Kitchn Love Letters

I Didn’t Know Salmon Hot Dogs Were a Thing — But I Do Now, and I’m Obsessed

published Jan 1, 2022
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Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I thought I understood everything there was to know about hot dogs: They’re made from beef or pork. They contain dubious-yet-delicious ingredients. And they’re mostly eaten at the height of summer, when you can grill or enjoy them at a ballpark. Turns out, I was wrong. About it all.

I recently tried hot dogs made from salmon, and when I tell you I was shook … well, that’s only the half of it. These hot dogs support sustainable seafood consumption, reduce waste, and are among the most delicious fish I’ve ever had. They also make for super-convenient meals, as I’ve learned since keeping a stash of them in my freezer. And you can even buy them on Amazon.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I originally tried Kvarøoy (pronounced Kwa-ray) Arctic’s dog as a lark. I knew that the small, family-owned aquaculture farm was raising seafood to high standards; from their remote Norwegian island, the third generation of water farmers was racking up accolades and certifications from governing bodies like the Fair Trade USA and the Seafood Watch. But I didn’t know how committed they were to reducing food waste — or that their hot dogs would taste so good.

Buy: Kvarøoy Arctic Frozen Salmon Hot Dog Assortment, $70 for 16 (3.5-ounce) hot dogs

What Are Salmon Hot Dogs?

Here’s the deal: Kvarøy’s co-packer, Platina Seafood, helped them create a recipe for salmon hot dogs (or, as the Kvarøy team prefers, “hot dogs made from salmon”) in an effort to repurpose the trim and off cuts that would otherwise get made into fertilizer and other not-for-human-consumption products. The salmon in Kvarøy’s dogs is simply the bits of salmon that’s too narrow or small for a fillet.

Another way that these dogs are different: They’re totally suitable for pescatarians. While typical hot dogs are made with beef or pork casings, the salmon dogs are formed in silicone molds and made to look like a traditional hot dog, right down to the puckered ends.

What Do Salmon Hot Dogs Taste Like?

If you like ballpark-style hot dogs, you’ll like Kvarøy’s hot dogs. They come in four different flavors: original, cheese, jalapeño and cheese, and chile and cheese. My spice tolerance is low, so my favorite is the original — it gives off big-time stadium vibes, which is exactly what Kvarøy was aiming for. “Kids typically don’t even know it’s fish,” says Jennifer Bushman, the company’s strategic development officer. Honestly, if you had given it to me in a blind taste-test, I wouldn’t have known.

You can prepare salmon hot dogs however you would cook a beef or pork hot dog, including boiling, grilling, and pan-frying. Bushman notes that the higher direct heat cooking methods, like frying and grilling, result in a slightly “fishier” flavor, so if you’re planning on feeding these to picky eaters, you may want to stick with a simple boil or steam sauté.

Where Can You Buy Salmon Hot Dogs?

Currently, the best place to get these hot dogs is on Amazon. If you live near a Whole Foods store, you’ll likely find Kvarøy salmon there, too; they’re the top provider of salmon for Whole Foods nationwide. Beyond that, Kvarøy is stocked in a few regional grocery chains — Giant Eagle is one — but the company is adding retailers regularly. Bushman notes that arenas and sports stadiums will soon be offering the salmon dogs at their concession stands. (But if you’re a pro football player, you may already be eating them; the chefs for the Arizona Cardinals and the New England Patriots regularly feature Kvarøy dogs on their menus.)

According to Bushman, there are 32 makers of packaged salmon burgers on the market, but only one hot dog. While it means there’s less competition, you won’t hear any complaints from me. These hot dogs are delicious, good for the environment, a convenient frozen food option, packed with long-chain omega-3s, and farmed with care in a small community. They’re definitely primed to make a splash.

Have you tried these salmon hot dogs? Tell us in the comments below!