Hot Dog War: Ball Park Franks Sues Oscar Mayer Over Taste Test Claims

Sara Lee, maker of Ball Park Franks, has sued Kraft, manufacturer of Oscar Mayer hot dogs over advertising that claimed that the Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks beat Ball Park and ConAgra Foods’ Hebrew National hot dogs in a national taste test. Turns out, it wasn’t that simple.

From the Chicago Tribune:

The Sara Lee suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, says the ad is false and misleading because in large type it implies one Oscar Mayer dog bested the taste of all Ball Park dogs. But the footnote, “in very small type,” says that Oscar Mayer compared its hot dogs to “the leading beef franks” of its main rivals.

Sara Lee is also upset about Kraft’s claim that Oscar Mayer hot dogs are 100% beef when, apparently, there are other ingredients.

Sara Lee sues Kraft over hot dog taste claims [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo:Matt McGee)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Skankingmike says:

    Hebrew Nationals! or Nathans

    • NightSteel says:



    • edwardso says:

      @Skankingmike: agreed. Or coleman’s organic if you can find them

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @Skankingmike: Yeah, there’s really no comparing Oscar Mayer to Hebrew National. I miss my Shofar hot dogs, though :(

    • Preyfar says:

      @Skankingmike: I like Nathan’s Famous hot dogs from the grocery store, but absolutely hate them from the Nathan’s stands. Weird.

    • UrIt says:

      @Skankingmike: Agreed!! Hebrew National is amazing

    • lannister80 says:

      @Skankingmike: “Best Kosher” jumbo dinner franks are the best. Find them anywhere in Chicagoland, not sure about other places.

    • Trey Mahaffey says:

      @Skankingmike: i like hebrew national, but how come they only give 7 hot dogs in their packages? ever seen a pack of 7 hot dog buns?

      nathans is my first choice, and my second would be sabretts (they are a little more slimy but they sure are tasty, just wash them off before grilling)

      i still cant get why hebrew only gives 7 hot dogs

    • tcolberg says:

      @Skankingmike: Wow, I came in here just to suggest these specific two hot dogs! But if I had a choice, I wouldn’t get hot dogs — sausage FTW!

      Mmm, bratwurst and kielbasa.

    • oneswellfoop says:

      @Skankingmike: Wow! You all like disgusting, hugely processed meat product from companies using meat from animals that are pumped full of drugs in order to eat things not in their natural diet and not die before slaughter?

      Oh how I adore the willful perpetuation of ignorance that the american public so loves!

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      @Skankingmike: I wholeheartedly agree with both choices, but for different hot dog-related reasons.

      If I’m eating a dog on a bun I go with a Hebrew National cooked in Samuel Adams with Gulden’s Spicy Mustard and an ice cold Kosher Dill pickle spear.

      For pigs in a blanket I always go with Nathan’s. I tried Hebrew National with pigs in a blanket and found they cannot hold up to the buttery flavor of a crescent roll while Nathan’s can.

  2. wgrune says:

    Ambassador Old Fashioned. That’s what you want.

  3. Fatty Shcock says:

    Hembold’s hot dogs all the way, baby!

  4. AlexTNOA says:

    Hot Doug’s. The only hot dog you’ll ever need.

    [] (These are the specials. They’ve got regular dogs, too)

  5. edwardso says:

    First spam, now hot dogs. Is it processed meat day on consumerist? I may have to stop at a cart on my way home

  6. Joshua Davis says:

    I’m now now vegan, but back in my meat eating days I wouldn’t eat anything besides Hebrew National. Absolutely the best in terms of quality.

  7. Rachacha says:

    Zweigles natural casing White Hot Dogs FTW []
    Their Red Hots (cased or skinless) are delicious too.

    • karmaghost says:

      @Rachacha: Western NY FTW! Gimmie Zweigles any day, but not the white ones. Texas Red Hots for me, please!

      • Rachacha says:

        @karmaghost: I now live in the DC area, but when Wegmans started opening stores in this area, you would walk through the store on opening day, and there would be a large hole of emptyness in the hot dog section. A close inspection of the tags revealed it was the dedicated spot for Zweigles Hot Dogs…cases sold in a matter of hours, and not a single national brand or Baltimore/Washington area local brand had been sold!

    • cabjf says:

      @Rachacha: Hofmann makes a mean white hot as well.

  8. rpm773 says:

    Vienna Beef FTW!

  9. laserjobs says:

    I do find Ball Park Franks have less hair than Oscar Mayer weiners.

  10. takes_so_little says:

    Hoffman’s. I only eat hot dogs once or twice a year because of health concerns, but when I do, I want the nest tasting dog on god’s green earth.

  11. Lucky225 says:

    Oh I wish I was an Oscar Meyer spammer, that is what I’d really like to be, cus if I was an Oscar Meyer spammer, I could claim the hot dogs are all beef.

  12. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I like Hebrew National but 1) they’re expensive and 2) kinda fatty so they can mess up my stomach.

    I like Oscar Myer’s Turkey hot dogs but they’re harder for me to get to since the grocery store near me doesn’t sell them. They’re cheaper and less likely to mess my stomach up.

  13. Preyfar says:

    Taste is an opinion. How do you sue over an opinion?

  14. ajlei says:

    I’m going to have to vote for Oscar Meyer solely because, as a child in Hawaii, an Oscer Mayer Weinermobile broke down by my house so they left it there all day and they gave me about 10 weenie-whistles. I felt like I was meeting a celebrity, my four year old mind loved it.

    But, taste-wise, I have no idea who’s better.

  15. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Best Kosher/Sinai are/were the best!
    I still have about 15 lbs. in my freezer.
    I found them on clearance at Costco in Chicago in March, over a month after the weasels at Sara Lee shut down Best Kosher.

    The Kirkland Supreme at Costco’s hot dog stand are revolting!
    They’re made by some company in Texas that doesn’t know a damned thing about making a good hot dog.

    As for the Oscar Mayer/Ball Park fight.
    Both are goyishe hot dogs, meaning tasteless & mushy!

    • lannister80 says:

      @Greasy Thumb Guzik: GO GO BEST KOSHER!

      Those are, HANDS DOWN, the best dogs around.

      Wait wait, what, Best Kosher got shut down?!?!?! WTF?

      • Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

        Sara Lee owned Best Kosher & Sinai Kosher.
        They also made Shofar & several other brands of kosher hot dogs & cold cuts.
        I know that because I always bought my hot dogs, salamis, pastrami & corned beef at their outlet store, next to the plant.
        The corned beef & pastrami were the leanest you’ve ever seen & at the plant there were often amazing bargains, like $1 a pound pastrami!!
        Sara Lee shut down all Best Kosher operations at the Chicago plant on Jan 31, this year.
        No one knows the real reason for this, but some of it is due to the Agriprocessor’s raid in Postville, Iowa last year.
        That cause an immediate 40% drop in the kosher meat supply, Agriprocessor’s was that big!
        But through friends & relatives, we believe that Sara Lee is in deep, deep shit & is trying to find a way out of it & for some insane reason shut down Best as a tax loss/dodge!
        It just makes no sense that they didn’t try to sell it to another kosher sausage company!

  16. balthisar says:

    I don’t know whom to root for:

    Hebrew National > Oscar Meyer > Ball Park Franks.

    Koegels, ftw.

  17. Donathius says:

    J Dawgs. It’s a local fixture in Provo, UT. I don’t know what’s in their sauce, but I can’t get enough of it…maybe it’s heroin.


    • magic8ball says:

      @Donathius: Plus they’re, like, the equivalent of three grocery-store-size hotdogs. I have a hard time eating a whole one by myself.

  18. Powerlurker says:

    Boar’s Head, Best’s, or Vienna Beef. Sabrett aren’t bad either. I guess I’m kinda a hot dog snob, but for the most part, I won’t bother with anything less.

  19. downwithmonstercable says:

    Hot Dogs are gross. it’s all about Costco dogs. I don’t know what they are or what’s in them, but they are awesome.

  20. xkevin says:

    I guess no one’s ever had Boar’s Head Coney Island Franks (beef and pork)…

  21. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Thanks…now I want hot dogs. And there aren’t any around me. Sniffle.

    Who wants to make a run to Ben’s Chilli Bowl?

  22. radiochief says:

    Kahn’s all beef hot dogs.



  23. GMFish says:

    I’m from Michigan so I have to say that Koegel Viennas are by far the best hot dogs. I wouldn’t eat one of those mushy Ball Parks or Oscar Mayers if someone paid me. Ew gross!

  24. ilovemom says:

    Next time you are buying hot dogs please remember this colossal waste of money and think of how it contributes to the cost of your hot dogs.

  25. Illusio26 says:

    How about a poll option for Vienna Beef

  26. shepd says:

    Shopsy’s or bust.

  27. gafpromise says:

    I don’t understand this lawsuit. It seems awfully like they are splitting hairs. Oscar Meyer beat the other two brands’ leading beef frank. Sounds to me like they beat the most popular, best-tasting franks of the others. If they had gone up against the other brands’ least-popular franks, it still seems like Oscar Meyer would have come out ahead by definition.

  28. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    How they are prepared makes such a big difference, it’s hard to say which is best to me.

  29. Cameraman says:

    The best hot dogs in the world are made by Wasserman & Lemberger, in Baltimore MD. They are so good, I don’t put anything on them, not even mustard… because that would spoil the taste. I buy them whenever we go visit the in-laws.

    Bad news for everyone not within driving distance of Baltimore. These hot dogs don’t exactly travel well. When frozen and thawed out, they drop from sublime to merely delicious.

    Still better than anything mass produced.

    I realize that this comment has little to do with the subject at hand, as we are discussing mass produced hot dogs. Sorry.

  30. Brain.wav says:

    All pale in comparison to Nittany Lion franks. Any other posters from Pennsylvania willing to back me up?

  31. mmcnary says:

    I’m a fan of the Nathan’s. That’s the house dog at Sam’s clubs. Buck and a half for a dog and drink. Mmmm…

  32. Froggmann says:

    Nothing beats the old fashioned Hoffy franks that Pinks doles out on their creations.

    Ok that’s it I’m grabbing a Huell dog this weekend.

  33. zandar says:

    I’ll be the freak in this thread. I prefer soy dogs. They are some genuinely awful ones, but I prefer a brand called Not Dog. Clever, I thought.

  34. kylere says:

    [] Koegels are the ONLY hot dogs I will eat. No, I do not work for them, I just recognize them as the BEST, and they will ship them to you!

  35. Daniel Kipnis says:

    Sinai Kosher. You can get them at Costco, they’re made with higher standards than Hebrew National, and they taste fantastic. They sell them at the food court at Costco (last time I checked).

  36. Michael Barry says:

    What the heck? Where are all of the Chicagoans? No Chicagoan should ever vote for any hot dog besides Vienna Beef… There is a reason all hot dog/gyro/beef joints in Chicago use the same supplier, and that is Vienna Beef.

    Preferably the regular size because they use real animal product casing. The jumbos are synthetic casing.

    • Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

      @Michael Barry:
      Vienna is a classic kosher style dog.
      It’s basically the same as the Best/Sinai dogs, but not made with kosher meat.
      Until Vienna moved to the current Damen Ave plant, Vienna also made Wilno Kosher right next door to Vienna at the old storefront plant on Halsted &O’Brien St a block from the Maxwell St. market.
      When Vienna moved to the north side, they sold Wilno to Best Kosher.
      And they’re all gone now, along with all the other kosher brands that Best bought up over the years.
      The only other one I can remember is Palestine Kosher from Roosevelt Rd, but Best stopped using that name a long time ago.

  37. gonz says:

    Nathans > Eskay > Hebrew National > the rest

  38. synergy says:

    So is this a pissing contest over whose is bigger?? :D :D :D

  39. desterion says:

    vienna are the best. nathans taste nasty

  40. nybiker says:

    I would like to direct everyone to an episode on the Travel Channel’s Hot Dog Paradise, [] And if you read their Deep-Fried story, you’ll read about Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, NJ, where they are, well, deep-fried.

    Personally, I get my Hebrew National all-beef hot dogs at BJ’s and they come 10 to a 40-ounce pack.

  41. turkeyspam says:

    I don’t know about other brands, but Hoffy’s are unacceptable. I had an uncle that retired from there. When he was alive and still working there, he was allowed to take a certain amount of product home for free as a perk. He never did. I asked him why once, and he said to me “because rats don’t belong in hot dogs or lunchmeat.”

  42. Dracoster says:

    I want that car!

  43. afq1483 says:

    Sabrett’s with natural casings are the best. They taste great and have that nice snap when you bite into them.

  44. Erin Cummins says:

    expensive but delicious! we got a bunch of stuff from christmas and the franks were some of the best I’d ever had! If I were rich I’d totally buy these all the time. []

  45. Anonymous says:

    The Kirkland Supreme at Costco’s hot dog stand are revolting!
    They’re made by some company in Texas that doesn’t know a damned thing about making a good hot dog.i just found this amazing website, it has all kind of businesses from a cleaning companies to estate agents to banks, all I have to do is just type in the business type, and the location and it gives me all the results in that particular area, this website has a huge database of all sorts of businesses, I just joined a driving school which I found on this website. I would recommend this site to all the people out there.