July is National Hot Dog Month! According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, that’s actually a thing), Americans consume frankfurters in record numbers during the summer — eating over seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day — with July 4th the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.
But while we can all agree that hot dogs are hugely popular, how much do you really know our country's most beloved comfort foods? Here are some fun facts you might not know about hot dogs in America.
How did the hot dog get its name?
The term "hot dog" is credited to sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan. At a 1901 baseball game at the Polo Grounds in New York, vendors began selling hot dachsund sausages in rolls. From the press box, Dorgan could hear the vendors yelling, "Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!" He sketched a cartoon depicting the scene but wasn't sure how to spell "dachshund" so he called them simply, "hot dogs." And the rest is history.
What is the most popular condiment for a hot dog?
Research shows that for adults, mustard is the condiment of choice, while children prefer ketchup. That said, preferences do change from region to region. For instance, hot dogs in New York are generally served with a lighter mustard and steamed onions, while Chicago hot dogs can come with mustard, relish, onions, tomato slices, or pretty much anything at all. Kids were also asked what condiment they would use "if their moms weren't watching," and 25 percent opted for chocolate sauce.
Baseball fans are among the biggest consumers Americans just love digging into a dog at sporting events, especially baseball games. It's estimated that baseball fans can eat close to 18.5 million hot dogs during the Major League Baseball season.
You shouldn't use a fork to cook a hot dog You should only use a spatula or tongs to cook a hot dog. This is because they may lose moisture when they're pierced by a fork, as the juices run out.
Hot dogs are fit for visiting royalty Americans have never been shy when it comes to sharing their love of hot dogs. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt served frankfurters to King George VI, which resulted in the term 'hot dog summit'.
Hot dog eating contests are still famous Coney Island in Brooklyn New York and hot dogs go hand in hand, thanks to Nathan's Famous flagship restaurant. Defending world champion Joey Chestnut broke his own world record devouring 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes during the 2021 contest. It was the 14th time the top-ranked hot dog eater in the world won the title in the last 15 years, slinging down 26 more than second place finisher Geoffrey Esper and one more than Chestnut managed last year.
American hot dogs can be pricey According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world's most expensive hot dog was sold by Tokyo Dog in Seattle for a whopping $169!
What exactly is a hot dog made of?
For the record, hot dogs are made of "specially selected meat." And thanks to stricter U.S. Department of Agriculture rules, hot dog meat has become much leaner. A hot dog can contain up to 3.5 percent of "non-meat ingredients." But don't be scared. This is usually just some type of milk or soy product used to add to the nutritional value. Many hot dogs may be relatively high in fat and sodium, but they are also a good source of protein, iron, and other necessary vitamins. Either way, they just taste so darn good!
From sporting events to backyard BBQs, the humble hot dog is an integral part of U.S. culture — and what better way to celebrate them than pairing with a super soft, fresh Sunbeam Bread bun! Looking for some cool and creative hot dog recipes for your summer get together? Check out our Pinterest board “Favorite Grilled Hot Dogs with Sunbeam Bread” at https://pin.it/6QKMMC9. Happy eating!