Hot dogs are not just an American specialty item anymore. They have become relatively popular across Latin America, Europe, and even further to East Asia. They are convenient and very easy to prepare for a quick meal. After all, not many would refuse to grab a hot dog, especially with the overflowing amount of flavorings that have surfaced to make our mouth water.
However, they come in packs, and you need to store them safely for later use. With many people confused about do hotdogs need to be refrigerated? we have put together this article to familiarize you with this topic. An FAQ section has also been included to address some common queries asked by hot dog lovers.
How to store hot dogs?
After they have been opened, hot dogs should be sealed in an airtight container or bag and refrigerated. It is also perfectly fine to keep the original cover on and zip lock them while refrigerating.
Do hotdogs need to be refrigerated? yes, hot dogs are meant to be stored in a refrigerator and need to be chilled without fail. However, another question regarding where to store them might arise. Do hot dogs go in the fridge or the freezer? The answer is, it depends. If you plan on cooking the hot dogs within a week, then refrigeration is sufficient for them to sustain their quality. If there are leftovers that you will not be using anytime within the ensuing days, it is recommended to freeze them. Sealing and stowing them in a freezer will ensure that they stay fresh for a longer period, up to even three months.
Storage choices for hot dogs
Very few hot dog brands use resealable packs. Luckily, if they do, it makes your job easier as you can open and reseal the package whenever you take it out and store them back later.
If they do not come in resealable covers, refrain from throwing away the bag they come in. Instead, use it to wrap the hot dogs and put them in a ziplock or airtight container. This way, it gives the hot dogs an extra layer of protection, making them last fresh in the long run.
Selecting the best hot dogs
Selecting high-quality hot dogs is easier than you think, and the answer lies in its label. After all, every hot dog is not equal and varies in taste, flavor, and nutrients that it provides.
The label of the pack that you buy should specify what species it is made from – the hot dogs can be chicken, beef, pork, or turkey. Another important detail that you need to pay attention to is if it mentions the presence of nitrates. Sodium nitrate is added as an additive during production and helps extend shelf life. Research has found that the intake of nitrates leads to an increased risk of cancer. Remember to choose the label that mentions, ‘No added nitrates’ or ‘Uncured,’ for a healthier product.
Hot dogs are not packed raw. They are cooked in casings (skins) before leaving the factory, making it safer for you to even eat it directly. By cooking it back home, you are just warming them up before consumption. Skinless hot dogs are those whose casings have been removed after cooking, and the ones with skins left untouched are tagged as ‘natural’ or ‘collagen’ casing. If you plan on boiling your hot dog, using a natural casing product gives you a much tender hot dog, and the juices start flowing after every bite. Skinless hot dogs tend to have more calories, are crunchier, and are best suited for grilling or griddling.
Organic and grass-fed mainly imply the animals that were used to make the hot dog. These animals are naturally fed and not forced with antibiotics or hormones, including nitrates and nitrites. Most top brands also utilize organic spices to make it a much healthier food for you. Further, they employ considerably less sodium content and go slim on the fat.
How to know if hot dogs have gone bad?
After you have packed them adequately, remember to refrigerate according to how you will be using them. Nevertheless, just like any other food item, there still is a chance that they can go bad, and thankfully you can figure it out pretty quickly. If your hot dogs are no longer fit for consumption, they will turn slimy and emit a sour smell similar to ammonia and you can also visibly see mold on their surface. Cut a tiny bit of the hot dog and taste it if you are still unsure. You will get a sour or unpleasant taste signifying that it has gone bad. Never swallow it; instead, spit it out and dispose of the entire pack instantly.
Eating hot dogs that have passed their safety date is very risky and attracts all kinds of bacteria. Since meat now becomes a breeding place for pathogens, there is a high chance that you will fall ill if you consume it in any case.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long can hot dogs be unrefrigerated?
Cooked or uncooked, they can be left unrefrigerated for a maximum of two hours. Beyond this limit, it is highly unsafe and should be discarded without any second thought.
2. How long do hot dogs last in the fridge?
If you’re wondering how long do hot dogs last in the refrigerator then most packs will have the expiry date mentioned on the label. If not, unopened hot dogs can last for up to two weeks in the fridge. If opened, using them within one week is recommended.
3. Can you freeze hot dogs?
Usually, you can. Freezing hot dogs will keep them available to eat for a long time. Depending on their quality, they can be stored for up to two to three months. Before placing them in a freezer, drain the liquid inside and seal them in a bag.
4. How long can hot dogs stay at room temperature?
You can leave hotdogs out in the open for about two hours. If the room temperature exceeds 90°F (32°C), one hour is a more prudent choice. Any duration exceeding this limit is hazardous for your health.