Hot dogs are top dogs for summer grilling

Here's a bunch of facts
Tasha Yudin of Mayfield cooks hot dogs in Haslett Park in Fort Plain in July 2013.
Tasha Yudin of Mayfield cooks hot dogs in Haslett Park in Fort Plain in July 2013.

Dog days of summer have arrived.

That means sausages will be heat-striped on a grill, tucked in a bun, wrapped in cheese and covered with mustard, onions and maybe a little chili con carne.

But no ketchup.

Hot dogs must share the fire with hamburgers, steak, chicken and vegetables, but no summer food has more facts and folklore than the pink representatives of Oscar Mayer.

Here are a bunch – courtesy of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council in Washington, D.C.

  • Hot dogs trace their origin to the 15th century, and parts of Germany and Austria, such as Frankfurt and Vienna.
  • Some say hot dogs first became popular in the United States when a German immigrant began selling them from a cart in New York City’s Bowery section in 1871.
  • The first hot dog was sold at a baseball park in 1893.
  • The name “hot dog” is often attributed to a cartoonist who saw carts selling “red hot dachshund dogs” at the New York Polo Grounds. He could not spell “dachshund,” so he used “hot dogs” instead.
  • Hot dogs were first eaten by people wearing gloves. Legend says a sausage cooker around the turn of the 20th century ran out of gloves. He improvised, and served the meats on rolls.
  • A hot dog without meat or chicken cannot be called a hot dog.
  • Hot dogs are included as a menu item at the Vatican and have been served at the White House.
  • Before they are sold, hot dogs are fully cooked under controlled temperature and humidity conditions.
  • In 2012, consumers spent more than $1.7 billion on hot dogs in supermarkets alone.
  • Americans eat 7 billion hot dogs during peak season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • Hot dog production is inspected by members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • A New York-style hot dog is served with steamed onions and pale, deli-style yellow mustard.
  • A Chicago-style hot dog is an all-beef dog on a steamed poppy seed bun with raw onions, bright green relish, mustard, tomato slices, a pickle spear, peppers and celery salt.
  • Other regional favorites include the Kansas City hot dog – served with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese – and the Michigan Coney – which is topped with chili sauce, mustard and onions.
  • In upstate New York, some cities swear allegiance to local brands. In Syracuse, Hofman sausages are tops; Rochester grills are full of Zweigle’s hots (including the famous pork white hot) and Buffalo is love with Sahlen’s. The Albany area used to have a Tobin’s First Prize plant.
  • Oscar Mayer’s hot dog products include Angus beef, turkey and Velveeta cheese. The company is also the only hot dog manufacturer with a “Weinermobile.”
  • Mickey Mouse made the transition from the silent screen to the talkies with these first words: “Hot dog!” Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey also used the phrase in the holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
  • Clint Eastwood’s most famous character, “Dirty Harry” Callahan, breaks up a bank robbery in 1971’s “Dirty Harry” by strolling up a city street, firing his .44 Magnum at the bad guys and chewing a hot dog.
  • In Spanish, “hot dog” is “perrito caliente.”
  • Hot dog gourmets say no more than five bites should be taken to finish a hot dog.
  • Gourmets also say ketchup should never be used on a hot dog after the age of 18.

Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 395-3124, [email protected] or @jeffwilkin1 on Twitter.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

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