Fridges and freezers are very useful because it helps us not waste food and keep it fresh for another day. However, they will go bad one day.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to expiration dates. These dates give people an idea of when the food should be consumed, tossed, or stored away. This way, no one has to risk eating food that has gone bad!
One popular food people may wonder about going bad is hot dogs. In this article, we will figure out if hot dogs can go bad and everything else you need to know about the topic.
Can Hot Dogs Go Bad, and if So, How Long Do They Last?
Unfortunately, hot dogs can go bad. We know it’s devastating to learn that a staple of American households can fall victim to spoilage, but it can and does.
The length of time a hot dog can last depends on the state of the hot dog.
- Unopened hot dogs last until the expiration date on their package runs out. So as long as you are storing it correctly, it’ll last as long as the date printed on the package.
- If you’ve opened the package but haven’t cooked them, they can still last two weeks. This is, of course, if you’ve managed to package it correctly by putting it in a zip-lock bag or something like that.
- Cooked hot dogs only last about 3 to 4 days, provided they are stored in the fridge. In the freezer, they last up to two months.
So, hot dogs can last a decent amount of time if you store them right. However, what happens if you eat bad hot dogs? In the next section, we’ll cover just that!
What Happens if You Eat Bad Hot Dogs?
The biggest issue that comes with eating bad hot dogs is that they can be chock full of bacteria.
What happens when food is full of bacteria? Well, you can get bacteria-borne illnesses like Salmonella and Listeria. This, in turn, can end up getting you extremely sick.
It can lead to a mild or moderate illness or turn into something more serious. While this is a rare side effect, it’s best not to risk it. Common symptoms of these illnesses include:
- Vomiting/Nausea/Stomach cramps
Again, it’s not the worst thing in the world but tries to avoid illness where you can.
In the next section, we’ll go into how to tell exactly how hot dogs go bad so you can avoid this happening.
How To Tell if Hot Dogs Are Bad
There are ways to tell if your hot dogs have gone bad. This is good because if there weren’t any signs of spoilage, you’d never be able to tell if you were consuming something bad!
Most of the signs are pretty self-explanatory, so they shouldn’t be too surprising.
The signs of bad hot dogs include:
- One of the biggest ways to tell if a hot dog has gone wrong is if the hot dog has a slimy texture. You go to touch the hot dog, and when you pull your hand back, there is this sticky, stringy substance clinging to your hand. Sounds gross, right? Well, it is pretty awful, and this is a huge sign that the hot dog needs to go right to the bin!
- Another way to tell if your hot dog has gone wrong is by smelling it. Yes, the good ‘ol sniff test. It might be tough for your nose to handle, but it’s the best way to tell if it’s gone wrong. Should you smell a sour smell similar to vinegar when you sniff the hot dog, then we regret to inform you that the hot dog has gone wrong.
- Same goes for the taste. If for some reason, you decide to taste the bad hot dog, it will also taste sour, which is not normal. We doubt you’ll get to this point because the smell should be enough of a sign.
These are the best ways to tell if a hot dog has gone bad. As we said, these signs are pretty self-explanatory.
If you want to avoid having the hot dog go bad, then check the next section to see how to store them properly.
How to Safely Store Hot Dogs
Luckily, there are several things you can do to store hot dogs properly. This includes:
- For hot dogs that are unopened, you can just leave them in the regular package and keep them in the fridge. This is all you have to do. Pretty simple, right?
- If you’ve opened the uncooked package, then you need to put it in a container or zip-lock bag. Always make sure that it’s airtight and all the air is out of it. If it isn’t, then your hot dogs won’t stay as fresh.
- It doesn’t matter if you are using cooked or uncooked hot dogs. They can both be stored in the fridge and freezer. Make sure you write the date you first freeze it or put it in the fridge. Hey, you can’t remember everything!
These are the best ways to safely store your hot dogs. By using them, you will ensure that your hot dogs aren’t going to go bad. Sure, they might go bad once in a while, but this helps make it so it’s not as common as it once may have been.
And there you go, all your hot dog lovers out there! We now answered the age-old question about whether hot dogs can go bad.
If it has gone bad, you shouldn’t eat it. The best way to avoid this is by either knowing the signs of a hot dog going bad or safely storing them in the first place.
However, sometimes mistakes happen, and you might end up eating something bad. We have all been there at some point. As long as you know how to avoid it next time, then you are good!
You might also be interested in the following:
- Do Spices Go Bad?
- Do Pickles Go Bad?
- Do Carrots Go Bad?
- Do Potatoes Go Bad?
- Do Sweet Potatoes Go Bad?
- Do Mushrooms Go Bad?
- Do Onions Go Bad?
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.