I contacted Sabrett and asked about their use of Sorbitol. Their reply was: Dear Customer,
Thank you for your recent inquiry. Sorbitol does not char at low temperatures like dextrose does therefore, it is easier to keep griddles and roller grills clean. Sorbitol is also an antioxidant and is approved for diabetic use in small doses.
This only adresses why they use Sorbitol rather than dextrose (table sugar). I’ve noticed that some quality dogs use sugar. Just today I was in Father & Son, which uses Grote & Weigel beef franks, and noticed dextrose as an ingredient listed on a package of dogs that was left out. Recently I was at Best Provisions to buy some of their franks that are served at Syds. I was speaking to one of the guys there, and Sabrett came up. He mentioned (negatively) that Sabrett dogs contain Sorbitol, which he considered either an additive or cheap ingredient. I didn’t pay too much attention at the time.
Some dogs also tout the fact that they are naturally smoked, while others use liquid smoke. Some naturally smoke their dogs and then add a little liquid smoke. And at least one quality dog I know of contains MSG. I guess the bottom line is taste and quality. If it tastes good, then buy it and eat it.
By the way, I was in a supermarket yesterday and happenned to look at the ingredients listed on a pack of Nathan’s. They too contain Sorbitol.