A hot dog is classified as a type of sausage or, alternatively, a sandwich on a suitably shaped bun with the sausage and condiments on it. Also called a frankfurter (named after the city of Frankfurt am Main, Germany) or a frank, a wiener (named after the city of Vienna, Austria, known as Wien in German), or (with tongue in cheek) a tube steak. Hot dogs are eaten with a wide variety of condiments, most common of which are mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, pickle relish, chopped onion, mayonnaise, chopped lettuce, tomato (chopped, sliced, or in wedges), pickle spear, and chile pepper usually in a bun. A hot dog served with all available condiments is known as a hot dog with "the works", or "everything." A popular joke goes "What did the Buddha say when he met the hot dog vendor?" "Make me one with everything."
Other variations are found. A hot dog served with the addition of cheese is known as a "cheese hotdog" or simply a "cheese dog". "Cheese dog" may also refer to a hot dog that contains processed cheese within the hot dog itself. A hot dog served with the addition of chili is known as a "chili dog". A hot dog served with both of these would be a "chili cheese dog" or "cheese coney". Chili dogs and cheese dogs are popular foods at carnivals and amusement parks.
A hot dog on a stick fried in corn batter is commonly called a corn dog. A corn dog might be eaten plain or with mustard. Corn dogs are popular in the U.S. and are widely associated with state fairs and other public gatherings.
A hot dog which is split down the center, stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep-fried is known as a francheesie or alternately a francheezie. A francheesie in a restaurant is usually served on a grilled hot dog bun.
Visitors to Tijuana, Mexico are likely familiar with a "Danger dog", the slang phrase used to describe a hot dog cooked with bacon wrapped around it.
Hot dogs are usually made of beef or a mixture of beef and pork, although specialty hot dogs can be found made of chicken, turkey, or even vegetables. Hot dogs are often identified as to their primary ingredient; therefore a hot dog consisting only of beef is known as an "all beef hotdog", one consisting of turkey meat is known as a "turkey hotdog", and one made of Polish sausage is called a "Polish dog". After seasoning, curing and smoking or cooking, they are usually sold with the casing removed. They are usually grilled, steamed, or boiled before serving, although many other cooking methods exist--since the are precooked, all that is needed is to warm them. Pan frying (whole or split in half lengthwise), deep frying, broiling (over gas, wood, or electric coils), and even microwaving can be done. For example, a famous hot dog stand in Clifton, New Jersy, called Rutt's Hut, serves a "Ripper", or a hot dog that is deep fried in vegatable oil until the outside turns crispy and the skin bursts open. Specialty hot dogs cooked or served in exotic manners are quite common all over the United States, and usually have fanatic followings.
A Kosher Hot Dog is one made in accordance with Jewish dietary laws, which include a ban on pork. Kosher hot dogs are popular at some American baseball stadiums. Kosher hot dogs are similar to the kinds, kosher and non-kosher, popular in New York City, and are preferred by some consumers for their distinctive taste, texture and spicing.
Regular hot dogs are 6 inches in length (15 cm). Twelve inch (30 cm) or "footlong" hot dogs are popular in some regions.
A popular way of eating hot dogs is the French hot dog. The hot dog is placed inside a specially designed hot dog bun along with a condiment of choice, often one of several type of mustards (yellow mustard, sweet mustard, curry mustard). The bun is a long piece of bread with a hole at one end, the hole extending most of the length of the bun. The condiment is squirted into the hole, and then the hot dog is stuffed in, partially extending beyond the bun.
Europeans, when eating their hot dogs from street vendors, often eat their hot dogs on small paper plates with both mustard and ketchup, and with a small bun on the side. The hot dogs are held in the fingers and dipped into both condiments before eaten. The bread is eaten in between bites of the hot dog, and is also dipped into the condiments.
Associated with Chicago in particular is the so-called Chicago-style hot dog, traditionally a Vienna beef hot dog topped with chopped onions, diced tomatoes, a dill pickle spear, pickled hot peppers ("sport peppers"), pickle relish, mustard, and celery salt, and served on a poppy seed bun. Although outside Chicago this style of hot dog is universally associated with the city, equally popular within Chicago is a "Maxwell Street"-style hot dog, usually served on a plain bun with fried or grilled onions and mustard.
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The Ketchup Debate
Interestingly, though ketchup remains one of the most popular condiments on hot dogs, "properly made" hot dogs, like the Chicago-style, usually lack the condiment. Those who consider themselves hot dog connoisseurs are often vehemently opposed to eating (or even witnessing) hot dogs with ketchup; they think the flavor of ketchup overpowers and destroys the taste of the hot dog instead of complementing it. In some Chicago hot dog stands and restaurants, ketchup is not offered as a hot dog condiment. Furthermore, asking for ketchup may result in a rebuff by the vendor (perhaps a refusal to serve the requested order or a slamming of hands on the counter).
The National Hot Dog Council, in its recommendations for proper Hot Dog Etiquette capitulate only slightly to the public's general regard for ketchup, saying "Don't use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18."
The invention of the hot dog, like the hamburger and ice cream cone, is often attributed to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. However, similar sausages were made and consumed in Europe, particularly in Germany, as early as 1864, and the earliest example of a hot dog bun dates to New York City in the 1860s. The hot dog's association with baseball also predates the 1904 World's Fair. St. Louis Browns owner Chris von der Ahe sold them at his ballpark in the 1880s.
However, specific people were "acknowledged" for supposedly inventing the hot dog. Charles Feltman and Antonoine Feuchtwanger were among the few.
Hot dogs were frequently known as frankfurters or franks until World War I, when the name was changed due to anti-German sentiment (see freedom fries). After the war the original name returned to common usage.
Takeru Kobayashi is the world's fastest hot dog eater. In 2002 he beat his previous record by one half of a hot dog, consuming 50.5 Nathan's famous hot dogs in 12 minutes. On July 4, 2004 he set a new record when he ate 53.5 in the same amount of time.
- Hot dog history, legends and trivia
- National Hot Dog & Sausage Council
- Nathan's Famous – A very famous hot dog fast food chain (also home to the annual hot dog eating contest)
- Vegetarian hot dog recipe
- Home page for a PBS documentary about hot dogs
- A Frank Story: Biography of the Hot Dog
- The Evolution of Hot Dogs