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Tasting an american classic

Frankfurter sausages, or hot dogs as they tend to be known in Ireland, are the classic American snack food and the perfect accompaniment to beer and baseball (or, in fact, all ball sports).

Originally introduced by European immigrants on the east coast of the US in the late 19th century, they soon spread nationwide. Interestingly, there was no American hot dog brand for sale in Ireland (that I could find), with all those tested branded and manufactured in Europe.

The pork content of the different sausages averaged around 75pc, significantly higher than many Irish breakfast sausages.

It's best not to think about what exactly goes into a hot dog, but this could be said for most sausages. The cuts are not specified and it is likely that little of the meat is of a quality that could be used for anything other than sausages.

So, of course, hot dogs are not the healthiest option for a family dinner, but for convenience and the occasional treat, they are hard to beat.

The good news is that calories were lower than I had expected with each sausage around 100Kcal.

The hot dogs were tested hot on their own and in a soft roll with mustard and ketchup.

Herta Frankfurters (widely available), €2.17 per 350g 74pc pork Solid meaty texture with good pork and spice flavours, moist and smoky and distinctly German tasting. Works very well in the roll, particularly with mustard flavours. Herta is the best-known and best-selling frankfurter brand in Europe. It was established in Germany in 1902 and purchased by Nestle in 1986. Best Taste. 8/10

Superquinn Frankfurters, €2.75 per 350g, 72pc Pork Tender and moist with a light smoky, meaty flavour. Very tasty and worked well in the roll with mustard and ketchup, the flavour of the frankfurter holding its own. This was the second most expensive frankfurter but had excellent taste and the lowest calories at 213Kcal per 100g -- just 75Kcal per sausage. 7.5/10

Denny Hot Dogs, €2.85 per 270g, 86pc Pork The highest meat content of all the samples but also the highest price and the highest calories (367Kcal per 100g). Very meaty taste with mild smoke flavour and not too much fat. Quite different in taste and texture to the other samples -- almost a cross between an Irish breakfast sausage and a frankfurter. Worked well with the bun/ mustard/ketchup as the pork flavour lingered along with the spices and salt flavours. 7/10

Dunnes (St Bernard), €1.49 per 350g, 70pc pork Firm meaty texture with distinct smoky taste. Pleasant, spicy, slightly peppery taste with touches of sweetness, a slightly fatty finish but good overall. Good quality for such a cheap price. Best taste/value combination. 6.5/10

Lidl Twinner Frankfurters (Lidl) €1.49 per 350g 79pc Pork Firm texture, similar to the Aldi version (below) but slightly slimmer and with a better texture.

Good meaty flavour with light smoke and sweet spices. Mild taste but works well with the hot dog buns. Good value. 6/10

Boklunder Frankfurters (Aldi), €1.49 per 350g 75pc Pork Very firm, chewy texture, meaty and sweet, with a mild spice taste.

Quite good quality but I would have preferred a slightly less chewy texture. Good value. 6/10

Meisterhof Frankfurters, (Tesco), €1.69 per 350g, 80pc pork Meisterhof are a German brand but only seem to be available in Tesco. Soft almost soggy texture despite the high percentage of Pork (80pc). These had the highest calories after Denny with 299Kcal and have a slightly harsh smoky flavour (liquid smoke is one of the ingredients). 4/10

SuperValu Nice Price Hot Dogs, €1.69 per 350g 70pc Pork The sausage with the lowest meat content (70pc). Distinctly soggy texture and unpleasant greasy flavour of harsh smoke and mushy, fatty meat. I really did not like these and couldn't bring myself to swallow. 3/10


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