I’ve been looking for ways to add more animal products such as meat and dairy to my prepper pantry. For some reason, hot dogs have been on my mind as something to preserve, so I decided to give dehydrating hot dogs a try. If, like me, you want to add another shelf-stable meat option to your prepper pantry, and want to do it without canning, dehydrating hot dogs is something you might want to try.
Not only are dehydrated hot dogs shelf-stable, they’re also incredibly easy to make at home using a dehydrator. In this article, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of dehydrating hot dogs so that you can enjoy this tasty treat anytime, anywhere. If you want to learn how to dehydrate hot dogs, you’re definitely in the right place!
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Choosing the Right Hot Dogs for Dehydration
Technically, you can dehydrate any type of hot dog. Some people are afraid to dehydrate higher fat foods, but as long as you dehydrate the food completely, and store it properly, it can be shelf stable for a long time, perhaps even years.
Having said that, since there are lower fat hot dogs, unless you land a deal on a case of higher fat hot dogs or simply have some in your freezer you want to dehydrate, you may as well chose some with a lower fat content.
When I decided that I wanted to give dehydrating hot dogs a try, I considered the following three types:
- Oscar Mayer Angus Bun Length Hot Dogs
- Nathan’s Skinless Hot Dogs
- Oscar Mayer Turkey Original Hotdogs
Let’s take a look at how they compare when it comes to fat content.
|Type of Hot Dog||Package Weight||# of Hot Dogs||Fat Grams Per Hot Dog||Grams of Fat per Ounce|
|Oscar Mayer Angus||15 ounces||8||15||8 grams of fat per oz|
|Nathan’s Skinless||12 ounces||8||13||8.66 grams of fat per oz.|
|Oscar Mayer Turkey||16 ounces||10||7||4.38 grams of fat per oz.|
The Formula for Calculating Fat Grams per Ounce in Hot Dogs
The formula that I used to figure out the grams of fat per ounce is dividing the number of hot dogs by the number of ounces to get the weight of each individual hot dog. For instance, the Oscar Mayer Angus hot dogs were a total weight of 15 ounces, and there are 8 hot dogs in the package, which means each hot dog weighs 1.875 ounces. I then divided the number of fat grams per hot dog by the number of ounces, to get the grams of fat per ounce.
You obviously don’t need to be this precise if you don’t want to, but doing the math gives you a more accurate idea of the fat ratio, more than just looking at the grams of fat per hot dog. As an example, at first glance, the Nathan’s Hot Dogs have less fat than the Oscar Mayer Angus hot dogs. But each of the Nathan’s hot dogs weigh a bit less, which makes the number of grams of fat per hot dog a bit deceiving.
As I suspected, turkey hot dogs have less fat than any of the other option, so I decided to go with the Oscar Mayer Turkey hot dogs.
Pro tip: You can find the nutritional information on the packages on the website before you go shopping. No need to try to calculate this in the grocery store!
Preparing Hot Dogs for Dehydrating
When it comes to dehydrating hot dogs, the prep work is super easy! While it may have been unnecessary, I first rinsed the hot dogs and patted them dry with a flour sack towel (Amazon). I’ve come to love flour sack towels because they’re reusable and lint free, which makes them a perfect tool for my various food projects.
I then sliced the hot dogs. I recommend slicing them in slices that are between 1/4″ and 1/3″ thick.
If you want them super thin, you can use a mandolin, such as these that you’ll find on Amazon. A mandolin will also help ensure that each hot dog is sliced the same thickness, and can make the job a bit faster.
But since hot dogs are pretty easy to slice, and since I wasn’t concerned about the slices being super thin or exactly the same thickness, I just used a knife. It was pretty easy to slice two hot dogs at a time and didn’t take much time to get the job done. If I was dehydrating a larger amount of hot dogs, then I probably would have pulled out my mandolin.
Placing Hot Dogs on Dehydrator Trays
Once you’ve sliced the hot dogs, you’ll want to lay them out on your dehydrator trays. The number of hot dogs you plan to dehydrate and the number and size of your dehydrator trays will determine how closely you’ll place the hot dogs on the trays. If at all possible, don’t overlap any of the hot dogs. If you do have to overlap them a bit, plan to space them out as the hot dogs shrink in the dehydration process.
The bottom line is that you want to ensure that they dehydrate all the way through, and the best way to do that is to dehydrate them in a single layer.
I ended up using three dehydrator trays for one pound of hot dogs, and as you can see in the photo above, there was plenty of space between each of the hot dog slices. Because of that, I’m sure that in my Nesco dehydrator (Amazon), I could dehydrate two pounds of hot dogs on five trays. I’d just have to place them a bit closer together.
Best Temperature for Dehydrating Hot Dogs
When dehydrating hot dogs, I recommend a temperature of anywhere between 135 degrees and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. My Nesco dehydrator (Amazon) has a maximum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. I considered dehydrating the hot dogs at 160 degrees Fahrenheit because that is recommended temperature for meat on my dehydrator. Also, the hot dogs would dehydrate faster at a higher temperature.
But since I wanted to be 100% certain that the middle of the hot dogs dehydrated completely, I decided to set the temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Long it Takes to Dehydrate Hot Dogs
Since this was my first time dehydrating hot dogs, I wasn’t sure how long it would take. I set a timer on my phone to check the hot dogs every 2 hours.
After 2 Hours in the Dehydrator
After two hours in the dehydrator, as expected, the hot dogs weren’t anywhere near being dehydrated. They had darkened just slightly in color, and had shrunk a little, but were still very soft and moist.
The above photo is a close up view of the hot dogs after two hours in the dehydrator. I rotated the trays, but the bottom one looked very similar to the top one, so it may not have been 100% necessary. This may be because I was only using three trays, so even the bottom tray wasn’t too far away from the heat source.
After 4 Hours in the Dehydrator
After four hours in the dehydrator, the hot dogs continued to darken and had shriveled up a little. They were still very soft in the middle, but I noticed the inside of the hot slices were shrinking up more.
In the image above, you may be able to see that the edges of the hot dog were higher than the inside.
I used my trusty flour sack towels (Amazon) to blot off the small beads of fat that were forming on the surface of the hot dogs. I then rotated the trays, and place everything back into the dehydrator.
After 6 Hours in the Dehydrator
I really didn’t see much visable difference between the hot dogs after they’d been in the dehydrator for six hours, compared to when I checked them after four hours.
The main way you can see a difference is that if you compare the photo of the entire tray of dehydrated hot dogs after four hours with the photo of the dehydrated hot dogs after six hours in the dehydrator, you can see that there is a bit more space between the hot dogs, so it’s clear that they’ve shrunk up a bit more. Also, the longer I dehydrate the hot dogs, the darker in color they get.
I again blotted off the little beads of grease and put the hot dogs back into the dehydrator.
After 8 Hours in the Dehydrator
After eight hours in the dehydrator, the hot dogs were completely dehydrated. You can see how dark they look, and how much they’ve shrunk down.
To test for dryness, I tore one of the hot dog slices in half and found that it was dry in the center.
The Weight and Volume of Hot Dogs After Dehydrating
One of the things I love most about dehydrating is how much the dehydrated food shrinks down in both size and weight. From the image above, you can see that I started with about four cups of sliced hot dogs and ended up with about 1 1/2 cups.
Also, I started with one pound of hot dogs and after dehydrating them, the weight was down from 16 ounces to 6.53 ounces.
How to Store Dehydrated Hot Dogs
Now let’s get into how to store dehydrated hot dogs.
Since fat can go rancid in storage, I started off by blotting the fat off the hot dogs. I again pulled out a flour sack towel for this. I started off by placing one tray’s worth of hot dog slices on the flour sack towel. I then folded the towel over the hot dogs, and pressed down so that the towels would absorb some of the fat.
Vacuum Sealing Hot Dogs in Mason Jars
Vacuum sealing is a great way to extend the shelf life of any of your dehydrated food, but it’s absolutely essential for meat and dairy.
If you are unable to vacuum seal the dehydrated hot dogs, it’s best to store them in the freezer. Having said that, if you plan to take them on a camping or hiking trip, they’ll be just fine without being vacuum sealed for up to a couple of weeks.
To vacuum seal the hot dogs, you’ll either need mason jars, or mylar bags, and a vacuum sealer. If you use mason jars, you’ll also need a jar attachment such as what you see in the image above. Here are some options available on Amazon:
Note that I was able to easily fit one pound of hot dogs into a pint-sized mason jar.
How to Rehydrate Dehydrated Hot Dogs
When it comes to rehydrating hot dogs, here’s what I tried and the results.
First, I put some hot water over the hot dogs, and once they came to room temperature, I stuck them in the fridge over night. Soaking them overnight was more of an issue of it being time for bed, than thinking that was the best thing to do. I noticed that the hot dogs started to plump up right way.
Also, when I got up the next morning, the previously dehydrated hot dogs looked very similar to fresh. The dark color surprisingly went away, and more or less, the hot dogs looked like their original color. I ate one of the rehydrated slices, and it was similar to fresh, but had a bit more chew to it.
It’s possible that I dehydrated them longer than ideal, though I would probably do the same in the future, since I prefer to over, rather than under dehydrate my food. I take this stance because when dehydrating food for long term storage, you want to remove as much moisture as possible.
Simmering Dehydrating Hot Dogs
As an experiment, I then put the rehydrated hot dogs into a saucepan and simmered them for 15 minutes, to see if cooking them would improve the texture even more. It did help some, but when we did our taste test, we noticed they seemed a little bland.
Improving the Taste of Rehydrated Hot Dogs
My husband suggested that we try frying them in a bit of oil, and that did improve the taste, but something was still lacking. He joked that we should put some mustard on the dogs, and even though he was joking, we tried that, and the rehydrated hot dogs finally had that hot dog taste we’re used to.
When it comes right down to it, hot dogs are often paired with other food such as mustard, onions, relish, chili, beans, and so on. When paired with these other foods, I’d say that dehydrated hot dogs are worth adding to your prepper pantry.
The Verdict on Dehydrating Hot Dogs
Dehydrating hot dogs was super easy, and the results were decent.
Overall, the dehydrated hot dogs weren’t my favorite thing that I’ve dehydrated, but especially when I added a bit of mustard to the rehydrated hot dogs, they’ll definitely work if you’re craving hot dogs.
Since I’m trying to add as much meat and dairy products to my prepper pantry as I possibly can, I think that this is a worthwhile effort, and I recommend at least giving it a try.
Want More Dehydrated Meat?
If you’d like to learn more about dehydrating meat, be sure to check out these articles:
Want Some Dehydrated Cheese with Your Hot Dogs?
I love adding cheese to my hot dogs, as well as other food. If you also enjoy cheese and want to add some to your prepper pantry, be sure to check out the articles below.