What Fans Should Know About Five Guys' Hot Dogs

Five Guys Burgers and Fries is known for a few things, but one is its lean menu. In fact, you might think Five Guys only sells burgers and fries, but you would be forgetting one of the most important items on the menu: the humble hot dog. Real Five Guys fans know that you don't need to look any further than any of the chain's 1,700-plus locations for a quality hot dog.

We've had a good deal of experience trying fast food hot dogs over the years. While some places have tastier options than others, we've found the Five Guys dog to be one of our consistent go-to's when in a pinch. But what is there to know about this chain's hot dog that isn't common knowledge?

When addressing health concerns, we used the nutritional information and pricing on Five Guys' website as well as the opinions of medical experts around the web. Pricing for Five Guys and its competitors was determined by comparing those listed at New York City locations of these fast food restaurants. 

Five Guys' hot dogs are all beef

Five Guys has got the beef. Any burger lover knows this about the chain's perfectly juicy burgers, but they might not be as aware of the meat content in a Five Guys hot dog. 

Is it all beef or does it contain pork? This is the first question on a lot of people's minds when it comes to hot dogs. Many carnivores can't or choose not to eat pork for a number of reasons, including religious beliefs. Pork is neither Kosher or Halal in any of its various forms. If you're a true fan you know the burger joint sells an all-beef hot dog served on a warm bun. Learning this, you might ask yourself now what are the benefits of all beef hot dogs?

In terms of nutrition, on average beef hot dogs tend to have fewer calories and less fat content than hot dogs made with pork products. If you are looking for the healthiest hot dog, though, there are more important ingredients to be on the lookout for. Fillers, binders, artificial ingredients, or preservatives that could be potentially harmful to your health are found in most hot dogs. These can include dextrose, maltodextrin, MSG, and various phosphates. The hot dogs at Five Guys contain very few of these artificial ingredients, but they are heavy on salty preservatives that include sodium erythorbate and sodium diacetate.

They are not necessarily Kosher

In the past, there has been some confusion regarding the Kosher status of Five Guys' hot dogs. In the state of Washington, the company even got into legal hot water by violating the Sale of Kosher Food Products Act of 1985, which forbids selling "Kosher style" food that isn't Kosher according to that state. So, although Five Guys sells Kosher-style hot dogs, they are not fit for consumption for those keeping Kosher. Why is this?

By definition, Kosher meat is beef or poultry that has been slaughtered according to Jewish law and has been certified as Kosher. If you see an item with a K within a star on a package, you know it is certified as Kosher by Star-K. This dietary certification agency is one of the most commonly seen and recognized in North America. In order to become Star-K verified, a product must receive certification from an accredited rabbinic organization. 

Five Guys hot dogs are not Kosher by this standard and are not allowed to advertise as such, thus Kosher style. This is a loose colloquial term that, when applied to hot dogs, basically just means they do not contain any pork. Another reason Five Guys dogs don't meet this standard is that they are cooked on the same grill as the non-Kosher burgers, which is a non-starter for those keeping Kosher. 

The chain's hot dogs are butterflied and grilled

If you've ever tried a Five Guys hot dog, this is the first thing you'll notice: instead of getting a plump, cylindrical sausage on a bun, Five Guys hot dogs are split in half before they are grilled. This technique, known as butterflying, is polarizing — as some people prefer their hot dogs to be served whole and unmodified — but we would argue it is what gives Five Guys Hot Dogs their unique edge.

The obvious advantage of this style of preparation is that your hot dog will not roll out of your bun. Instead, the meat lays flat, making sure you can get all of the condiments covering your dog in each and every bite. It means less mess if you happen to be a messy eater. But this isn't the actual reason Five Guys grills its hot dogs this way. The controversial split hot dog is a staple at Five Guys and allows the dogs to cook more evenly. This way, Five Guys can ensure the same cook across all its hot dogs and deliver a consistent product. 

All toppings are free

If you've gone into a Five Guys store before, you've seen the menu board. At the bottom is a list of all the toppings you can get on your sandwich. The best part is that none of them, even if you choose to get all of them, will cost you a cent. All the basics like relish, ketchup, mustard, and raw onions are covered in the price of the dog, as are the more unique toppings on the menu like jalapeños, grilled mushrooms, and A1 Steak Sauce. Free toppings are a known rule of the Five Guys burger, but if you hadn't guessed already it totally applies to hot dogs as well. 

When it comes to toppings, there are other Five Guys toppings freebies you should know about. As revealed to the Manchester Evening News in 2019 by Five Guys staff members, you can actually get extra cheese and bacon for no additional cost. As long as you've already ordered a cheese dog, for example, you can ask for extra cheese and Five Guys should put that slice on for free. If you order a bacon dog, the same deal applies for extra bacon. 

The cheese dogs are topped with American cheese slices

Five Guys cheese dogs are topped with a slice of American-style cheese. This might sound strange, but consider the operation. Five Guys primarily sells burgers from a small menu. No special items or limited-time deals here. So it makes perfect sense that its cheese supply would be limited. You only need one type of sliced cheese for the burger and when it comes to hot dogs, cheese is an afterthought. All this to say if you go into Five Guys expecting a cheese dog to be a goopy affair, you might want to adjust your expectations. 

Getting a slice of American instead of a creamy nacho cheese sauce is disappointing for some. Although, on the flip side there are plenty of us who don't prefer nacho cheese dip. Is a cold slice of American cheese the ideal substitute we had in mind? Certainly not, but beggars can't be choosers. And when it comes down to it, you always have the choice of not getting cheese on your hot dog.

Five Guys' hot dogs are not very healthy

You don't go to Five Guys for a healthy meal, that's just a fact. However, if you are looking for a better alternative to a double beef patty (yes, Five Guys' standard burger comes with two patties) the hot dogs won't do as much good as you might think. What you are saving in calories, you are making up for with just as many carbs, fats, and an even higher level of sodium than the chain's cheeseburgers. 

Like most frankfurters, the hot dogs from Five Guys are super high in sodium. The regular Five Guys kosher-style hot dog contains 1,130mg of sodium, about half of your maximum daily recommended intake according to the American Heart Association. If you are going whole hog and adding bacon and cheese, that's almost an entire day's worth of sodium in about 670 calories. 

This overwhelming level of sodium can be attributed to the five different types of salt that are used in the preparation of these hot dogs. In addition to sodium chloride (normal salt), Five Guys uses sodium lactate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite in its dogs. 

They are more expensive than the competition

If there is a downside to the Five Guys hot dog that isn't health-related, it would have to be the price. Over the past few years, we've seen fast food prices skyrocket, but at least in recent years, Five Guys' prices have been on the more expensive side for a fast-casual business. In 2019, the price of a Five Guys hot dog in New York City was $4.81. This cost almost twice as much as the next most expensive dog the writer tried, which was Dairy Queen's at $2.56. But even in the time since that post, more fast food chains serving hot dogs have come to our attention.

When comparing fast food hot dog prices on Seamless in NYC where I'm located, Five Guys is still the most expensive. When looking at Shake Shack, the next most expensive competitor, we found that it trails behind at $5.19 for a hot dog, versus Five Guys' admittedly pricey $8.51. So while you can pile up all those free toppings as high as you like, you are kind of paying for them in the long run. Our advice is to get the most out of your order that you can. So if you're paying for a cheese or bacon dog, don't forget to try our aforementioned hack for extra goodies.

The chain's offerings are high quality

In the end, the thing that matters most is quality and that's what you are getting at Five Guys, even if that means you end up paying for the difference. You get what you pay for, though, since this is one of the best fast food hot dogs out there. For the health reasons highlighted above we wouldn't recommend making this meal a frequent occurrence, but it can be a fantastic option for a cheat day. 

For what it's worth, the snap and caramelization on a Five Guys hot dog are unmatched by other fast food joints. We can't deny that the split hot dog method does wonders for flavors. If you're getting cheese or bacon on that sucker, it makes for a consistent eating experience. Since the hot dog lays flat, toppings can be spread evenly and, this way, you get a little bit of everything you ordered in each delectable bite. Now doesn't that just sound like heaven?