Best Hot Dogs - Which Will You Choose?
Hot Dog Brands - a display in a local store
History of the Hot Dog
What is a Hot Dog?
There's a whole lot of answers to this question. I'd like to take you back in time for a minute, a time when I was a little girl and every Sunday night we ate frankfurters. What a treat. My Mother would buy skinless franks at the local Karl Ehmer Butcher Store. No meat and potatoes meal, this was hot dogs and rolls and sometimes my Mother would bake them in biscuits like "pigs in a blanket", but full size. I loved Sunday nights!
You see the name on the packages of some hot dogs, "franfurter". Did you know they were called frankfurters because they were originally a sausage made in Frankfort, Germany as far back as the 13th Century?
Merriam Webster defines a franfurter as, "a cured cooked sausage (as of beef or beef and pork) that may be skinless or stuffed in a casing." Merriam Webster defines "hot dog" as a transitive verb. The freedictionary.com defines a hot dog as "A frankfurter, especially one served hot in a long soft roll."
So now you know, there is no difference between a franfurter and a hot dog, but when did the name change? Well it appears there are various explanations for the origin of the term "hot dog". One is that a journalist drew a cartoon of a dachshund sausage and couldn't spell dachshund so instead called it a "hot dog". Another is about another cartoonist who made fun of the 'weiners' sold at Coney Island saying they contained dog meat ergo "the hot dog". The last theory is in 1894 at Yale, vendors using "dog wagons" sold "hot dogs".
Of course we know whatever you call them their popularity soared once they were sold at baseball parks. But did you know in 1939 President Roosevelt served King George the VI, you guessed it, hot dogs. He wanted to give the King something that was truly American.
Hot Dog Cart in NYC
Start a Hot Dog Cart Business
Hot Dog Carts
Hot dog carts in America have been around as long as hot dogs, but they are now shipped all over the world. Remember the "dog wagons" of yesteryear? They're the hot dog wagons of today.
You can buy a hot dog cart from $400 to $5,000 and anywhere in between. Hot dog carts were designed to sell hot dogs on the street. They allowed the vendor mobility so he could take his cart anywhere he thought business might be better. Of course today there are very strict health regulations imposed on heart dog carts and it is said California has the strictest codes of all.
The nice part about hot dog carts is they are generally easy to clean and are made of materials that won't corrode and of course a propane tank to give the heat needed to keep those dogs hot. Many hot dog carts also contain some form of steamer to keep those rolls soft and hot too.
Nathan's Hot Dogs
Top Hot Dog Brands
- Oscar Mayer
- Nathan's Famous
- Hebrew National
- Ball Park Franks
- Sabrett Hot Dogs
- Hatfield Quality Meats
- Hoffman Hot Dogs
Chicago Style Hot Dog
- Buy; hot dogs, poppy seed buns,dill pickles, cucumbers (cut into spears), sliced tomatoes, pickle relish, diced onion, mustard, celery salt
- Cook your favorite hot dog in the style you like (boil, microwave of barbeque)
- Open buns and top each bun with one hot dog
- Add the toppings listed except for celery salt
- Let each person sprinkle their finished dogs with celery salt as desired
Turkey Hot Dogs
Grilled Hot Dogs recipes by the BBQ Pit Boys
Choosing, Cooking and Eating Hot Dogs
While there are several different brands of hot dogs, as noted above, everyone has their own favorite. For example, my grandchildren won't eat anything but Oscar Mayer. Your taste for a particular brand could also be influenced by where you live. Hatfield Hot Dogs are sold mostly on the East coast. A brand called Best's is found mostly on the West Coast. So aside from availability taste is your next option. Some people like spicy hot dogs, some like hot dogs with natural casings that crunch when you bite them. You can buy hot dogs with spices already added to them or if you like them plain and low calorie you can buy turkey hot dogs.
Hot dogs are versatile. You can cook them in the microwave, boil them in water, or cook them on the grill. Yes, they are pre-cooked but to all but the very young, a cold hot dog is a raw hot dog. The choice is up to you. But what happens after you cook them? Do you eat them plain or do you turn them into a gourmet meal?
Hot dog recipes abound! Many fast food restaurants cater to hot dog fanciers. How about a chili dog? A hot dog on a roll with chili, onions and a topping of cheese and mustard. Of course there's the old standby, sauerkraut! Kids love them with ketchup or mustard, or sometimes ketchup and mustard.
Cheese dogs are a favorite, so much so that Oscar Mayer makes a cheese hot dog. This one has cheese on the inside and it melts as you cook the hot dog giving you a taste of cheese in every bite.
There's also a Mexican hot dog; a grilled hot dog wrapped in bacon, on a steamed roll and topped with tomatoes, pinto beans, onions, mustard, mayo, and jalapenos. Are you getting the idea? Ideas for hot dog recipes are endless.
What Are Hot Dogs Made Of and How Are They Made?
No article on hot dogs would be complete without looking at what hot dogs are made of and how they are made. No, they are not "tube steaks", no they are not made of lips and other unmentionable parts, and no they are not full of garbage.
- Hot dogs are made mostly of meat, carefully selected meat - some pure beef, some beef and pork, and of course, some turkey or chicken.
- The next ingredient in most hot dogs is meat fat.
- Filler is added to plump out the hot dog. Either bread crumbs, flour, oatmeal, or cereal is used for filler, check the label.
- Sometimes egg whites are added.
- Lastly, spices such as onion, garlic, etc.
- The ingredients are ground together and then stuffed into a casing. The type of casing can vary from synthetic collagen casings, to natural casings which are usually animal intestines. The synthetic casing is stripped away after the hot dogs are cooked.
- The next step is the smokehouse and then cooking. They are fully cooked under particular temperature and humidity controls.
- Lastly they are placed in vacuumed sealed plastic and sent to stores.
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
the history, people, décor, and venues that make up hot dog culture
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
Now that you know all about hot dogs there's still time to train for Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Held every year on the fourth of July it has been a New York tradition, held at Coney Island, for ninety-seven years! The 2012 winner ate sixty-two hot dogs in ten minutes! The prize is $20,000, not bad for ten minutes work!
Disclaimer - I am not promoting over-eating nor am I promoting this contest in a time when there are so many people going hungry in this country. This mention is done light-heartedly and is not an endorsement of the Contest.
Hopefully most of us will stick to the traditional consumption of hot dogs and enjoy them at our summer cook outs, this year and for many years to come. Which hot dog will you choose?
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