This year the average American will eat 60 hot dogs. Some will smother them in ketchup and mustard; others will drown them in chili and cheese. Whether we eat them at the ballpark, a picnic, or under the fireworks on the 4th of July, hot dogs are synonymous with summer and can transport us back to simpler times and sunnier skies.
In celebration of National Hot Dog Month, here are fun facts about the humble hot dog.
History and Heritage
- Although hot dogs are almost as American as baseball and apple pie, they are thought to have originated in Germany and were introduced to this country by German immigrants.
- Originally, hot dogs were pork sausage links served in buns sold in Frankfurt, Germany, appropriately called frankfurters. They evolved to include both pork and beef when they moved to Vienna, Italy and were re-named wieners.
- German immigrants brought the modern day hot dog to the shores of America where it again transformed to become the “hot dog”.
- There are various theories about where the name “hot dog” actually came from. Some believe it was a holdover from the 1850’s when sausage makers were often accused of using dog meat in their links. The most common attribution however, is to a cartoonist named Tad Dorgan, who drew a cartoon depicting the “hot dachshund sausages” being sold at a New York baseball game and called them “hot dogs” because he could not spell dachshund.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the longest hot dog ever made was a single link that measured 375 feet created by the Empacadora Ponderosa Company in Monterey, Mexico in 2008.
- The most expensive hot dog is sold by Serendipity 3 in New York City and is called the “Haute Dog”. Grilled with white truffle oil and topped with duck foie gras and truffle butter, this hot dog costs a whopping $69.
- The world record holder for most hot dogs consumed in a 10 minute period is Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, the six-time winner of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest who set the record in 2009 when he ate 68 hot dogs and buns.
An American Institution
- Hot dogs have been sold at baseball games almost since the beginning of baseball and some parks sell their very own version including Fenway Franks in Boston and Dodger Dogs in LA.
- The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition, which began as a duel between four immigrants to determine who was the most patriotic, has been held on Coney Island in New York for 95 years. In 2010, 40,000 spectators showed up to witness the famous bout on America’s birthday while 1.66 million others watched from home.
- This year, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, 155 million of those will be consumed over July 4th weekend alone.
- The first words ever uttered by Disney’s Mickey Mouse were “Hot Dogs!” in the short film The Karnival Kid from 1929.
How We Like Them
- New Yorkers eat the most hot dogs, more than any other city in the country.
- According to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council, the most commonly used condiment is mustard which is the topping preferred by 32% of Americans. The second place finisher, with 23% of the vote is ketchup and chili takes the third place spot with 17% of the vote.
- Although most hot dogs are made from pork and/or beef, recent health concerns around the nutritional content of traditional versions encouraged producers to provide healthier alternatives. Hot dogs made from chicken or turkey are available in most grocery stores, and many meatless alternatives that are made from vegetables or soy products are also widely available.
When it comes to restaurants that serve hotdogs, it seems that Arizona has some of the best. We put the word out to our pals on Facebook and Twitter to identify their favorite restaurants that serve hot dogs, and here’s what they said!
@lafinguy TED’S in Tempe/The Best!
Carol Blonder also try Tacos Toyac on Glendale east of 19th ave.-avocado, bacon, onions and a smear of beans. New and great taco stand with daily specials. Dog is always on the menu.
Pennee Murphree Home Depot, Price Club
Regardless of where you like to eat them, hot dogs are a part of Americana and Arizona life. Whether you grill them, boil them, steam them, or fry them, eat them at a restaurant or at a ballgame, make sure your holiday plans include plenty of good ole’ American hot dogs!