Skip to content

8 Fast-Food Chains That Use Pure Beef in Their Hot Dogs—Not That Other Stuff

Where’s the beef? Right here in these dogs.

If you take a look at the ingredient list of most of the nationally-available hot dogs that you'll find in grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores, you may just decide to go with a different snack. One leading brand's hot dog ingredient list starts off with mechanically separated turkey, chicken, and pork and continues with corn syrup and dextrose. But you may be surprised to know there are still great all-beef hot dogs available at fast-food restaurants if you know where to look.

Given the bad rap lots of fast-food menu items get, you might suppose it would be the same story with fast-food hot dogs. You might expect to find a slurry of meats mixed together and extruded into a tube shape packed with additives. And, in some cases, yes, you will find a meat mix and all those decidedly unappetizing ingredients in some fast-food hot dogs, but in other places, you'll find surprisingly good dogs that are genuinely all-beef.

Here are the top fast-food spots that still serve all-beef hot dogs worth a quick bite when the mood strikes. Just remember to enjoy them in moderation because most hot dogs are also relatively high in fat and sodium.

 8 Fast-Food Chains That Use Pure Ground Beef for Their Burgers

Five Guys

Five Guys is about more than burgers, fries, and peanuts it turns out. The popular chain also offers several sandwiches, some fine milkshakes, and four different hot dog options, each of which is proudly "all-beef," per the Five Guys site. And said all-beef dogs are "split and grilled lengthwise for a caramelized exterior."

Nathan's Famous

Nathan's Famous/ Facebook

Though most Nathan's Famous locations are now operating solely as delivery-based restaurants (some also have a takeout and a few dine-in spots remain) what you will get delivered are classic 100% beef hot dogs. And in fact, you'll get the same when you buy Nathan's dogs in the grocery store, too.

 We Tasted 8 Hot Dog Brands & This Is the Best


Wienerschnitzel/ Facebook

At Weinerschnitzel, you'll find a lot of hot dogs that are not 100% pure beef, but that's the point. The chain offers Polish hot dogs—which are a mix of beef and pork—a World Famous Original dog—which also has a blend of meats—or an all-beef hot dog. Customers can choose any of those three options for any of the chain's many hot dog offerings.

Shake Shack

shake shack hot dog
Courtesy of Shake Shack

Shake Shack's famed "Flat-Top Dogs," which are cooked on a flat-top griddle that gives them a caramelized sear much like the dogs from Five Guys, are 100% beef. Once you add cheese sauce, chopped bacon, and your favorite condiments, they are 100% awesome.

 Your Favorite Fast-Food Burger According To Your Zodiac Sign


Portillo's hot dog
Photo: Portillo's

Things get a bit complicated here, so bear with us: Portillo's offers three kinds of hot dogs, one being decidedly not all beef, namely the Polish sausage. Next, note that both their hot dogs and Jumbo hot dogs are 100% beef, but the regular-sized hot dogs have a casing made from sheep. If you want all-beef dogs from Portillo's in the purest sense, go Jumbo. If you want a tasty hot dog and are less hung up on the specifics, you can't go wrong with any of them.

Sonic Drive-In

sonic drive in hot dogs
Sonic Drive-In / Facebook

Sonic makes a mean hot dog, with included toppings being diced onions, ketchup, relish, and mustard, and the option to add chili, jalapeños, pickles, shredded cheese, and tomatoes. And what's more, the base of it all is a "premium beef all-American dog [that] is made with 100% pure beef."


a&w hot dog
A&W Restaurants / Facebook

Come for the root beer; stay for the all-beef hot dogs. The chain also has Coney Dogs and Coney Cheese Dogs, too. We're not 100% sure about the Corn Dog Nuggets, so don't assume the same for those, but they sound delicious.

 Costco's New Announcement About Membership Fees Is Good News For Shoppers


costco hot dog and soda
Photo: Costco / Facebook

A dark horse entry, perhaps, but what else can you call the hot food for sale at Costco superstores other than fast food? And amazingly cheap food, in terms of price, too, as the dogs there are a buck a piece. Cheap in terms of ingredients, though? Not at all. Costco serves 100% pure beef Kirkland Signature hot dogs. And hey, FYI, for $1.50 you get a fountain soda, too.

Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more about Steven