This Video Reveals What's Actually in Hot Dogs

In Depth

Want to know what’s actually in a hot dog? Surprisingly, the answer is not “hooves, lips, and skunk anus.”

Well, not JUST hooves, lips, and skunk anus.

Will Johnson and Trace Dominguez at DNews tackle this pressing international news story in the above video. First, they cover what’s SUPPOSED to be in hot dogs if you’re making them at home: meat, meat fat, grain filler (so oatmeal or bread crumbs or the like), egg whites (to hold it together), and spices, all wrapped in a collagen casing — which is actually kind of an improvement over the old way, which used actual intestines as a casing in what amounted to a meat sock. Sounds simple enough, right?

Then they cover what actually goes into commercial hot dogs, and it’s…well, it’s not quite what I was expecting. Mechanically-separated meat wasn’t a surprise (HALLO DELICIOUS RECTUMS!), but corn syrup (WAT), beef stock, sodium erythorbate (which sounds like one of Sauron’s lesser minions but is actually just a preservative and might be the least scary thing on here), and sodium nitrate (to give it that vague pink pseudomeat color and HOLY FUCK WHAT COLOR IS IT BEFORE THEY PUT THAT IN THERE). There are also various other chemical concoctions that I’m not even going to try to pronounce or spell; I’ll just relate the fact that because of their carcinogenic effect, the American Cancer Society has reported that hot dogs and deli meats have been shown to cause cancer in animals. Nitrate-heavy meats have also been linked to colon cancer — if you eat three hot dogs per week as a man or one and a half as a woman, you’ve already hit the level where you’re at an increased risk.

So…who wants some ballpark franks, huh?

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