Do you like hotdogs? There is a high likelihood that you do since it is a favorite in many places around the world. Not only are hotdogs an incredible fast food option, but they are also quite the delicacy.
As amazing as they are, it is important to ensure that we practice food safety while consuming them. Thus, the question: is it safe to eat cold hot dogs?
Hotdogs, or frankfurters as they are otherwise referred to, can only be eaten cold if they are pre-cooked. You should always check the label for those marked “ready to eat” or “precooked.”
If the hotdog is marked “uncured,” “partially cooked,” or “raw,” then you should heat it before eating. Also, leftover hotdogs can be eaten cold only if they are stored under the correct conditions.
How To Tell If It Is Safe To Eat A Cold Hot Dog
At times, we do not have the time to prepare a meal, or we are just having a lazy day. During such times, convenience foods such as hotdogs come in handy.
It is even better when you can just eat it straight from the package. For you to safely enjoy such convenience, you should be able to determine whether a hot dog is safe to consume while cold.
The easiest way to tell if it is safe to eat a cold hot dog is by checking its label. The label has all the relevant information about the hotdog.
It indicates whether the hotdog is already precooked and ready to eat or if some cooking needs to be done before eating it. It also provides instructions on how to properly store, cook, and handle the hotdog, as well as the list of ingredients and nutrient content.
If the hotdog is precooked, then it is safe to eat it cold. This also applies if it is home-cooked and stored appropriately. Once the hotdog has been cooked, you can consume it at any temperature.
If the hotdog is only partially cooked or completely raw, refrain from consuming it when cold. It may contain bacteria that cause food poisoning, which may be fatal if you have underlying health conditions.
Can You Eat Precooked Hot Dogs Cold?
Absolutely. As long as a hot dog is precooked, you can eat it at whichever temperature, warm or cold.
If it is straight from the package, it is still safe to consume – you just have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on safe handling and proper storage.
If the hot dog has been stored under the stipulated temperature, you can consume it without necessarily reheating it. Even so, it is best to refrain from cold hot dogs altogether if you have a high-risk health condition or are elderly, too young, or pregnant.
Essentially, you should observe general food safety measures as with any other food. Keep them refrigerated as soon as you get home from the grocery store, and keep tabs on the expiry date.
For leftover hotdogs, they are safe to consume if they are refrigerated within two hours of cooking.
What Happens If You Eat Cold Uncooked Hot Dogs?
Eating uncooked or uncured hotdogs will lead to food poisoning. Hotdogs are made of different types of meat, such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, and chicken, all of which should be properly cooked before consumption.
Thus, a hotdog is usually found in the deli meat section of the supermarket.
Raw hotdogs cause food poisoning because they contain a bacteria called listeria. Listeria is adaptive and can live in water, soil, dust, and animal stool.
It is commonly found in unprocessed meats and thrives in cold temperatures. Hence, many people prefer eating heated hotdogs.
When a healthy person consumes a cold hotdog with listeria, they will suffer food poisoning symptoms for a couple of days. However, it can be life-threatening if you are pregnant, elderly, or have high-risk health conditions.
Some symptoms of food poisoning caused by listeria include diarrhea, fever, nausea, and aching muscles. If you notice these symptoms soon after eating a cold hotdog, seek immediate medical care.
Can You Reheat Hot Dogs?
If you cooked your hot dogs well, stored them properly, and observed food safety measures, you do not necessarily have to heat them to eat them. Still, if you wish to have them warm, then you can totally reheat your leftover hot dogs. There are two ways you can reheat leftover hotdogs:
Use of a microwave: Wrap the hotdog in a paper towel and set it up in the microwave. Heat it for 30 seconds or until it is warm enough. If it develops split edges, it means it is overcooked, so be careful not to reach that point.
Use of an oven: When you have several hotdogs to reheat, the oven is the most efficient way of warming them. Cover them in foil and put them in an oven that is preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, bake them for five minutes until they change color slightly.
There are several other mistakes that people commit while handling hotdogs, and this video presents some of them:
How To Properly Store Cold Hotdogs
The rule of thumb is you should store all hotdogs in a fridge regardless of whether they are fully cooked, partially cooked, or raw. You should keep them chilled both before cooking and after. Leaving hotdogs at room temperature makes them go bad, rendering them unsafe for consumption.
When shopping for groceries at the store, you want to minimize the time the hotdogs are out of the refrigerator. So, pick them as the last items before leaving the store, and refrigerate them as soon as you get home.
As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you should not store your meat between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, as that is the breeding environment for bacteria. So, it is best to store your hot dogs below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
After cooking, you are recommended to refrigerate the leftovers within at least two hours. The leftover hotdogs should have cooled down to room temperature to avoid warming up the fridge. Put them in an airtight container before refrigerating them. For best storage arrangements, check the label for instructions.
How Do You Deal with Uncooked Hotdogs?
As we have already established, uncooked hotdogs are not fit for consumption. You have to cook them first before they are safe enough to eat. Most of the hotdogs come with cooking instructions, as different meats have different heat requirements.
Generally, though, you should cook hotdogs to 160 degrees Fahrenheit if they are made of beef, pork, or veal. Chicken and turkey hotdogs require 165 degrees Fahrenheit to cook well.
Once cooked, it is best to keep the hotdogs hot until it is time to serve. If you are grilling them outdoors, keep them warm by setting them next to the grill rack. If you are cooking them indoors, keep them in the oven at a low-temperature setting until it’s time to serve them.
You can eat cold hotdogs if they are pre-cooked. If the hotdogs are store-bought, check the label to determine whether they are ready to eat. On the other hand, if they are pre-cooked, then it is okay to eat them straight from the package.
If they are leftovers, it is safe to eat them if they are handled and refrigerated appropriately. If a hotdog is marked “raw,” “uncured,” or “partially cooked,” do not eat it.