Whether you prefer “just mustard“ or one with "the works," from sea to shining sea, there’s no food more quintessentially American than hot dogs.

Even professional sausage makers often steer clear of hot dogs in their regular rotation. For one, it’s hard to find that one style that pleases everyone — then there’s the whole business of achieving the right texture, no easy feat for the faint of heart. Just ask Brent Young of The Meat Hook, who is also a partner at Ripper’s, a hot dog haven in Rockaway Beach: “It’s not about your skill level, it’s that you don’t have $50,000 to embark on the project of making hot dogs.” What he is referring to is the commercial equipment that he found he needed to rely on to achieve hot dog perfection. Besides, this is one sausage you can find in every supermarket throughout the land, and in a great many options, too. Herewith are just some of the ways in which you’ll find hot dogs across the land.

Who eats the most hot dogs? In 2015, Americans spent over 2.5 billion dollars on hot dogs in supermarkets, and Americans eat around 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone!

  • In the 1929 Disney animated short film, Mickey Mouse runs a hot dog stand and says his first spoken words, “Hot dogs! Hot dogs!”
  • There are several conflicting stories about the invention of the hot dog, but one likely origin was in the late 1800s, when German immigrant Charles Feltman sold sausages in rolls at Coney Island, New York.
  • In 2007, Joey Chestnut broke the hot dog-eating contest world record by consuming 66 hot dogs and buns in only 12 minutes.
  • When King George VI and his wife, Elizabeth, visited the United States in 1939, the first time a British monarch had set foot in the United States, President Franklin Roosevelt served hot dogs and beer at their state dinner. Those were the king and queen’s first hot dogs and helped improve their image with the American public and its support for aiding the British in World War II.
  • The longest hot dog in the world was 668 feet and weighed 260 pounds, made in 2011 in Paraguay for the country’s 200th birthday.
  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin ate hot dogs on their way to the moon, during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.

THE TOP 10 HOT DOG-CONSUMING AMERICAN CITIES

  1. LOS ANGELES
  2. NEW YORK CITY
  3. PHOENIX
  4. PHILADELPHIA
  5. BOSTON
  6. ATLANTA
  7. DETROIT
  8. CHICAGO
  9. WASHINGTON, D.C.
  10. TAMPA
(According to consumption stats taken from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council and the Nielson Company.)

HOT DOG STYLES AROUND THE UNITED STATES

cleveland polish boy hot dogs

THE CLEVELAND POLISH BOY is a grilled kielbasa topped with coleslaw, french fries, and barbecue sauce.

scrambled dog hot dogs

A SCRAMBLED DOG, found in Georgia, is chopped up and covered in chili, pickles, and onions and piled high with oyster crackers.

the half-smoke hot dogs

THE HALF-SMOKE, from Washington, D.C., is a spicy hot dog-sausage hybrid, topped with mustard, onions, and chili.

maine red snapper hot dogs

MAINE RED SNAPPER, so named for its atomic red (thanks to food coloring) hot dog, in its ultra-snappy lamb casing, is tucked into a top-split roll (the same for the iconic lobster roll) and slathered with the state’s other claim to fame: Raye’s Down East Schooner yellow mustard.

seattle-style hot dogs

THE SEATTLE-STYLE hot dog is a grilled frank, split in half, served with cream cheese and onions in a bun.

texas dog hot dogs

TEXAS DOG keeps it on the simple side with a grilled frank (the thicker kind) cradled in a soft bun and loaded with salsa, melted yellow cheese, and sliced jalapeños (beef chili optional) — often with tortilla chips and more melted cheese alongside.

sonoran hot dogs

SONORAN HOT DOGS, from Arizona, are wrapped in bacon, served in a bolillo roll, and topped with pinto beans, grilled onions, tomatoes, jalapeño sauce, mayo, mustard, and cheese — usually followed by a nap (and then an antacid).

chicago dog hot dogs

CHICAGO DOGS feature a steamed frankfurter and poppy-seed bun, and are “dragged through the garden” with chopped onions, mustard, relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, and celery salt. Ketchup is unacceptable!

Text excerpted from Home Sausage Making, 4th Edition, © 1981, 1987, 2003, 2017 by Storey Publishing, LLC. Illustrations by Elena Bulay. All rights reserved.

Charles G. Reavis

The late Charles G. Reavis authored the original edition of Home Sausage Making, published in 1981. He was a chef and writer, and an English teacher in Endwell,… See Bio

Evelyn Battaglia

Evelyn Battaglia has completly updated Home Sausage Making for the 4th Edition, along with Mary Reilly. Battaglia was Executive Editor of Cookbooks and Special Interest Publications… See Bio

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Home Sausage Making, 4th Edition

by Charles G. Reavis , Evelyn Battaglia and Mary Reilly

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