Frankfurters, wieners, hot dogs, footlongs, no matter what you call them, these delicious sausages in a bun have been a staple for summer grilling and ballpark concessions all around the country. But, where did they come from? And, why do we love them so much? Keep reading to find out more about hot dogs and all the delicious ways to make them.
Hot Dog History
Sausages have been around for centuries. They can be traced as far back as the 9th century B.C. when they’re mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. Their exact origins are greatly debated, but they likely come from Germany. Some say Frankfurt (that’s how we got “frankfurters”) or possibly Coburg. Some hot dog scholars even say they’re from Vienna (Wien), Austria and that’s why we call them "wieners." They crossed the pond in the late 1800s and we’ve enjoyed them since.
How the hot dog got its bun is similarly debated. One story starts in St. Louis in 1880 where a street vendor sold what he called “red hots,” and gave out white gloves for people to hold them with. Once people began stealing the gloves, the vendor’s brother-in-law, a baker, suggested serving them in a sliced roll. The second story involves a Coney Island sandwich maker named Charles Feltman who heard about “red hots” and decided to serve them in bread.
Get Your Dachshunds?
The most popular hot dog origin story is thanks to a hard to spell word. Vendors often called their sausages “dachshunds” because of their resemblance to the dog breed. A local sports cartoonist overheard this and drew a barking dog in a bun. Unable to spell “dachshunds” he called the creation a “hot dog.”
For as long as hot dogs have been around, people have fought over how to enjoy them. One of the most hotly debated topics is whether or not to put ketchup on your hot dog. To some, ketchup is only a condiment that children should use, but more esteemed adult palates should only top their dogs with mustard or relish and onions.
Hot dog toppings are regional too, with different parts of the country enjoying different variations like the sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard, and onion “New York-style dog” or the mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions, "sport peppers", bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt you’ll find on a “Chicago-style dog.” Another “hot” topic is whether or not the hot dog is a sandwich. And, since the definition of a sandwich is “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between” the answer is, technically, yes, yes it is.
A Footlong List of Ways to Enjoy
People eat hot dogs with all different of toppings. There are New York-style dogs, Chicago-style dogs and countless others from around the world. Try the recipe Chef Ben D’Amico created for your hometown — or, try them all.
• Caramelized Onions
• Spicy Brown Mustard
• Pulled Pork
• Diced Tomato
• Barbecue Sauce
• Diced Onion
• Stadium Mustard
• Diced Onions
• Finely Shredded Cheddar Cheese
• Diced Onions
• Yellow Mustard