Several weeks ago we wrote about hamburgers. This past weekend at a family BBQ as I was chowing down on my second heavenly hot dog, I thought it was time to talk about those deliciously delightful dogs! Let’s all say, Hooray for hot dogs!

Yes, I know hot dogs are usually high in sodium and fat, but boy are they yummy! And it’s ok to splurge once in a while, amiright?

OK, are you a big hot dog fan? What do you like to put on your dog? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment in the section toward the bottom of the page.

By The Numbers

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates Americans purchase 350 million pounds of hot dogs at retail stores, which comes to about 9 billion hot dogs. However, it is difficult to calculate the actual number of hot dogs Americans eat, since so many are eaten at sporting events, local picnics, and carnivals.

The Council estimates Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year – more than twice the actual retail sales figures. That works out to about 70 hot dogs per person each year! Hot dogs are served in 95% of homes in the United States. Fifteen percent of hot dogs are purchased from street vendors and 9% are purchased at ballparks, according to statistics from the Heartland Buffalo Company.

History Of The Hot Dog

According to, many historians believe that the hot dog’s humble origins go back to the era of the Roman emperor Nero, whose cook, Gaius, may have linked the first sausages.

After that, the sausage traveled across Europe, making its way eventually to present-day Germany. The Germans took to the sausage as their own, creating scores of different versions to be enjoyed with beer and kraut.

It is said that the frankfurter was developed in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1487. However, the people of Vienna (Wien, in German), Austria, point to the term “wiener” to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.

But it’s generally agreed that German immigrants to New York were the first to sell wieners, from a pushcart, in the 1860s. In 1867, Charles Feltman, a German-American restaurateur opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in a milk roll during his first year in business.

The man most responsible for popularizing the hot dog in the United States was Nathan Handwerker, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. He and his wife Ida borrowed $300 from friends to start their business on Coney Island in 1916. By the Depression, Nathan’s hot dogs were known throughout the United States.

As for how the name “hot dog” came into being, according to, many attribute it to a cartoonist named Tad Dorgan, who drew a cartoon depicting the “hot dachshund sausages” being sold at a New York baseball game and called them “hot dogs” because he could not spell dachshund.

What’s In A Hot Dog?

According to a National Hot Dog and Sausage Council survey, 72% of Americans said that the ingredients in a hot dog are a “mystery” to them! That, the council pointed out, is despite the fact that hot dog producers are required to list ingredients on product labels.

The majority of Americans who do know what’s in their hot dog prefer them to be made with beef, with 61% saying beef hot dogs are their favorite, according to the council, followed by pork (12%) and then turkey (7%).

The most common spices used in hot dogs include pepper, garlic, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, paprika, and allspice, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

Some like their hot dogs boiled, steamed, microwaved, pan fried or even deep fried, but the majority of Americans (63%) prefer their hot dogs grilled, according to the council.

For more details on what’s in your dog, check out this National Hot Dog and Sausage Council infographic.

What Do People Put On Their Dogs?

According to data released by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, nearly three quarters (71%) of Americans who eat hot dogs say they top their hot dogs with mustard, followed by ketchup (52%), onions (47%), chili (45%), and relish (41%).

Other toppings include sauerkraut, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, bacon, and chili peppers, depending on where you live.

Condiment preferences vary across the United States. Southerners enjoy chili, cheese, and coleslaw, while Midwesterners love their ketchup.

Speaking of ketchup on hot dogs, according to a survey from the council, 71% think ketchup is acceptable, while 21% say it’s unacceptable. In general, younger people are more accepting of ketchup than other groups.

Hot Dogs Among The Rich And Famous

Some may think of the hot dog as not being a “classy” cuisine, but that hasn’t stopped it from being served and eaten by many famous people, as per

  • President Franklin Roosevelt served King George VI of England hot dogs and beer during a White House visit in 1939. The king ate two.
  • When Queen Elizabeth II held a royal banquet for the American Bar Association in 1957, she placed hot dogs on the menu.
  • First Lady Rosalynn Carter served hot dogs at a White House picnic in 1977.
  • Babe Ruth reportedly once ate 12 hot dogs and drank 8 bottles of soda between the two games of a double header. Unsurprisingly, he suffered from a severe case of indigestion and was rushed to the hospital.
  • Nathan’s dogs were reportedly gangster Al Capone’s favorite food. (OK, so Capone is more infamous than famous …)
  • Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ate a hot dog during the first visit of a Soviet Premier to the US in 1959 and admitted that Americans had the Soviets beat at sausage making.

Hot Dogs Away From Home

When all travel restrictions are lifted, we know you can’t wait to go to foreign countries and eat a hot dog there. So to help you with some potential language barriers, here are some translations, from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:

  • Spanish – Perrito Caliente
  • Italian – Caldo Cane
  • French – Chien Chaud
  • German – Heisser Hund, or Wurst
  • Portuguese – Cachorro Quente
  • Swedish – Korv, or Varmkorv
  • Norwegian and Danish – Grillpolser
  • Czech – Park v Rohliku
  • Dutch – Worstjes
  • Finnish – Makkarat

Joey Chestnut – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

And how could we have a blog on hot dogs without mentioning Joey Chestnut, the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) of hot dog eating. This year, at the annual Nathan’s Famous 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, Joey beat his own record, consuming one hot dog more than he did last year to reach a total of 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. That’s about one hot dog every 12 to 13 seconds for 10 minutes straight. My kids and I love to watch this event every year, but honestly, it makes me feel like gagging! But, hey, more power to those competitive eaters!

Record Your Hot Dog Purchases

Now that we made your mouth water, you’re probably going to run out and buy some hot dogs, buns, and condiments for your next BBQ. Please remember to record all of these purchases!

Thanks, and enjoy your dogs!

Best wishes,


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