Do Brats Taste Like Hot Dogs? [A Look At The Differences]

It’s a sausage, it’s delicious when grilled, and it goes great on a bun with ketchup or mustard – now are we talking about brats or hot dogs? What are the differences between these links, and do brats taste like hot dogs?

Brats do not taste like hot dogs since they are more heavily spiced, use different meats, and have a coarser texture. While hot dogs use a paste that’s beef, chicken, pork, or turkey with salt, brats are either minced pork or veal with added spices like nutmeg, ginger, and sage. 

do brats taste like hot dogs

But those are only the most superficial differences between brats and hot dogs. In this article, we’ll look at why brats don’t taste hot dogs, what each tastes like, and why that’s the case. Not only that, but we’ll also explain some of the other differences between these two sausage styles.

Why Do Brats And Hot Dogs Taste Different?

Brats and hot dogs have different flavors for three primary reasons. They use other meat and spices, they have different textures and casings, and both can be cooked differently.  

All these factors result in bratwurst tasting quite unlike hot dogs. Even though both are fresh link sausages with German origins, brats have a more intense, spicier taste than the more processed hot dogs. 

Not only that but each sausage pairs better with different food. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a wheat roll and a glass of beer with either one, but we can also do better.

For example, brats are excellent when soaked in beer and served alongside onions, sauerkraut, and sweet mustard. Conversely, you could try a hot dog in the Chicago style, on a sesame seed bun with relish, white onion, tomato, dill pickle, mustard, and peppers. 

Meat and Spices

The most significant reason brats don’t taste like hot dogs are that they use different meats and spices. Specifically, brats have either pork or veal, plus a selection of spices like ginger, nutmeg, sage, coriander, and caraway.

These ingredients give brats their signature savory taste, which is firmly umami. It’s no wonder that it goes so well with sweeter side dishes like sauerkraut and red cabbage.

Compared to hot dogs, bratwurst has quite an exciting recipe too. You can find hot dogs made from nearly any combination of meat imaginable – and we’d prefer not to think about the quality of the ingredients that goes into them. 

That isn’t to say that all hot dogs are unhealthy or inedible. Still, they have a reputation for using leftover trimmings and other parts of the animal we wouldn’t eat otherwise. 

Of course, that’s the purpose of all sausages, but hot dog manufacturers process their products far more as well.

American hot dogs are typically beef, although chicken, turkey, and pork are common alternatives. Instead of using minced meat, hot dogs rather have a filling that’s an emulsified meat paste. Appetizing, right?

Well, that doesn’t stop us from eating them. A hot dog’s plain, lightly salted flavor is never offensive, and it is versatile to cook with, too. 


Brats and hot dogs also don’t taste the same because their textures aren’t alike. That shouldn’t come as a surprise – anyone who’s ever eaten steak will know that it doesn’t have the same flavor as hamburger even though they’re both beef products.

The same applies to these sausages. Even if you compare pork brats with pork hot dogs, you’ll find they have a different texture. This is because bratwurst links use minced or ground meat and use natural animal intestines as casing.

On the other hand, hot dogs use an emulsified meat paste and artificial casing. So, compared to brats, they’re far softer and have a smoother consistency. 

Cooking Style

The way you cook meat also heavily impacts its flavor. And, of course, the ideal way to cook brats is to grill them. Give them fifteen minutes on an outdoor grill, turn them regularly, and enjoy at the tailgate of your choice. 

And while grilling brats gives the best results, you’re not forced to stick to the grill the entire time. Brats can be delicious if you parboil them before grilling or soak them in beer afterward. 

Likewise, we know some people who prefer to finish them in the pan or broiler to ensure consistency throughout the link.

But it’s the grilling we stress here – especially if you grill brats over charcoal or a wood fire, they’ll get a unique, smoky taste. That flavor complements their spices and richness excellently.

On the other hand, while you can grill hot dogs, you certainly don’t have to do so. You can buy pre-cooked hot dogs, which you only need to warm before eating. In that case, they’ll be fine if you reheat them in the microwave.

Boiling dogs is also doable, and it’s a quick and straightforward way to cook them. Likewise, you can also steam them.

If you choose to warm up a hot dog in any way, it’ll taste very different from bratwurst. First, it won’t have the smoky flavor you get from grilling. Not only that, depending on what else you boil them with, they might get new flavors entirely.

Of course, we recommend you grill hot dogs too. Although that won’t make them taste like brats, it will give them a more complex flavor than boiling would. It’s an excuse to break out the grill, which we’ll never turn down.

How Else Are Brats And Hot Dogs Different?

Brats and hot dogs also have a calorie difference. Because brats are typically larger than hot dogs, a single bratwurst link has more calories than a single dog. 

The average brat has about 283 calories and 25 grams of fat, while a standard hot dog is 242 calories and 15 grams of fat. While this difference isn’t significant, it can add up. 

Remember, though, that neither brats nor hot dogs are particularly healthy – and washing them down with beer isn’t either. So if you’re health-conscious, consider leaner meat.

Furthermore, brats and hot dogs have separate histories. While both sausages have German origins, the similarities end there. Brats initially came from Nuremberg and have become a Wisconsin specialty.

In contrast, hot dogs are from Frankfurt. Yes, that’s why you’ll sometimes hear them called Frankfurters. Not only that, but they aren’t a regional dish either. People enjoy them countrywide. 

What Do Hot Dogs Taste Like?

The taste will vary slightly depending on the brand. However, hot dogs will have a mild pâté (highly flavorful with a hint of sweetness) and a springy firmness taste to them. 

Whereas brats will differ in taste, depending on the meat and seasonings used to prepare them.

Final Word

To conclude, brats and hot dogs don’t taste the same. Brats have a more intense, spiced taste, while hot dogs are milder. 

It isn’t easy to generalize about how these sausages taste, however. There are dozens of variations and different recipes. In addition, bratwurst’s taste will vary depending on which meat it uses – the same applies to hot dogs.

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