If I understand the moral objections some vegetarians have toward eating meat, it’s that a human life has no more intrinsic value than an animal life, so eating an animal is as ethically wrong as killing a person… i.e., “meat is murder.” And as anyone whose wife watches as much Criminal Minds and C.S.I. as mine does can attest, serial killers are generally classified as having killed three or more people in separate incidents. So if I eat a hot dog that contains more than two kinds of meat, am I complicit in serial murder?
(If it wasn’t obvious, these kinds of thoughts are the reason I didn’t have a real girlfriend until college. Also the mullet.)
Anyway, as you might have surmised by the first paragraph, today we’re looking at a hot dog containing not one, not two, but THREE different kinds of meat. (Maybe four, actually… the package lists “pork” and “bacon” as two different kinds of meat, but unless there’s something I’d reeeeeally rather not know, they both come from pig, no?) The exact quote is “Franks made with turkey and chicken & pork and bacon,” and your guess is as good as mine as to why there’s an ampersand separating the poultry from the good meats.
Regardless, I’ll admit that my confidence was not high going into this review. Hot dogs? Good. Bacon? Shut your damn mouth if you just said anything other than “Effing fantastic, sir!” But combined? Hmmm. I’ve had bacon-flavored beer before. It was, uh, better in small quantities. And… well, you hear things about hot dogs. We already suspect pig anus to be one of the primary ingredients (12% by volume!), so is bacon really going to offset that? Nevertheless, I took this job knowing there’d be gross foods involved, and you don’t build cred reviewing nothing but ice cream and snack cakes. So come at me, Oscar Mayer!
Normally I spend some time talking about packaging, but there is absolutely nothing exciting about this container. It’s clear, you can see the franks inside, there’s an extremely small picture of some bacon strips at the top. The word “New!” on one side of the label is literally the most eye-catching thing about it, but even that could be easily overlooked. I don’t know if that’s standard hot dog protocol or if these are the equivalent of a TV show the network dumps on Saturday night in the summer, but you could easily bypass the bacon dogs unless you’re specifically looking for them.
Which (spoiler!) maybe you shouldn’t. To give these a fair shake, I prepared them in a couple of different ways. First was 20 seconds in the microwave (they’re precooked, obviously), after which I dug in. The verdict is: no, they really don’t taste much like bacon. It’s ever so much not at all like biting into a non-crispy strip of a pig’s ultimate evolution. It tastes somewhat similar to a regular hot dog, though a bit more like ham, which does not mesh well. My wife described it as “like hot baloney,” and I don’t think she intended that as a compliment.
The texture is likewise basically that of your average hot dog, and there’s an artificial smokey flavor that tastes really fake, not at all like these just came off the grill. All in all, it’s not impossible to choke down so much as it’s just not as tasty as a regular hot dog, and not at all like bacon.
But I’m nothing if not fair and thorough, so I also grilled one on the George Foreman, typically used for lesser meat products not worthy of the official Man Grill. I will offer that it was better, though not a lot. The baloney taste was slightly lessened and the texture a bit better, as you’d expect, but it still didn’t taste at all like bacon other than the artificial smoky flavor, and even that was pretty faint.
The lesson, I think, is obvious: whether it’s bacon-flavored hot dogs or unlimited all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktails, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The rating on these is reflective of averaging the difference between microwaving (3) and grilling (5), but it boils down to one thing: these are not significantly worse than a regular hot dog, but they’re a little worse; and if you’re going to tout bacon flavor, then dammit, your product had better deliver. If not, don’t be surprised when some internet wiseass takes you to task for it. It’s the American way.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 link – 130 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of total fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 370 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.)
Item: Oscar Mayer Bacon Dogs
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 8 links/14 oz.
Purchased at: Shop-Rite
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Easy to prepare. Concept of bacon dogs. Slight smoky flavor which isn’t bad. Not going to break the bank.
Cons: Hot baloney. Full glass of bacon-flavored beer. I’m barely willing to ingest that much fat for real bacon. Smokey flavor is too artificial. Regretting that 3 different animals gave their lives for this stuff.