Let’s see. I remember Armour Star, Oscar Mayer,Swift’s Premium as major brands when I was a kid and then the store brands from A&P and other chains that were still down here. First off, many were thinner then the premium brands of today. Hot dogs had a variety of tastes and textures that you no longer have anymore that seemed to homoginize towards the 70’s. One thing I remember is the water being red from the food coloring after cooking. Hot dogs tended to be less stable. It wasn’t uncommon to get a package that when opened had a viscous,slimy liquid of spoiled hot dogs. That was like a wild card and I suppose it had both to do with stock rotation and undated product as well as preservatives. Some had a granular texture, some the fine texture of today. I remember some hot dogs had a rubbery texture that “squeeked” against your teeth when you bit into them. Some even had a skin-like casing that wasn’t natural casing that could be peeled off. Some hot dogs I remember tasted and smelled sort of like packaged bologna (Oscar Mayer?). After hot dogs were cooked and the water cooled, there was a stench I remember that you don’t smell anymore in the pots and fat rendered from the hot dogs floating in the water. Oh yeah, it didn’t take much heat to get the ends to split open. I don’t remember any getting plump from cooking until Red Foxxx started pushing Ballpark in the 70’s which is about the time the hot dogs started getting pretty uniform. Most all store meat departments still had natural casing hot dogs available from the butcher in strings that they wrapped in that red paper by the pound. No bar code label, just a grease pencil to mark the price and masking tape. No zip lock packages for the hot dogs either.
Edit: Just thought of something. Store brand and Institutional hot dogs were nothing alike back then. A concession stand hot dog & bun were much bigger/longer and had a meaty taste much like hot dogs of today taste like. By comparison, store bought hot dogs tasted artificial. Also there used to be a paradox between packaged buns and hot dogs. I don’t remember if the buns were 10 count and the hot dogs 8 or visa versa, but there was a disparity I recall. I wouldn’t know. Virtually everybody I grew up with got a regular slice of bread with their hot dog instead of a bun. The hot dogs were the same length as the bread slice. Buns were for special occasions like cook outs for us average folks.