)
Sodium: 450 mg
$7.50/6 hotdogs;

Good to know: This ranch, owned by the great-grandson of poet Robert Frost, is located in the Sandhills of Nebraska, a region often called the Napa Valley of grass-fed beef.

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