A cooked hot dog on a bun garnished with mustard
|Alternative name(s)||Frankfurters, Frankfurts, franks, wieners, weenies|
|Main ingredient(s)||Pork, beef, chicken, or combinations thereof, and bread|
|Other information||Hot dogs are often pink, but may be brown|
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2012)|
A hot dog is a fully cooked sausage, traditionally grilled or steamed. It is typically served in a sliced bun, as a corn dog dipped in corn batter and deep fried, or as an ingredient in other dishes like beanie weenies. It is often garnished with mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, cheese, chili and/or sauerkraut.
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 Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages similar to hot dogs originated. These sausages, Frankfurter Würstchen, were known since the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King. Wiener refers to Vienna, Austria, whose German name is "Wien", home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef (cf. Hamburger, whose name also derives from a German-speaking city). Johann Georg Lahner, a 18th/19th century butcher from the 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. 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.
Others have supposedly invented the hot dog. The idea of a hot dog on a bun is ascribed to the wife of a German named Antonoine Feuchtwanger, who sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, in 1880, because his customers kept taking the white gloves handed to them for eating without burning their hands. Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger, a Bavarian sausage seller, is said to have 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–again allegedly because the white gloves he gave to customers so that they could eat his hot sausages in comfort began to disappear as souvenirs.
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."
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. Handwerker undercut Feltman's by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.
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. In the early 20th century, consumption of dog meat in Germany was common. The suspicion that sausages contained dog meat was "occasionally justified".
According to a myth, the use of the complete phrase hot dog in reference to sausage was coined by the newspaper cartoonist Thomas Aloysius "TAD" Dorgan around 1900 in a cartoon recording the sale of hot dogs during a New York Giants baseball game at the Polo Grounds. 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. In addition, no copy of the apocryphal cartoon has ever been found.
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. The story concerned a local traveling vendor, Thomas Francis Xavier Morris, also known as "Hot Dog Morris".
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).
Common hot dog ingredients include:
- Meat trimmings and fat
- Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
- Preservatives (cure) - typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite
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.
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. These hot dogs have firmer texture and a "snap" that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten.
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 by Erwin O. Freund, founder of Visking which would later become Viskase Companies.
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. The cooked wiener may be served on a bun (usually topped with condiments), or it may be used as an ingredient in another dish.
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.
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. The Cancer Project group filed a class-action lawsuit demanding warning labels on packages and at sporting events. 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. 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.
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. 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. One pediatric emergency doctor comments that a stuck hot dog is "almost impossible" to dislodge from a child's windpipe.
In the United States
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. Hot dogs are also common on restaurants' children's menus.
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.
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. 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 Fenway-style, 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.
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 created was 60 metres (197 ft), which rested within a 60.3-metre (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.
On May 31, 2012, Guinness World Records certified the world record for most expensive hot dog at $145.49. The “California Capitol City Dawg”, served at Capitol Dawg in Sacramento, California, features a grilled 18" all-beef in natural casing frank from Chicago, served on a fresh baked herb and oil focaccia roll, spread with white truffle butter, then grilled. The record breaking hot dog is topped with a whole grain mustard from France, garlic & herb mayonnaise, sauteed chopped shallots, organic mixed baby greens, maple syrup marinated/fruitwood smoked uncured bacon from New Hampshire, chopped tomato, expensive moose cheese from Sweden, sweetened dried cranberries, basil olive oil/pear-cranberry-coconut balsamic viniagrette, and ground peppercorn. Proceeds from the sale of each 3 lb. super dog are donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
- Advanced meat recovery
- Mechanically separated meat
- Sausage bun
- Sausage sandwich
- Vienna sausage
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