Baseball’s Most Beloved All-Star
The upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game will showcase some of the League’s best players in baseball’s 85th Midsummer Classic. While future Hall of Famers will be taking the field, we want to highlight baseball’s biggest star not on the American or National League roster (no, not Justin Morneau): the hot dog.
To many fans, a baseball game just isn’t complete without a hot dog, the signature food of America’s pastime. But we also know that when many people cook their own hot dogs, proper food safety practices are kind of like the infield fly rule or a balk – we know the rules exist but sometimes aren’t completely sure what they really are. But you can’t afford to make an error when it comes to food safety! So step up to the plate and follow the tips below on how to keep your hot dogs safe so you can avoid the disabled list.
Keep it hotter than the “hot corner”
Just like how you always need to keep your bullpen pitchers and pinch hitters warm, it’s important that you always keep your hot dogs hot. Cooked hot dogs should stay on the grill until served to keep them at a safe temperature – 140°F or warmer. If your dog is fully cooked but not yet ready to be eaten, set it on the side of the grill rack to avoid overcooking it. Or if you’re “home cooking,” you can keep these cooked dogs at a safe temperature until consumed by placing them in an oven set to 200°F, in a chafing dish, slow cookers, or on a warming tray.
Cut it up for little leaguers
For children younger than 4, a whole hot dog can be a choking hazard. Cut hot dogs lengthwise or into smaller pieces before serving them to these minor leaguers. If the hot dog has a casing, remove it before cutting the dog into pieces.
How long can my hot dogs stay in play?
When you leave the grocery store, head straight home and refrigerate or freeze your hot dogs immediately.
If the product has a date, be sure to follow it. If there is no product date, hot dogs can be safely stored in the unopened package for two weeks in the refrigerator. Once the packaging is opened, hot dogs can safely remain in the refrigerator for one week.
Can I refrigerate or freeze leftover hot dogs?
Legend says that Babe Ruth once ate 12 hot dogs between games of a double header. But we know most people don’t consume that many hot dogs in one sitting. Refrigerate your leftover hot dogs within two hours, or one hour if the temperature is 90°F or warmer. Just remember that your hot dog is like a starting pitcher – after two hours on the mound, it’s time to chill in the showers (refrigerator). Leftover dogs can be safely refrigerated for three or four days. But after that, you have to eject them from the game.
That’s it! We’ve touched all the bases of hot dog food safety. Follow these tips to ensure that eating a hot dog isn’t as risky as trying to execute a successful squeeze bunt!