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This is how a hot dog is made (and yes, it’s as gross as you think)

How are hot dogs made (You know you're curious)

When it comes to hot dogs, most of us live in a pleasant bubble of deniability. This phallic little meat medley has had people looking the other way for over a century. Thanks to the high school trauma we all undoubtedly suffered after reading The Jungle, it’s a wonder we aren’t all vegetarians. There’s a reason we don’t want to know how hot dogs are made, or what hot dogs are made of. The truth is, though, hot dogs are delicious. And if we shove our fingers in our ears far enough when people start cracking mystery meat jokes, we don’t have to really think about “how the sausage gets made.” And then a video like this comes along.

Some people aren’t affected by the less-than-glamorous truth behind certain foods. Of these people, I am jealous. My brother, for example, once paused Super Size Me to leave his house and drive through McDonald’s. He returned home, unpaused the film, and enjoyed watching the rest of it while dipping his nuggets in sweet and sour. I applaud him, and the others who fall into this rather tenacious camp. But as for the rest of us, this video may be a little hard to stomach.

How It's Made: Hot Dogs

We will say that the hot dog making process does get high marks for sustainability, using parts of the (many) animals that would otherwise go to waste. Scraps and trimmings from beef, pork, and chicken are ground and combined to create a mostly waste-free food. That’s a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, the beauty stops there.

Once the ground meat is combined, “processed chicken trimmings” (we dare not ask) are added along with starches and seasonings. Give the mix a gargantuan churning with industrial-sized wheels, slosh in some water, and a shocking amount of corn syrup, and you get what the video actually calls…meat batter. The use of this word combined with the visuals shown at the moment it’s used is something that will undoubtedly haunt your nightmares in the years to come. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

From here, the horror eases a bit. The…meat batter…is cased in cellulose, linked, baked, removed from the casing, inspected, and packaged. And that’s how hot dogs are made.

Now that your morbid curiosity has been satisfied, go grab yourself a drink. We sure did.

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Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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