Hot dogs are the yin to the hamburger’s yang. Franks and burgers are a common pair at barbecues and ballparks, and rightfully so. Handheld, portable meals, they pack a convenient and flavorful punchy. Few foods may seem as American as hot dogs. However, hot dogs are derivative of European sausages. This fact and more can shed light on the humble hot dog, which is sure to find its way to a grill near you this summer.
• Mental Floss says it’s pretentious to consume a hot dog with utensils. Hot dog etiquette experts also insist adults should not top their hot dogs with ketchup, which they suggest is a topping strictly reserved for children.
• Hot dogs are often associated with New York City. However, hot dogs gained popularity across the country in the 20th century.
• Hot dogs are often called frankfurters. This refers to Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages similar to hot dogs are believed to have originated.
• Hot dogs were given their name by cartoonist Tad Dorgan. He observed a vendor selling “hot dachshund sausage dogs” during a baseball game at New York City’s Polo Grounds. As legend has it, Dorgan couldn’t spell the name of the dog, instead writing only ‘hot dogs.’ The name eventually caught on.
• Despite several jokes as well as speculation regarding what hot dogs contain, hot dogs are cured and cooked sausages that contain mainly pork, beef, chicken, and turkey. The meats come from the muscle of the animals. If a product contains organ meats, it must be declared on the packaging.
• In 1867, Charles Feltman made a cart with a stove on it, which he used to boil sausages. The cart also had compartments to keep buns fresh. Carts that sell hot dogs on the street are now seen in cities across the country.
• Hot dogs are a NASA-approved food for astronauts.
• While hot dogs are sold at many venues, data indicates that the popular convenience store chain 7-Eleven sells the most grilled hot dogs in North America, with 100 million sold annually.
• Relish, sauerkraut and even ketchup are popular hot dog toppings. But mustard is by far the most popular.
• Why are there typically 10 hot dogs per pack and only eight buns per bag? When hot dogs were first introduced, they were sold at varying quantities at the butcher shop. Hot dogs were eventually standardized to packages of 10, but buns are baked in clusters of four in popular pans designed to hold eight rolls.
Hot dogs are a summertime staple that have an interesting and extensive history.