Introducing The Bone-Healthy Hot Dog
July is National Hot Dog Month in the U.S., and, not surprisingly, Americans consume huge amounts of this backyard grill favorite. Believe it or not, Americans eat around 818 hot dogs per second between Memorial Day (May) and Labor Day (September). That totals around 7 billion (this is not a typo)!
Unfortunately, commercially sold hot dogs contain a number of toxic ingredients that can cause bone density loss.
But you can still be part of the cookout festivities without hurting your bones, because today I’m going to share with you a delicious homemade hot dog recipe so you can enjoy a healthier version of this picnic favorite.
Fun Facts About Hot Dogs
Despite their dubious content, hot dogs have an interesting history. One bit of trivia claims that when hot dogs were first sold at baseball games in New York, they were called “hot dachshund sausages.” When a cartoonist tried to depict the scene, he was unable to spell “dachshund,” so he simply called the sausages “hot dogs.” The name stuck!
- The first hot dog stand opened in 1871 on Coney Island, and 1893 is said to be the first year that hot dogs were served with “buns” – at the time, it was simply bread. It wasn’t until 1904 that the official hot dog bun came about.
- Different regions have their own choice of dressings and condiments for the humble hot dog, and the variations are amazing. For example, in California alone there are multiple regional specialties, from Los Angeles’ chili dogs to West Hollywood’s Oki Dog, served on a corn tortilla and covered with chili and pastrami.
- In Chicago, favorite toppings include onions, tomatoes, and mustard. In Massachusetts, hot dogs are steamed (not grilled), and served with ketchup, mustard, relish, piccalilli, and chopped onions. In West Virginia, hot dogs are served steamed or grilled, and topped with chili, coleslaw, mustard, ketchup, and onions. And many New Yorkers like sauerkraut on their hot dogs.
- While their origin is German, hot dogs have made their way around the world. Australians usually eat theirs with ketchup and mustard, but sometimes add fried onions or shredded cheese. In Thailand, hot dogs are eaten with a sweet chili-tomato condiment rather than ketchup, and are grilled or deep-fried and sold by street vendors.
No matter how or where you eat them, however, hot dogs are not good for your bones. Their ingredient list is a frightening concoction of chemicals, excessive sodium, and dubious “meat products.”
Of course, you can enjoy hot dogs as part of a bone-healthy diet with the tasty recipe I share with you below. But first, let’s take a look at what a hot dog is really made of.
Just What’s In A Hot Dog?
Generally speaking, hot dogs are made of finely-ground meat, flavorings, salt, preservatives, and corn syrup. But we need to break down the ingredients to reveal the toxins.
Hot dogs begin with “meat trimmings,” which are what’s left after roasts, steaks, breasts, chops, etc. are cut. Sometimes this includes “variety meats” or “meat by-products” which are organs such as kidneys, heart, and liver.
Hot dogs may also contain “mechanically separated” meat, which involves forcing bones with meat attached through a sieve, resulting in a meat paste.
- Sodium nitrate (aka nitrates or nitrites) is a salt-based preservative found in nearly all processed meats. Nitrates rob your body of glutathione, a crucial antioxidant. In addition, nitrates have been linked to cancer.
- MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that is sometimes added to hot dogs, and it’s an excitotoxin. This means it “excites” and stimulates sensitive neurons to the point that the neurons may die.
- Corn syrup is added for sweetness and flavor, but it’s a concentrated sweetener that is very acidifying and often made from genetically-modified corn. The high-fructose variety acts as free radicals in the body, because the fructose and glucose molecules are unbounded.
- Liquid smoke is added as a preservative and flavoring. It’s made by collecting smoke and sending it to a condenser where the smoke forms a liquid with the addition of water. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found carcinogenic compounds in some liquid smoke products, leading to the declaration of the usage of Primary Product AM 01 (a liquid smoke flavoring) as a “safety concern.”1
- Sodium is found in hot dogs in huge quantities. Two beef hot dogs contain more than 1000mg of sodium! That much sodium is detrimental to your bones, not only because it inhibits calcium absorption, but also because excessive sodium taxes your kidneys and liver.
In fact, all of these toxins overload your detoxification organs.
That’s definitely enough to ruin your cookout. But thankfully, there’s a healthy option that fits into the biochemically balanced Save Our Bones Program. This hot dog recipe is acidifying, but you can certainly enjoy these hot dogs at a cookout with lots of bone-healthy, pH-balanced side dishes like those found in Bone Appétit to balance the pH.
Now for the recipe!
Bone-Healthy Hot Dogs
Makes 18 hot dogs
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground turkey or chicken (optional – use 2 pounds ground beef if you don’t use turkey or chicken)
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Place oats in a blender or food processor; blend or process until fine (like flour). Place ground oats in a bowl or cup and set aside.
- Place ground meat in a food processor and process until very smooth and fine. Mix in the ground oats and other ingredients; pulse until mixed.
- Place meat mixture in a large bowl and stir to make sure everything is blended, then refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- If you have a sausage maker, feel free to use it, twisting the casing every 6 inches or so. If using your hands, take a 2-ounce ball of meat mixture in your hands and roll and shape it into a link shape about 5 inches in length (you don’t want it too thin or it will break when you cook it). Place hot dogs on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
- To cook, place hot dogs in a cold skillet. Add distilled water halfway up the links and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, turning occasionally with tongs. Remove to a paper towel-lined cookie sheet or platter.
- After boiling the hot dogs, you can then grill or sauté them, and serve them right away, refrigerate them for a few days, or freeze them for up to 6 months.
Enjoy These Hot Dogs With Bone-Healthy Side Dishes
These bone-healthy hot dogs are excellent served with side dishes like Sunrise Salad, Pow Wow Salad, Crunchy Coleslaw, or Country Style Waldorf Salad, all of which (and many more) can be found in Bone Appétit, the companion cookbook to the Save Our Bones Program.
Bone Appétit has plenty of luscious dessert recipes, too, some of which are classics that are the perfect ending to a hot dog cookout: Spiced Apple Cake, Pretty In Pink Crumble, Cherry Charm Pie, Non-Dairy Chocolate Delish, and many more.
Now you know that you can enjoy hot dogs without harming your bones along with delicious bone-building pH-balanced side dishes and even desserts.
So if you haven’t yet, please take a few minutes to learn more about Bone Appétit.
Till next time,
1“Scientific opinion on the safety of smoke flavouring Primary Product AM 01 – 2012 Update.” ESFA Journal. 2012; 10(2):2850[18pp]. Web. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/2580.htm