As we have learned more about eating healthy, we have been trying to limit the amount of nitrites and nitrates that our family consumes. Even though they are used in fertilizers and rodenticides, they are still allowed additives in food in the US, typically to preserve meats. Some studies show that higher concentrations of nitrites in the body are linked to increased cancer rates. We are exposed to nitrites and nitrates from lots of sources, including drinking water and various foods that absorbs it naturally. Jon and I feel that we should limit our exposure from sources that we can control to reduce the risk of building up unhealthy concentrations in ourselves and our children. I became particularly concerned with the amounts of nitrites my children were consuming when hot dogs became a “go to” food for my picky boys. They can almost always be counted on to eat a hot dog even when they won’t anything else from the available choices.
So what is a mother to do? I want my kids to eat healthy foods, have a balanced diet and be careful about the chemicals they ingest. I was thrilled to discover the brand Applegate that makes all sorts of healthy meat products including cold cuts and hot dogs. I was even more thrilled when they started selling Applegate products at our local BJs. Applegate was so pleased with our spontaneous review of their bacon – Jon couldn’t help himself, he REALLY loved the bacon – that they offered to send us a variety of their hot dogs to review.
We took the hot dogs camping. We go on an annual camping trip with many families, and this year some of us decided to go a second time. What better way to try out several different kinds of organic and natural, nitrite free hot dogs, but camping with eight children (not all ours)? We tried the following hot dogs from Applegate and they were all very good.
- Applegate Natural Beef Hot Dogs
- Applegate Big Apple Hot Dogs
- Applegate Organic Beef Hot Dogs
- Applegate Organic Stadium Beef Hot Dogs
- Applegate Natural Beef & Pork Hot Dogs
We liked them all, but the Organic Stadium Beef and the Big Apple Hot Dogs were stand out favorites. I over heard one of our friends, who is a bit picky about which hot dog brands he will eat, telling his wife that she didn’t need to get any more of “his” hot dogs out as ours [the Applegate] were better.
The kids were happier with the basic hot dogs and didn’t seem to notice the difference between the varieties.
We on the other hand really liked the variety and subtle and not so subtle differences. Who knew you could make so many different types of hot dogs? Applegate makes 10 difference types of hot dogs.
In addition to their delicious taste, we really liked that the Organic Stadium Beef Hot Dogs made with grass fed beef that is humanely raised without the use of antibiotics. The seasoning with sea salt and celery root tasted like what I expect good hot dogs to taste like, though if I wasn’t looking at the package, I could never tell you what seasonings were in them. Gluten isn’t something we avoid, but it is nice that they are Gluten Free as well.
Another favorite, the Big Apple Hot Dogs had that snap that Jon loves from his trips to Germany as kid and that I grew up with from the streets of New York. The combination of beef and pork with the natural casing make these our new favorite hot dogs. We’ll be sure to look for these on our next shopping trip.
Thanks to Applegate for giving us the opportunity to review our new favorite hot dogs and for making hot dogs that are free of nitrites, taste good and that our picky boys will eat.