Hot Diggity Dog

Also known as a frankfurter or wiener, the hot dog’s origin is claimed by the city of Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, and also by a butcher living in Coburg, Germany., who traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new product, sometime in the late 1600s. Either way, German immigrants brought not only the sausage with them in the 1800s, but also their beloved dachshund dogs, and the name probably began as a joke about the small, long, thin dogs.

Food historians at Yale University say the word “hot dog” began appearing in college magazines back in the 1890s. when students started calling wagons outside their dormitories selling hot sausages as “dog wagons.” It didn’t take long for the word “dog” to become “hot dog.” German immigrants first sold them from push carts in New York City’s Bowery in the 1860s. Another story recounts a German butcher, Charles Feltman, in 1871 hawked sausages with milk rolls from his stand on Coney Island, starting a trend to this day of the famous “Coney Dog,” (usually topped with a savory meat sauce). The bun made its debut at the Colombian Exposition a few years later where visitors gobbled them down in large quantities. Vendors had a hit on their hands, and we can thank Germans for their culinary contribution.

These 2016 statistics bear out the huge demand and popularity; Los Angeles residents consume more hot dogs than any other city (more than 36 million pounds), beating out New York and Philadelphia. Dodger fans alone consumed 2.6 million in 2016 the birthplace of the Dodger Dog, a 10 inch pork wiener wrapped in a steamed bun sold at Dodger Stadium; across the country major league fans enjoyed 19.4 million during the 2016 season;

+On Independence Day (July 4th) Americans enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from to D.C. to L.A. more than five times;

+During peak season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume 7 billion; that’s 818 consumed every second.

+Top hot dog consuming cities are all home to a major league baseball team (no
surprise there):

Los Angeles
New York
Washington, DC

+Nathan’s – started in 1916 by a Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker selling a 5 center from his stand on Coney Island, they still dominate NYC and are famous for their July 4th eating contest; reigning men’s champion again in 2018, Joey Chestnut (with a record 74 in 10 minutes) and Miki Sudo (women’s) at 37 (burp);

+Wienerschnitzel – an American fast food chain founded in 1961, also known as the World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain 358 locations;

+Chicago style – who doesn’t know what this is: hot dog, poppy seed bun, Vienna wiener, mustard, tomato wedges, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt, don’t even mention the “k” word (ketchup);

Most popular retail brands:

+Nathan’s Famous Skinless Beef Franks (New Yorkers will settle for nothing less)
+Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners (no surprise here)
+Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks (fewer additives and fillers)
+Sabrett Skinless Beef Frankfurters (who?)
+Ball Park Beef Franks (always popular)

Costco – In 2015, Costco food courts sold 128 million hot dogs; at $1.50 (includes drink) on average, up from 100 million a year earlier;

Retail sales – 1 billion pounds were sold at retail stores. That number represents more than $2.4 billion in retail sales.

+Chicago’s O’Hare Airport sells six times more hot dogs than Los Angeles and LaGuardia Airport combined which clocks in at 725,000; travelers hope for a flight delay so they can nosh on those dogs;

Well, statistics don’t lie.Americans love their hot dogs, and they have their own unique ways of preparing and enjoying them. Whether you choose sauerkraut, chili, cheese, mustard, relish, onions, ketchup or all of the above, nothing satisfies quite like a hot dog. Eaten on the run, wolfed down from a street vendor or savored at a backyard barbecue, they are pure American and anyone can enjoy them anywhere, anytime. So pile on the condiments and chow down.