Have You Ever Had A Red Hot Dog Before?

I believe one of the greatest things of living in the United States is our diversity in food depending on the region. Take the hot dog for example. Growing up in Southern California my hot dog experience was found in the mall's food court with a to-go cup of freshly stomped lemonade. The dogs were deep-fried and placed on a stick by friendly employees wearing colorful striped hats. For people growing up in the Chicago area, every hot dog came with pickled sport peppers, New York was a coney dog, and if you grew up in parts of the South and Maine, your hot dogs were red as a fire hydrant.

Chances are, whatever you consider the best hot dog is the one you grew up with. We think trying new food is the spice of life, though, so if you've never had a red hot dog before, we've got everything you need to know about these old-fashioned red weiners, including a few recipes you can serve at your next BBQ or tailgate party.

What is a Red Hot Dog?


Known as "Red Snappers" in Maine, red hot dogs are natural casing beef and pork franks dyed with red dye #40. For over 150 years W.A. Bean & Sons have been serving up the red dogs to hungry New England customers. And while some rumor the dogs are dyed bright red to camouflage grey old meat, the company shares that the dye was part of a successful marking ploy. The dye was added to make their frankfurters stand out. And today that still rings true.

According to New England Today, the best way to enjoy these red hot dogs is on a split-top bun topped with ketchup, yellow mustard, and relish. Grilling the hot dog bun is always a welcome option, just make sure to focus on the dog itself and not the condiments.

So where does the name 'Red Snapper' come from?

It's actually the snap you get from biting down on the dogs, a characteristic of true Red Snapper hot dogs. W.A. Bean & Sons had perfected the snap by using natural lamb casing to shape the franks. 

Maine isn't the only place you'll find red hot dogs. Nu-Way Weiners in Macon, Ga has been serving them up since 1916, when Greek American immigrant James Mallis opened up a hot dog stand. Today there are nine Nu-Way Weiner locations in the Central Georgia area where you can grab one of their famous red-hots with a topping of coleslaw.

Looking to try out these bright red dogs for yourself? Order these online via Maine Lobster Now and experience Red Snappers whether you are in North Carolina, Virginia, or Michigan.


Red Hot Dog Recipes

Red hot dogs work in any hot dog recipe. Here are a few of our favorite twists on the hot dog classic; swap out a red dog for a regular hot dog in these and you'll have a new favorite.

Grilled Cheese Dogs

Because traditional Maine hot dog buns are always grilled (whether you use them for lobster rolls or red hot dogs), a grilled cheese hot dog is the perfect mash up of two classic dishes. Use a red hot dog and either white or yellow cheddar for a cool visual on your plate.

Get the recipe here.

Breakfast Hot Dog

It's easier to get going in the morning if you have something fun to wake up to, and a red hot dog topped with a fried egg and bacon for breakfast definitely qualifies as fun. It also qualifies as a cure for too much fun the night before, so it's a win win.

Get the recipe here.

Mini Pretzel Dogs

Pigs in a Blanket or pretzel dogs are a winner for any party; no kid or adult can resist them. For a holiday party (Christmas, Valentine's Day or the 4th of July), use red hot dogs for a holiday-appropriate pop of red color and watch these little delights fly off the plate.

Get the recipe here.

Hot Dog Fried Rice

Budget-friendly and kid-friendly, using hot dogs in fried rice is a tasty way to use up leftover rice. Swapping in red hot dogs adds a pop of color that your whole family will love.

Get the recipe here.

This article was originally published on June 13, 2019.

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