Do Hot Dogs Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

A hotdog is a barbecued or steamed sausage sandwiched between the openings of partially sliced bread. Hot dogs can be enjoyed as part of breakfast or as a quick snack fix.

With hotdog being a popular snack, it is essential to know how it can be prepared, its shelf life, storage conditions, and if it causes adverse health effects if it’s eaten past its expiry date. In this article, we’ll go through all of these.

How Long do Hotdogs Stay Fresh?

The longevity of hotdogs mostly depends on the preservation method, method of preparation, and best by date. This applies to all hotdog types. That is beef, pork, chicken, and multi-blended meat hotdogs.

Fresh hot dogs, when unopened, can last about 7–14 days past the “best by” date printed on the package. In the freezer, they can last for 4-6 months, but there might be a reduction in quality and texture past 2 months.

For fresh hotdogs, whether cooked or not, when opened, they can last for up to 7 days in the fridge. They will last for 4-6 months in the freezer.

Is it Safe to Leave Hot Dogs Outside for a Long Time?

Hot dogs can easily spoil, especially if they are left out. Therefore, if the temperatures are beyond 90 degrees, the hotdogs should be consumed within an hour. If left at room temperature, they should be consumed with 2 hours.

How to Identify a Stale Hotdog

Since you are not supposed to consume your hotdogs past their shelf life, follow the above guidelines to ensure the perfect storage time for your hotdogs. If you are unsure of how long you’ve had your hotdogs, using your senses is the best way to tell if your hotdogs are still safe for consumption. You should check the following:

  • Change in texture – The hotdog is no longer safe to eat if it has a slimy feel.
  • Change in color – If the color is duller than the usual reddish color of hotdogs, then the hotdog is stale and should be thrown away.
  • Change in smell – If the smell begins to be sour and bitter, just discard the hotdog.
  • Freezer burn appears – This develops into white patches that are dull. Because of their high-water content, frozen hotdogs are subject to freezer burns.
  • Presence of a milky liquid – If you spot a milky liquid in the hotdog packaging, you should throw it away. Bacterial overgrowth could be the reason.

What Can Happen if You Consume a Contaminated Hot Dog?

Salmonella, listeria, and Staphylococcus aureus are some of the microorganisms known to cause food-borne illnesses. So, if you consume an expired hotdog without your knowledge, it can result in food poisoning, typified by nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, and dehydration.

Is it Possible to Freeze Hotdogs?

To prolong the shelf life of your hotdogs, you can freeze them. Note that their texture and quality may deteriorate after 2 months of being frozen.

If you want to freeze your hot dogs, cover them in bulky aluminum foil and place them in a freezer bag. This way, you will avoid freezer burns.

To defrost your hotdogs, thaw them in the fridge some hours before consumption. Also, note that, after you defrost them in the refrigerator, make sure you consume them within 1-2 days; beyond this time period, the hotdogs will be unsafe to eat.

Final Word

The proper storage of hotdogs is critical. If you want to maintain their quality, don’t keep them in the fridge for more than a week and don’t freeze them for more than two months, as discussed in this article. Also, store them properly. If you follow these steps, you will be able to enjoy your savory, delicious hotdog without fear of being ill.

Related: How to Smoke Hot Dogs?

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