Hot Dogs vs. Brats


dog or bratwurst?They’re both sausages, go on a bun, and taste delicious with ketchup and mustard, but they are not the same. The debate continues about which is better – the hot dog or the bratwurst. For some of you, you may be asking yourself “what is the difference?”

The History

The first documented tale of the bratwurst dates back to the early 1300s in Nuremberg, Germany. Immigrants brought the sausage recipe to the United States, where it became popular in the 1920s in Wisconsin. The city of Madison has since been named the “brat capital of the world.” Every Memorial Day it plays host to the Brat Fest (1).

The hot dog also has its roots in Germany. The city of Frankfurt takes credit, dating back to 1487. However, this skinny sausage hit a homerun in America during its juicy entrance in the 1860s. In 1893, sausages became the accepted baseball park grub (2).

The Meat

History lesson over, let’s move on to the meaty facts. Hot dogs can be made with most any meat. The question is – do you really want to know? Most commonly, hot dogs are made with pork, beef, or chicken. Bratwurst is made with pork, beef, or veal and the meat is typically fresher and more pure.

By definition, a sausage is “a spicy ground meat that is usually stuffed into a narrow tube of skin or made into a flat cake” (3). Both hot dogs and bratwurst fall into this category, but that still leaves a lot of elbow room for variation. Hot dogs are emulsified into a paste, making them smoother. Brats are less finely grounded, giving them a coarser texture and heavier quality. Hot dogs are skinnier, brats are thicker. Hot dogs are pre-cooked, brats usually are not.

The biggest difference is the flavor. Hot dogs and brats both have different spices that give them their unique flavor. To narrow down one recipe is impossible. There are several that vary by German region, not to mention any Americanization that’s been added.

The Calories

What about health – is one better for you than the other? Arguably, the main calorie difference is in the size. Since brats are larger, you’ll end up chomping down more calories. On average, one bratwurst, without a bun, is 283 calories and 24.8 grams of fat. One standard hot dog, with the bun, is 242 calories and 14.5 grams of fat (4).

The Decision

Hot dog or bratwurst? In the end, you’ll just have to try them both and let your taste buds decide.







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