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Hot dog

Hot dog
Cooked hot dog on bun with mustard garnish
Alternative names Frankfurters, Frankfurts, franks, wieners, weenies, tube steak, sausage
Place of origin Germany
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredients Pork, beef, chicken, or combinations thereof, and bread
Variations Multiple
Food energy
(per serving)
210[1] kcal
Other information Hot dogs are often red, but may be brown
Cookbook:Hot dog 

A hot dog (also spelled hotdog) is a cooked sausage, traditionally grilled or steamed and served in a sliced bun as a sandwich.[2][3][4][5] Hot dog variants include the corn dog dipped in corn batter and deep fried, pigs in blankets wrapped in dough, baked, and served as hors d'oeuvres, and Beanie Weenies chopped and mixed with baked beans. Typical hot dog garnishes include mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, cheese, chili, and sauerkraut.

The sausages were culturally imported from Germany and popularized in the United States, where they were a working class street food sold at hot dog stands that came to be associated with baseball and America. Hot dog preparation and condiment styles also vary regionally across the United States. The hot dog's cultural traditions include the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and Wienermobile.


  • History 1
  • Etymology 2
  • General description 3
    • Ingredients 3.1
    • Commercial preparation 3.2
      • Natural casing hot dogs 3.2.1
      • Skinless hot dogs 3.2.2
    • Home cooking hot dogs 3.3
  • Health effects 4
    • Choking risk 4.1
  • In the United States 5
    • Hot dog restaurants 5.1
    • Condiments 5.2
  • In Canada 6
  • Hot dogs outside North America 7
  • Records 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Hot dogs cooked, served, and eaten at Coney Island in 1940

Claims about hot dog invention are difficult to assess, as stories assert the creation of the sausage, the placing of the sausage (or another kind of sausage) on bread or a bun as finger food, the popularization of the existing dish, or the application of the name "hot dog" to a sausage and bun combination most commonly used with ketchup or mustard and sometimes relish.

The word frankfurter comes from Franconian city of Coburg, is said to have brought the Frankfurter Würstchen to Vienna, where he added beef to the mixture and simply called it Frankfurter.[8] Nowadays, in German speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen (Würstchen means "little sausage"), in differentiation to the original pork only mixture from Frankfurt. In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.

Around 1870, on Coney Island, German immigrant Charles Feltman began selling sausages in rolls.[9][10][11]

Carts selling frankfurters in New York City, circa 1906. The price is listed as "3 cents each or 2 for 5 cents".
Others are credited with first serving hot dogs on rolls. A Bavarian immigrant named Feuchtwanger allegedly pioneered the practice in the American midwest; there are several versions of the story with varying details. According to one account, Antonoine Feuchtwanger's wife proposed the use of a bun in 1880: Feuchtwanger sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, and provided gloves to his customers so that they could handle the sausages without burning their hands. Losing money when customers did not return the gloves, Feuchtwanger's wife suggested serving the food in a roll instead.[12] In another version, Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger served sausages in rolls at the World's Fair–either the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago or the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis[13]–again allegedly because the white gloves provided to customers to protect their hands were being kept as souvenirs.[14]

The association between hot dogs and baseball began as early as 1893 with Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who owned not only the St. Louis Browns, but also an amusement park.[15]

Another claim of inventing the hot dog is told by Harry M. Stevens, an American sports concessionaire whose vendors sold German sausages and rolls to spectators at the old New York Polo Grounds during the winter. He called them "Dachshund sandwiches", but a New York Post cartoonist "couldn't spell dachshund, so when he drew the cartoon, he called them hot dogs."[16]

In 1916, a Polish American employee of Feltman's named Nathan Handwerker was encouraged by Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, both working as waiters/musicians, to go into business in competition with his former employer.[17] Handwerker undercut Feltman's by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.[17]

At an earlier time in food regulation, when the hot dog was suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon's smocks were seen eating at Nathan's Famous to reassure potential customers.[14]


Dog Factory (1904), a short film that joked with contemporary dual connotations for the word "dog"

The term dog has been used as a synonym for sausage since 1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845.[18] In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common.[19][20] The suspicion that sausages contained dog meat was "occasionally justified".[21]

According to a myth, the use of the complete phrase hot dog in reference to sausage was coined by the newspaper cartoonist New York Giants baseball game at the Polo Grounds.[18] However, TAD's earliest usage of hot dog was not in reference to a baseball game at the Polo Grounds, but to a bicycle race at Madison Square Garden, in The New York Evening Journal December 12, 1906, by which time the term hot dog in reference to sausage was already in use.[18][22] In addition, no copy of the apocryphal cartoon has ever been found.[23]

The earliest known usage of hot dog in clear reference to sausage, found by Fred R. Shapiro, appeared in the December 31, 1892, issue of the Paterson (New Jersey) Daily Press.[24] The story concerned a local traveling vendor, Thomas Francis Xavier Morris, also known as "Hot Dog Morris".[25]

Somehow or other a frankfurter and a roll seem to go right to the spot where the void is felt the most. The small boy has got on such familiar terms with this sort of lunch that he now refers to it as "hot dog." "Hey, Mister, give me a hot dog quick," was the startling order that a rosy-cheeked gamin hurled at the man as a Press reporter stood close by last night. The "hot dog" was quickly inserted in a gash in a roll, a dash of mustard also splashed on to the "dog" with a piece of flat whittled stick, and the order was fulfilled.

Other early uses of hot dog in reference to sausage appeared in the New Brunswick (New Jersey) Daily Times (May 20, 1893), the New York World (May 26, 1893), and the Knoxville (Tennessee) Journal (September 28, 1893).[22]

General description

Grilled hot dogs


Common hot dog ingredients include:[26]

Pork and beef are the traditional meats used in hot dogs. Less expensive hot dogs are often made from chicken or turkey, using low-cost mechanically separated poultry. Hot dogs often have high sodium, fat and nitrite content, ingredients linked to health problems. Changes in meat technology and dietary preferences have led manufacturers to use turkey, chicken, vegetarian meat substitutes, and to lower the salt content.

If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, "wieners" tend to contain pork and are blander, while "franks" tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned.

Commercial preparation

The making of a Hormel hot dog (1964)

Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are "skinless" as opposed to more expensive "natural casing" hot dogs.

Natural casing hot dogs

As with most sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing to be cooked. Traditional casing is made from the small intestines of sheep. The products are known as "natural casing" hot dogs or frankfurters.[27] These hot dogs have firmer texture and a "snap" that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten.[27]

Kosher casings are expensive in commercial quantities in the US, so kosher hot dogs are usually skinless or made with reconstituted collagen casings.[27]

Skinless hot dogs

"Skinless" hot dogs must use a casing in the cooking process when the product is manufactured, but the casing is usually a long tube of thin cellulose that is removed between cooking and packaging. This process was invented in Chicago in 1925[28] by Erwin O. Freund, founder of Visking which would later become Viskase Companies.[29]

The first skinless hot dog casings were produced by Freund's new company under the name "Nojax", short for "no jackets" and sold to local Chicago sausage makers.

Skinless hot dogs vary in the texture of the product surface but have a softer "bite" than natural casing hot dogs. Skinless hot dogs are more uniform in shape and size than natural casing hot dogs and less expensive.

Home cooking hot dogs

Hot dogs are prepared and eaten in a variety of ways. The wieners may be boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, broiled, baked, or microwaved.[30] The cooked wiener may be served on a bun (usually topped with condiments), or it may be used as an ingredient in another dish.

Health effects

United States Department of Agriculture 1964 film on hot dog and other meat inspection

Unlike other sausages which may be sold uncooked, hot dogs are cooked before packaging. Hot dogs can be eaten without additional cooking, although they are usually warmed before serving. Because an unopened, packaged hot dog can have Listeria bacteria that cause listeriosis, it is safer to heat them, especially for pregnant women and those with suppressed immune systems.[31]

An American Institute for Cancer Research report found that consuming one 50-gram serving of processed meat — about one hot dog — every day increases risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent.[32][33] The Cancer Project group filed a class-action lawsuit demanding warning labels on packages and at sporting events.[34] Hot dogs are high in fat and salt and have preservatives sodium nitrate and nitrite, which are possible contributors to nitrate-containing chemicals believed to cause cancer.[35] According to the AICR, the average risk of colorectal cancer is 5.8 percent, but 7 percent when a hot dog is consumed daily over years.[35]

Hot dogs have relatively low heterocyclic amines (HCA) levels compared to other types of ready-to-eat meat products, because they are manufactured at low temperatures.[36]

Choking risk

Hot dogs present a significant choking risk, especially for children. A study in the US found that 17% of food-related asphyxiations among children younger than 10 years of age were caused by hot dogs.[37] Their size, shape and texture make them difficult to expel from the windpipe. This risk can be reduced by cutting a hot dog into small pieces or lengthwise strips before serving to young children. It is suggested that redesign of size, shape and texture would reduce the risk.[38] One pediatric emergency doctor comments that a stuck hot dog is "almost impossible" to dislodge from a child's windpipe.[38]

In the United States

A "home-cooked" hot dog with ketchup, mustard, raw onion, fried onion, artificial bacon bits, and pickle relish

In the US, "hot dog" may refer to just the sausage or to the combination of a sausage in a bun. Many nicknames for hot dogs have popped up over the years. A hot dog can often be seen under the names of frankfurter, frank, red hot, wiener, weenie, durger, coney, or just "dog".

Hot dog restaurants

Hot dog stands and trucks sell hot dogs at street and highway locations. Wandering hot dog vendors sell their product in baseball parks. At convenience stores, hot dogs are kept heated on rotating grills. 7-Eleven sells the most grilled hot dogs in North America — 100 million annually.[39] Hot dogs are also common on restaurants' children's menus.


A Detroit Coney Island hot dog with chili, onion, and mustard

Hot dogs may be served plain, but are commonly served with a variety of condiments, including ketchup, mustard, chile con carne, pickle relish, sauerkraut, onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and chili peppers.

In 2005, the US-based National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (part of the American Meat Institute) found mustard to be the most popular condiment, with 32% of respondents preferring it; 23% of Americans said they preferred ketchup; chili con carne came in third at 17%, followed by relish at 9% and onions at 7%. Southerners showed the strongest preference for chili, while Midwesterners showed the greatest affinity for ketchup.[40]

Condiments vary across the country. All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs are topped with mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions, sport peppers, bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt, but they exclude ketchup.

Many variations are named after regions other than the one in which they are popular. Italian hot dogs popular in New Jersey include peppers, onions, and potatoes. Meaty Michigan hot dogs are popular in upstate New York (as are white hots), while beefy Coney Island hot dogs are popular in Michigan. In New York City, conventional hot dogs are available on Coney Island, as are bagel dogs. Hot wieners, or weenies, are a staple in Rhode Island where they are sold at restaurants with the misleading name "New York System."[41] Texas hot dogs are spicy variants found in upstate New York and Pennsylvania (and as "all the way dogs" in New Jersey), but not Texas.

Some baseball parks have signature hot dogs, such as Fenway Franks at Fenway Park in Boston and Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Fenway signature is that the hot dog is boiled and grilled, and then served on a New England-style bun, covered with ketchup and relish. Often during Red Sox games, vendors traverse the stadium selling the hot dogs plain, giving customers the choice of adding the condiments.

In Canada

Skinner's Restaurant, in Lockport, Manitoba is reputed to be Canada's oldest hot dog outlet in continuous operation, founded in 1929, by Jim Skinner Sr.[42][43] Hotdogs served at Skinners are European style footlongs with natural casings, manufactured by Winnipeg Old Country Sausage in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Half Moon Drive In, also in Lockport, Manitoba and located directly across the river from Skinners, was established in 1938 by brothers Peter and Louie Kosowicz.[44] The original drive in consisted of three wooden buildings shaped like semicircles—one was for takeout, one was for dine-in, and the third was a dance hall and later an arcade.[44] The Half Moon also serves European-style wieners manufactured by Winnipeg Old Country Sausage.[44] One of the most popular items is the Moon Dog, consisting of cheese, bacon, fried onions, pickles and mustard, and the Half Moon serves about 2000 on an average summer weekend day.[44]

Hot dogs outside North America

In most of the world, "hot dog" is recognized as a sausage in a bun, but the type varies considerably. The name is applied to something that would not be described as a hot dog in North America. For example, in New Zealand, it refers to a battered sausage, often on a stick (which is known as a corn dog in North America), and the version in a bun is called an "American hot dog".


The world's longest hot dog, at 60 meters

The world's longest hot dog created was 60 meters (197 ft), which rested within a 60.3-meter (198 ft) bun. The hot dog was prepared by Shizuoka Meat Producers for the All-Japan Bread Association, which baked the bun and coordinated the event, including official measurement for the world record. The hot dog and bun were the center of a media event in celebration of the Association's 50th anniversary on August 4, 2006, at the Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

A hot dog prepared by head chef Joe Calderone in Manhattan sold for US$69 during the National Hot Dog Day in 2010, making it the most expensive hot dog sold at the time. The hot dog was topped with truffle oil, duck foie gras, and truffle butter.[45]

On May 31, 2012, moose cheese from Sweden, sweetened dried cranberries, basil olive oil/pear-cranberry-coconut balsamic viniagrette, and ground peppercorn. Proceeds from the sale of each 1.4 kg (3 lb) super dog are donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.[46]

See also


  1. ^ Brady, William (11 June 1929). "Personal Health Service". Amsterdam Evening Recorder. p. 5. 
  2. ^ "Hot Dogs Chain Store Basis". Los Angeles Times. 11 October 1925. p. 18. 
  3. ^ "Anniversary of Hot Dog, Bun.". Binghamton (NY) Sunday Press. 29 November 1964. p. 10D. 
  4. ^ Zwilling, Leonard (27 September 1988). "Trail of Hot Dog Leads Back to 1880's". New York Times. p. A34. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Lavin, Cheryl (24 September 1980). "Hot dog! 2 mustard moguls who relish their work.". Chicago Tribune. p. E1. 
  6. ^  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Schmidt 2003:241
  9. ^ Immerso 2002:23
  10. ^ Sterngass 2001:239
  11. ^ "History of the Hot Dog" page of
  12. ^ KiteFly Web Design - "Hot Dog History". Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  13. ^ McCullough 2000:240
  14. ^ a b Jakle & Sculle 1999:163–164
  15. ^ McCollough 2006:Frankfurter, she wrote: Hot dog shrouded in mystery
  16. ^ Collins, Gail (15 January 1985). Hot Dog,' This Company Says, After Being in Business Almost 100 Years"'". Los Angeles Times. United Press International. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Immerso 2002:131
  18. ^ a b c Wilton 2004:58–59
  19. ^ "Germany's dog meat market; Consumption of Canines and Horses Is on the Increase." (PDF). The New York Times. June 23, 1907. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  20. ^ "Monthly consular and trade reports" 64 (240-243). United States Bureau of Manufactures, Bureau of Foreign Commerce, Dept. of Commerce; Bureau Of Manufactures, Bureau Of Foreign Commerce; Bureau Of Statistics, Dept. of Commerce and Labor. 1900. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  21. ^ "Hot Dog" at Online Etymology Dictionary
  22. ^ a b Popik 2004:"Hot Dog (Polo Grounds myth & original monograph)"
  23. ^ "Hot Dog". Snopes. July 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  24. ^  
  25. ^ "Searching history for hot dog's origin". 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  26. ^ National Hot Dog and Sausage Council glossary of sausages Retrieved August 15, 2011
  27. ^ a b c Levine 2005:It's All in How the Dog Is Served
  28. ^ Zeldes, Leah A. (2010-07-08). "Know your wiener!". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide, Inc. Retrieved 2010-07-31. 
  29. ^ "Viskase: About Us". Viskase Companies, Inc. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  30. ^ Cooper, Stacy. "Hot Dogs, Get Your Hot Dogs: all about hot dogs, wieners, franks and sausages". Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  31. ^ "Listeria and food safety". Health Canada. 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  32. ^ AICR Statement: Hot Dogs and Cancer Risk, American Institute for Cancer Research, July 22, 2009.
  33. ^ Attack ad targets hot dogs as cancer risk, Canadian Broadcasting Company, August 27, 2008.
  34. ^ Hot dog cancer-warning labels sought in lawsuit: Healthy Cleveland, The Plain Dealer, August 29, 2009. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  35. ^ a b New Attack Ad Targets Hot Dogs, Citing Dubious Cancer Risk, Fox News, August 26, 2008.
  36. ^ "A Hot Dog Healthier Than Chicken? Could Be...". 2011-03-23. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  37. ^ Harris, Carole Stallings; Baker, Susan P.; Smith, Gary A.; Harris, Richard M. (May 1984). "Childhood Asphyxiation by Food: A National Analysis and Overview". JAMA 251 (17): 2231–2235.  
  38. ^ a b Szabo, Liz (22 February 2010). "Pediatricians seek choke-proof hot dog". USA Today. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  39. ^ "7-Eleven About Us .. Fun Facts". 
  40. ^ "Fire in their Bellies: Sixty Percent of Americans Prefer Hot Dogs Grilled, New Hot Dog Council Poll Data Shows Mustard Takes ‘Gold Medal’ in Topping Poll". National Hot Dog & Sausage Council; American Meat Institute. 25 May 2005. Archived from the original on 16 June 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  41. ^ Lukas, Paul. "The Big Flavors Of Little Rhode Island." The New York Times. November 13, 2002.
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ a b c d
  45. ^ Cook, Wendy (28 July 2010). "$69 Hot Dog (Photos, Video)". National Ledger. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  46. ^ Pierleoni, Allen (1 June 2012). "Sacramento claims record with $145.49 hot dog". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 


  • "Anniversary of Hot Dog, Bun". Binghamton (NY) Sunday Press. 1964-11-29. p. 10D. 
  • Brady, William (1929-06-11). "Personal Health Service". Amsterdam Evening Recorder. p. 5. 
  • "Hot Dogs Chain Store Basis". Los Angeles Times. 1925-10-11. p. 18. 
  • Immerso, Michael (2002). Coney Island: The People's Playground. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.  
  • Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A. (1999). Fast Food. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.  
  • Lavin, Cheryl (1980-11-24). "Hot dog! 2 mustard moguls who relish their work". The Chicago Tribune. p. E1. 
  • Levine, Ed (2005-05-25). "It's All in How the Dog Is Served". The New York Times. 
  • McCollough, J. Brady (2006-04-02). "Frankfurter, she wrote: Hot dog shrouded in mystery". The Kansas City Star. 
  • McCullough, Edo (2000) [1957]. Good Old Coney Island: A Sentimental Journey into the Past. New York: Fordham University Press.  
  • Popik, Barry (2004-07-15). "Hot Dog (Polo Grounds myth & original monograph)". The Big Apple. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  • Schmidt, Gretchen (2003). German Pride: 101 Reasons to Be Proud You're German. New York: Citadel Press.  
  • Sterngass, Jon (2001). First Resorts: Pursuing Pleasure at Saratoga Springs, Newport & Coney Island. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.  
  • Wilton, David (2004). Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  
  • Zwilling, Leonard (1988-09-27). "Trail of Hot Dog Leads Back to 1880's". The New York Times. p. A34. 

External links

  • Home page for a PBS documentary about hot dogs
  • USDA Fact Sheet on hot dogs
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