This is something that many people wonder about – Can you eat hot dogs without cooking them?
Maybe you have bought hot dogs in a can or frozen hot dogs. If you simply cannot wait until you cook them, you may wonder how safe – or unsafe – it is to eat them right away.
Basically, hot dogs sold in stores are already pre-cooked. But at the same time, it is not recommended to eat them raw. Why? That’s what we will talk about today, so keep reading to learn more!
Can You Eat Hot Dogs Without Cooking Them?
Many people are fond of eating hot dogs. There are simply so many ways to eat this food – whether you lightly char it in your grill or boil it, you can delight in its appetizing flavor. There are also some that dip hot dogs in a cornmeal batter before deep-frying for that crispy texture.
However, what if you have no time to cook it? Should you eat it as is? Or are there some health concerns that may come along?
Eating hot dogs raw is thought of as not entirely bad. After all, these have already been precooked. But at the same time, it is nothing but a misconception.
In fact, many people assume that hot dogs are cooked already. Yet, it is not the complete truth. Untreated hot dogs can actually make people sick, which is why it is best to cook them first.
Why You Should Not Eat Hot Dogs Raw
There are some foods you can eat raw. But we would like to point out that hot dogs are not one of them. While these foods are pre-cooked, there is still a high possibility that hot dogs are contaminated with pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes. This is a type of bacterium that causes listeriosis. This usually happens during the processing and packaging stage. Thus, eating hot dogs as is can increase your chances of getting this bacteria in your body and suffer from food poisoning.
But this is not just with hot dogs. Any foods that are ready-to-eat should never be consumed straight out of the package unless reheating them first. There is Listeria even at factories, and this renders ready-to-eat meals unhealthy to be consumed without cooking them. Hence, it is not advisable to consume hot dogs without reheating them first.
Then, you may be wondering how Listeria may be present in these factories when they perform food safety procedures. But this is not the fault of the factory. Instead, there are some bacteria that are simply resilient and survive well. One of these is the Listeria monocytogenes.
This bacterium is commonly found in an animal’s intestinal tract. Therefore, processed meats commonly have this issue. Even when you put it in a refrigerator, the bacteria can still continue to grow, albeit slowly.
According to the USDA, luncheon meats, dry or fermented sausages, and hot dogs are at risk of having Listeria in them. The conditions are perfect breeding grounds for such bacteria. No one should take this bacteria lightly since these are absolutely dangerous and can lead to infections.
It is worth noting that over 1500 people suffer from listeriosis every year and at least 16 percent of them die. With that being said, it is only smart and practical to cook hot dogs well before eating them to stay on the safe side.
How To Consume Hot Dogs Safely
It is important to keep in mind that hot dogs are considered a highly perishable type of food. This is why it is never ideal to let it stay at room temperature for over an hour. You need to put it straight in the refrigerator upon purchase to keep it free from bacteria.
Next, even if you are aware that the food has been pre-cooked, it is important to consider it as uncooked. There is a possibility that it is contaminated with bacteria such as Listeria. Therefore, be sure that you wash your hands well with soapy water before you handle hot dogs straight out of the package.
Additionally, you need to wash your cutlery and cutting board well. Anything that has come into contact with this food must be cleaned well to prevent the risk of contamination. Then, when it comes to storing hot dogs, you should place this food in the coldest portion of your refrigerator. Avoid any juice from it touching other foods in the refrigerator – especially foods that you consume raw such as your salad greens and fruits.
When reheating hot dogs, make it a point that you do so until they are perfectly hot and steaming. You may even boil it for about 5 minutes if you have refrigerated it. In the case of frozen hot dogs, it is best to cook for up to 10 minutes.
If you like to grill your hot dogs, do so until they are lightly charred and golden brown. Never grill it too quickly as it is still not safe to consume.
We also recommend that you ensure an internal temperature of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit – just to be certain that the hot dog is completely cooked. Otherwise, eating it still slightly cool may mean there is still the presence of bacteria in it, which makes it risky to consume.
So, can you eat hot dogs without cooking them? Absolutely not. There are many health risks linked with eating raw or uncooked hot dogs such as food poisoning and listeriosis. Many people die from these conditions, so it is best not to put yourself in this position by consuming raw hot dogs. There are many ways to cook them such as by boiling, grilling, or frying. But whatever method you choose, make sure it is piping hot to ensure there is no bacteria present anymore.