Taste-Off: Reindeer Hot Dog vs. New York City Hot Dog

Staff Writer
We took a bite out of Christmas in this taste-off between reindeer hot dogs and New York City's classic "dirty water" dogs.

Reindeer Hot Dog

Like another recent taste-off, this installment was also holiday-inspired — just a little differently. Think Rudolph, but without the nose. That’s right, we went reindeer on this week’s challenge: reindeer hot dogs vs. New York City’s iconic vendor hot dogs.  We had to go as cold and north as the states would take us to get a hold of some reindeer products. Would the effort be worth it?  Or is the convenience of the corner dog king?


Indian Valley Meats' Alaskan Hot Dogs with Reindeer

  • Availability:  For purchase online, year-round.
  • Price: $3.69 for four hot dogs, with a hefty $31.50 shipping cost.
  • Ingredients: Pork and beef, reindeer, water, salt, hydrolyzed milk protein, nonfat dry milk, dextrose, glucone delta lactate, hydrolyzed plant protein, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium erythorbate, flavorings, sodium nitrate.
  • Cooking time: Precooked, just heat and eat.
  • Still hungry?: Indian Valley also makes breakfast sausages and Polish sausages with reindeer meat.
  • Fun fact: In equal amounts of beef and reindeer, beef has 25 grams of fat, while reindeer has only 2 grams.  Is reindeer the other red meat?
  • Taste: These dogs shirked their reins in this taste-off. Tasters came back for seconds, reporting better flavor and texture than the New York classics.  They were "a bit more gamy than a regular hot dog," and salty in a good way.

New York City's Street Vendor Hot Dogs (Sabrett)

  • Availability: Year-round, on practically every other corner in New York City.
  • Price: $1.00-$1.50
  • Ingredients: Beef, Water, Salt, Contains Less Than 2%= Sorbitol, Flavorings, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Hickory Smoke Flavor, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Nisin Preparation.
  • Cooking time: Ready to eat, right there from the guy on the street.
  • Still hungry?: Get another, or go for a soft pretzel.
  • Fun fact: According to Ed Levine in The New York Times, "the [hot dogs] served at Katz's Delicatessen, Gray's Papaya, Papaya King, the legendary Dominick's truck in Queens" and hot dog carts all use the same dog.
  • Taste:  The Daily Meal's expert tasters (many of who are fanatical New Yorkers) were surprised by this dog. The general consensus was that "it tastes more like reindeer than the reindeer one."