Hot Diggity Dog

Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog.  Anyone who has young children will recognise the tune to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song sung by Mickey and his gang at the end of every episode.

I thought I’d wax lyrical about the almighty hot dog in this post.  Hot dogs are an integral part of American culture.  Last year, Americans spent $1.7 billion (yes, billion) purchasing hot dogs in the supermarket.  This amount doesn’t include hot dogs bought in restaurants or at sporting events.  Hot dogs are pretty much standard fare at baseball games (sort of like popcorn at the movies) and baseball fans are expected to eat more than 20 million hot dogs during the season.

hot dog Americana

Tuesday (July 23rd) was National Hot Dog Day in the United States.  Yes, really.   It was sponsored by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council.  The council’s name makes it clear that hog dog’s are different from sausages.  The council’s Facebook page has loads of random information about hot dogs.  Did you know that Joey (the “Shark”) Chestnut has set a new hot dog eating record by downing 70 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes at the Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest?  I can’t even imagine the heartburn that guy must feel.  Anyway, Joey the Shark won $10,000 in prize money but said he do it for free because of his love of hot dogs.

nathan's hot dog eating contest

The origin of the American hot dog seems enshrouded in mystery (similar to its content).  In 1871, the first hot dog stand was established in Coney Island, New York.  Their popularity grew until they were served at a baseball park in 1873 and the rest is history.

Hot Dog

There are regional American hot dog variations.  The New York hot dog is served garnished with mustard and steamed onions.  A Chicago hot dog is made from all-beef and served on a poppy seed bun and garnished with raw onions, green relish, tomato slices and mustard.  A Southern style hot dog is garnished with cole slaw on top.  A Michigan hot dog is traditionally served with chilli, mustard and onion.

Chilli Dog in a Napkin

Some variations involve getting rid of the bun altogether and encasing the hot dog in another suitable carbohydrate, such as cornmeal or puff pastry.

corn dog

I’ve tried this recipe for making a corn dog.  I found it too sweet but my kids loved it.  I prefer the puff pastry encased hot dog instead.

pastry Hot dog

For all you worried about etiquette, the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council has published a Youtube video on hot dog eating etiquette.

Pointers include:

  • Always put garnish on the hot dog not the bun.
  • Use the following condiment order:  wet (e.g., mustard), chunky (e.g., relish), then cheese, then spices (e.g., salt).
  • Use your hands to eat your hot dogs.
  • Always finish your hot dog in 5 bites.

So now, you know more than you probably wanted to know about hot dogs.  I hope you get to enjoy (at least) one this summer.

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