Here at WVHD, we are about all things hot dog. Sure, we’re partial to the West Virginia slaw dog, but our love extends beyond that to include Chicago-style, New York-style, and more. Put pineapples on your dog? Chipotle? Reindeer meat? We try to offer something for everyone.
So today we’re going to talk about something that–for many dog-lovers–ranks as a travesty just slightly north of putting ketchup on a red-hot: meatless hot dogs.
While we agree that the idea of a vegetarian wiener tends to quickly lead to the question “What’s the point?”, the fact is that there are any number of reasons that a person might not be able to enjoy the pervasive yumminess of a good all-beef frank from time to time. Sure, we may consider it a poor substitute, but if that’s all you’ve got, you make the most of it, right?
So in fairness to the vegetable-tarians among us, here is our completely unbiased (no, seriously: that’s why we aren’t linking to the individual brands here) list of the very best fake meat hot dog products available.
- Beyond Meat. As a self-proclaimed leader in plant-based meat alternatives, Beyond Meat claims to have “revolutionized how consumers get their protein.” Its Beyond Sausage product claims to offer the juicy, satisfying taste and texture of pork sausage but with more protein, less fat, calories and sodium. Created from a unique blend of pea, fava bean, and rice protein, the product is designed to mimic the unique texture of pork sausage. Trace amounts of beet provides a reddish coloring, and coconut oil ensures juiciness. They even wrap their products in 100% plant-based casing derived from algae.
- Field Roast. Grilled on the BBQ, sautéed in the pan, steamed in the oven, or microwaved in a flash, the delicious flavor or Field Roast’s old world-style vegetarian frankfurters is created using the simple tenets of good cooking, real ingredients, and its own blend of fresh garlic and onions and a traditional blend of spices. On the high end of the price scale, Field Roast sausages come in a variety of tasty versions and are truly versatile. Balanced, savory, and perfectly textured. Field Roast sausages are fake meat that doesn’t taste like fake meat.
- Morningstar Farms. A delicious meat-free addition to any balanced diet, Morningstar Farms Veggie Dogs are plant-based and feature a burst of flavor in every bite. With 94% less fat than the leading chicken and pork hot dogs. With a feel and taste closer to hot dogs than to sausages or brats, these are probably not the best veggie dogs for grilling: because they come frozen, the amount of cook time required to get them hot all the way through can leave them a trifle rubbery. If you are looking to grill, try microwaving them in a bowl full of water for one minute before slapping them on the flame.
- Smart Dogs. Speaking of rubbery … Lightlife meat-free Smart Dogs are high in protein and pack a flavorful punch, but the “regular-sized” dogs can be a little lame in the texture department; we highly recommend the “Jumbo” versions, which–as a bonus–also fills out your bun better. Refrigerated-fresh, Certified Vegan, and Non-GMO Project Verified, Smart Dogs generally outsells other brands of meatless franks, and actually have one of the best flavor/texture combinations available.
- Tofurky is one of the original players in the faux-meat game. Of the available varieties, the beer-brat is one of the most flavorful; it’s not the same as biting into a juicy, greasy beer brat, but it does have a nice meat-like texture and taste. These dogs are lots of fun on the grill or roasted over an open fire, and are made from “…microbrewed Full Sail Ale and real tofu, not Hexane Extracted Soy Isolates or powder.” Apparently that’s important.
Like we said, it’s hard to imagine any meatless frank having the full satisfying flavor of the real thing, but if you’re stuck on a vegetarian diet, any of these dogs could at least give you an approximate experience. In a world where–more and more–everything is automatic and machines do all of our thinking, it’s nice to know that some decisions still have less to do with rampant IoA and more to do with simple YUM.