Step away from the highly-processed tube meat. You know who you are. Your last-second planning has you trapped in the aisles of your local grocery store. There are red and yellow bottles in your cart, next to crappy buns cooked four days ago. Hot dog cookouts are supposed to be simple, but that's no reason to be lazy. The least you can do is pick up some decent links.
Unlike heritage pork chops and grass-fed beef, even the best hot dogs you can buy are very affordable. They're also so much more delicious than the plastic-wrapped franks at your grocer that the extra cost is negligible. The locally made links in this list are made with high-quality meat, use natural casings for a snappy exterior, and in some cases are smoked in the same shop where you buy them.
The following photos and tasting notes will help get you started. Pick out your favorite, or try them all. Your hot dog cookouts will never be the same again.