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Monday, March 17, 2014

Everything You Wanted To Know About Hot Dogs But Were Afraid To Ask

Click at your own risk.

With help from a dietician at the American Cancer Society and Bizarre Foods' Andrew Zimmern, who now owns his own line of franks, we aimed to demystify the delicious sausage. Here are some of the most curious questions about hot dogs with facts you can't unknow.

Flickr: ddaarryynn

Most commercial hot dogs are a mash of poultry trimmings, water, corn syrup, and starchy "filler."

Most commercial hot dogs are a mash of poultry trimmings, water, corn syrup, and starchy "filler."

Discovery Channel / Via

If you're buying classic hot dogs made by Oscar Mayer or Ball Park, the primary ingredient is likely going to be chicken or turkey — specifically "mechanically-separated" turkey or chicken. The USDA defines that as a "paste-like and batter-like poultry product," which is made by forcing trimmings through a machine that separates any "attached edible tissue" from the bone. However, if the hot dog package says "beef franks" or "pork franks" it is required by law to contain only meat from that single species of animal.

"The joke in the modern era is that hot dogs are just lips and asshole," Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern told BuzzFeed. Commercial hot dogs are in fact made of trimmings: leftover poultry and meat parts after the rest of the animal has been turned into more premium cuts. But even though most people might find that idea unappetizing, Zimmern says some of those parts actually have "some of the best flavor and fat content," and that's not what's giving hot dogs a bad name. Rather, it's all the fillers that go in after the meat or poultry. "[Hot dogs] should be 100% natural, no artificial anything, species-specific," says Zimmern. "Those are the things that people can taste."

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