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How Hot Dogs Are Made Essay, Research Paper

How Hot Dogs Are Made: The Real Story

There are many tall tales about the way in which hot dogs are made. I remember in Biology class, my teacher told us that hotdogs are pig fetuses and other bi-products picked up from the floor and thrown into the grinder. To tell you the truth I have thought that ever since I first heard it. It wasn?t until I decided to do a little research on this before gruesome and now pleasant process.

First, specially selected meat trimmings of beef and/or pork (just like the meat you buy at the grocery store) is cut or ground into small pieces and placed in a mixer. Poultry hotdogs will obviously use poultry trimmings.

High speed, stainless steel choppers blend the meat, spices, ice chips and curing ingredients into a creamy, meaty batter. The batter is constantly weighed to insure that the correct amount of each ingredient is being used.

The mixture is then pumped into an automatic stuffer/linker machine, where it flows into casings. The most popular brands of hot dogs such as, Oscar Meyer or Ball Park use cellulose casings, which are later removed. Some wieners use natural casings, which remain on the wiener when it is eaten. These wieners are considered more “traditional,” and are usually made by smaller manufacturers and tend to cost a little more.

Once the casings are filled, they are linked into long strands of hot dogs and moved to the smokehouse, there they are fully cooked under controlled temperature and humidity conditions. They may be hardwood smoked for added color and flavor.

After passing through the smoke and cook cycle, the hot dogs are placed in cool water. If the hot dogs were made with cellulose casings, they are sent to an automatic peeler, where the cellulose “skin” is stripped away.

The individual links are then put through to the packaging equipment. When cellulose casings are used, the hot dogs are of exact size and weight. They are vacuum-sealed in plastic films to protect the freshness and flavor of the hot dog. Because the

casings on natural casings wieners are made from cleaned and processed animal intestines, they are of similar, but not exact, size. So my teacher was somewhat true!

Each package of hot dogs contains an ingredient statement, which lists everything that goes into it. These days, it is less common to use variety meats such as hearts in hot dogs. When they are added, the package will clearly state “with variety meats.” The particular variety meat used also will be listed in the ingredient statement. Nutrition labels also are included on hot dog packages, showing calories and nutrients per serving. It doesn?t sound as if though hotdogs are very healthy.

The entire process, from meat and poultry trimmings to being boxed and placed on the truck for delivery to your local grocery store, can be measured in a matter of hours. The process also is carefully watched and inspected for cleanliness and ingredients by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which I don?t know if it is a good thing or not. I am still unsure about hotdogs. The process does make me a little more pleased and safe when I bite into a hotdog at a local barbecue or baseball game. My mother has for as long as I can remember only bought all beef hotdogs. I agree strongly with that because the ?variety meats? on the other kids? labels scares me. I suggest you do the same!

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