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Hot Dogs: Go Beyond Ordinary

Oh, the all-American Hot Dog! When is the last time you ate one? Was it at a cook-out or maybe at a sporting event? There are so many ways to dress them up. When I think of hot dogs, a meat frank placed in a bun with ketchup and sweet relish is my vision. You may have a similar reaction. Let’s go beyond the basics and expand our minds to some other delicious possibilities.

Selection of the basic hot dog at the meat case now includes Simple Truth Uncured Beef or Uncured Chicken Hot Dogs. At first glance, the package looks similar to the other brand offerings, with the clear vacuum plastic wrap and sticker labels. Then the iconic green circle for Simple Truth catches the eye. Okay, now I am intrigued to read further ….

  • No added hormones
  • 100% vegetarian fed diet
  • Humanely raised
  • No antibiotics ever

Can this be real? I keep reading ….

  • No preservatives
  • No MSG added
  • No fillers
  • Gluten-free
  • Casein-free
  • Fully cooked

So what IS in them? I found that they have lots of good, natural ingredients starting with the beef or chicken. There are also spices like paprika and sea salt added in just the right amounts to provide a rich flavor. That’s what I want for myself and my family. The flavor-rich beef variety has only 260 mg sodium and 140 calories per hot dog, while each milder chicken dog has a bit more sodium but only 90 calories.

A few fortunate staff members were able to sample these new Uncured Simple Truth Hot Dogs when I was preparing them along with the recently introduced Simple Truth Uncured Bacon in our break room. Almost everyone noticed that the little white pieces of filler or fat were missing. When looking at the inside, you will simply see the meat and spices. How basic and wonderful! These hot dogs have grown-up appeal. Similar to how you would heat other hot dogs, I would recommend piercing them in a few places to allow the hot juices to escape and prevent the frank from distorting or splitting. While the package describes the stovetop and microwave directions for best results, it’s also acceptable to try them in the serving ideas presented below.

Some ways to “ban the bun” include:

  • Adding slices to mac-n-cheese or baked beans
  • Wrapping and baking halved dogs in a croissant (like pigs in a blanket)
  • Wrapping a third of a slice of bacon around inch-long hot dog pieces, then baking to create “pig candy”
  • Slicing into thin disks for a pizza topping
  • Slow cooking in a batch of mixed beans or stew

Here is an easy, hearty stew recipe made in the slow cooker. What a great dish to have ready as the days turn cooler. Let it warm you from the inside out.

Mixed Bean Stew

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
Serves: 6 to 8


  • 12 ounces (1 package) Simple Truth Hot Dogs (chicken or beef)
  • 10 cups Simple Truth Organic Chicken Broth
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • ½ can Simple Truth Organic Pinto Beans
  • ½ can Simple Truth Organic Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 can Simple Truth Organic Diced Tomatoes


  • Cut hot dogs into small pieces (less than half an inch). Clean and slice carrots and celery.
  • Place all items except tomatoes in a five-quart slow cooker. Mix.
  • Cover and set on low for seven hours.
  • Add tomatoes, stir gently. Continue to cook for an additional hour.
  • Serve with crusty artisan bread or crackers.

What is your favorite “unbunned” way to prepare hot dogs?

Karen Ilhardt

Karen’s role as Home Economist in the Kroger Customer Connect (C|c) is to answer customer questions and write about recipes, ingredient substitutions, and Food Safety.  She holds BS and MS degrees from The Ohio State University’s College of Home Economics with a specialty in Resource Management.  Karen also has teaching credentials from Miami University (of Ohio) and Wright State University. 

After having been a food teacher for 20 years she transferred to the corporate world in 2011.  Farming and crafting have always been a part of her life.  Karen values being part of our food production and preparation processes PLUS  being able to share those experiences with others.  The Simple Truth Brand embraces the wholesome nature of the foods we select and consume which makes a perfect choice for Karen’s lifestyle.

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