Today is National Hot Dog Day, which is almost certainly not an actual holiday. But that won’t stop brands from bombarding you with content and wishing the world a happy congealed meat mixture bonanza.
But what about the vegetarians? Are we mock chopped liver?
To ease the pain we all surely must be feeling, I’ve decided to list the very best fake meat hot dog products available. We live in a stupid, capitalist world–so why not indulge your materialist cravings by celebrating this obnoxious, PR-invented holiday and buying yourself a fake wiener?
First things first: This list is absolutely scientifically sound. As an objective journalist, who grew up a vegetarian–being essentially force-fed a mock meat product multiple times a week–I feel confident in my ability to rate the current offerings. I also consulted my colleagues, and I may or may not have heeded their advice. With all of this, I present to you an absolutely correct, tirelessly researched, and surely exhaustive list of the top five fake meat hot dog products that are nationally available. Don’t @ me.
- Field Roast: Despite its usually annoyingly high price, Field Roast will always be my one and only. These sausages are truly versatile, and come in a variety of generally great flavors. My favorite is chipotle, which packs a heat that is truly hard to find in nationally available products. You can use these fake meat logs in anything, my friend! Put them on the grill! Slice them up and make a salad. If you’re feeling sinister, make a hotdog sandwich. (See? A hotdog can be a sandwich!) Field Roast has figured out how to make fake meat products that don’t taste like Fake Meat. Instead, they are balanced and flavorful–and come with the texture one would expect from a wiener-like knob. Just be careful when preparing–some of them are caked in oily sauce and can get messy when opening.
- Beyond Meat: I’ll be honest: I’ve never tried the Beyond Meat sausage. But I’ve been assured by colleagues that they are the best you can buy right now. In fact, one colleague even insisted that these dogs are better than Field Roast. Nay, dear colleague, this is my list. And while I trust your intuition–and many people have said they are the best and most real brat-like sausage you can find–I ultimately get to choose. And so, Beyond Meat gets number two. I reserve the right to change this ranking once I try these products.
- Tofurky: Tofurky is one of the older stalwarts in the fake meat scene. I’ve eaten its many products for truly decades. While I maintain that Tofurky’s cold cuts are wonderful additions to any sandwich, the company’s brats are also totally fine. While I enjoy the Italian sausages, others I chatted with pointed to the beer brats. Overall, the products are solid because they have a passable hotdog-like consistency, and a good enough flavor that’s only slightly faux-meat-y. Over the years, however, new entrants have figured out recipes that better hide the whole fake-animal-flavor thing.
- Smart Dog Jumbos: I’m going to be very specific with this one. Smart Dog Jumbos are a totally okay choice if you’re having a barbecue and want something that attempts to mimic street-vendor hot dogs. The smaller, normal Smart Dogs–which are probably the exact same recipe but just a bit more petite–are the inferior choice. Smart Dogs, I admit, are rubberier than the rest, and if you cook them incorrectly, their synthetic qualities only become heightened. But if you put them on a grill–or, better yet, on a skillet with a bit of oil–Smart Dog Jumbos present a totally acceptable hotdog simulacrum.
- Morningstar Farm: For this last one, I’m going to go a little outside the “hotdog” category and point to the company that has been with me through thick and thin. Morningstar Farm’s products–specifically its breakfast links and corndogs–are a vegetarian staple for the ages. The breakfast links have been my favorite meat-adjacent link for as long as I can remember. They’re good on their own or in a breakfast sandwich. Here’s a sad truth: When I was a wee tot of about 5 years old, I used to sneak into the kitchen and eat the links still uncooked and frozen. And if you’re ever looking for quick unhealthy snack, pop the corndogs in the microwave and you’ll soon feel like you’ve been transported to the days of yore, when corn dogs were a staple of the American diet.
So there you have it. The final, definitive list of the best veggie dogs. While your friends boast about the meat-laced cylinders they ingest today, you can quietly smile and know that you’re not alone on this totally pointless holiday.