Hot dog or frankfurter, frank, or wien is a cooked sausage, traditionally grilled or steamed and
served in a partially sliced bun.
Historians believe that its origins can be traced all the way back to era of the notorious 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 five years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the new world. In 1987, the city of Frankfurt celebrated the 500th birthday of the hot dog.
The people of Vienna (Wien, in German), Austria, point to the term “wiener” to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.
No matter which town might have originated this particular sausage, it’s generally agreed that German immigrants to New York were the first to sell wieners, from a pushcart, in the 1860s.
In 1871, 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 year, 1893, was an important date in hot dog history. In Chicago that year, the World’s Columbian Exposition brought hordes of visitors who consumed large quantities of sausages sold by vendors. People liked this food that was easy to eat, convenient and inexpensive.
Also in 1893, sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks.
Many hot dog historians chafe at the suggestion that today’s hot dog on a bun was introduced during the St. Louis “Louisiana Purchase Exposition” in 1904 by Bavarian concessionaire, Anton Feuchtwanger.
The man most responsible for popularizing the hot dog in the United States was Nathan Handwerker, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. An immigrant from Eastern Europe, 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.
Whether accompanied with sauerkraut, slathered in mustard or just nestled in a bun, no food represents America’s melting pot better than the well-traveled, immigrant hot dog.
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.
Typical garnishes include mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, coleslaw, cheese, chili, olives, and sauerkraut.
According to data released by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council nearly three quarters (71 percent) of Americans who eat hot dogs say they top their hot dogs with mustard, followed by ketchup (52 percent), onions (47 percent), chili (45 percent) and relish (41 percent).
The Council estimates Americans consume 20 billion hot dogs a year – more than twice the retail sales figures. That works out to about 70 hot dogs per person each year. Hot dogs are served in 95 percent of homes in the United States.
On July 4th, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs.
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 dog variants include the corn dog dipped in corn batter and deep fried and pig in a blanket wrapped in dough.
The most expensive hot dog is $169 and was sold by Tokyo Dog (USA) in Seattle, Washington, USA, on 23 February 2014. The ingredients list for the footlong frank would make a Michelin-starred chef blush: the Juuni Ban contains smoked cheese bratwurst, butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayonnaise, all served up in a brioche bun.
At 31 years old, Gorilla Tango Novelty Meats CEO and Big Hot Dog inventor Dan Abbate holds the Guinness World Record for the largest hot dog commercially available. The Big Hot Dog weighs 3.18 kg (7 lb) and measures 40.64 cm (16 in) long and 10.16 cm (4 in) in diameter. Just one of these can provide 40 regular-sized servings for a cost of for £24.60 ($40)!
The longest hot dog measured 203.80 meters (668 ft 7.62 in) and was made by Novex S.A. (Paraguay) at the Expoferia 2011, in Mariano Roque Alonso, Paraguay, on 15 July 2011. The hot dog was created to be a minimum of 200 metetrs (656 ft 2 in) to commemorate Paraguay’s 200th anniversary as a country (1811-2011).
The longest line of hot dogs measures 352.66 m (1,157 ft 0.25 in) and was achieved at an event organised by Nakakyushu Kubota (Japan) in Kikuchi, Kumamoto, Japan, on 6 November 2016.
The largest hot dog cart measures 2.81 m (9 ft 3 in) in width, 7.06 m (23 ft 2 in) in length, 3.72 m (12 ft 2.75 in) in height from the ground to the handle, and the wheels’ diameter is 1.86 m (6 ft 1.5 in). This was achieved by Marcus Daily (USA), in Union, Missouri, USA, on 28 October 2013.
The largest hot dog eating contest was achieved by 3,189 participants during an event organised by Oscar Mayer (Spain) in Puente de las Flores, Valencia, Spain, on 12 March 2011. The fastest time to eat 2 hot dogs was 47 seconds.
The fastest time to eat a hot dog with no hands is 23.12 seconds and was achieved by Peter Czerwinski aka Furious Pete (Canada), at the Guinness World Records North American Office, in New York, New York, USA, on 16 May 2016.
The most hotdogs eaten in 3 minutes was 6 and was achieved by Takeru Kobayashi (Japan) for Bikkuri Chojin 100 Special #2 (Fuji TV) at Kashiwanohakoen Sogokyogijo, Kashiwa, Japan, on 25 August 2009.
NASA has approved hot dogs as a regular item on Apollo moon flights, Skylab missions and space shuttle flights.
President Franklin Roosevelt served King George VI of England hot dogs & beer during a White House visit in 1939.
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.
The legendary baseball player Babe Ruth reportedly once ate 12 hot dogs and drank 8 bottles of soda between the two games in 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.