Ahh, the hot dog. No matter who lays claim to the invention of this American icon, we just can’t get enough of it, especially during the summer months. We love our dogs so much that on July 23 each year, we celebrate National Hot Dog Day.
Whether plump and juicy, or long and thin, we all have our favorite type of dog, and a preferred way to “dress” it, too! Seriously, regional folk will argue as much about what makes a good hot dog as much as they will the best pizza. Some like them boiled, some fried, some grilled, some smoked.
The hot dog has a different name in several US regions, including frankfurter, frank, weiner, weenie, grandstander, flaunter, footlong, bowwow, link, barker, red hot (for spicy ones), or simply, dog.
Bun styles can vary, as well, but it really boils down to the dressing of a dog that makes it so special. Walk into any New York hot dog shop (or up to a cart), for example, and you’ll get a wealth of options. The most popular? Steamed onions, sauerkraut, and yellow mustard.
At Fenway Park the all-classic style is topped with mustard and relish. Head to Texas, and you’ll find the chili dog, topped with cheese and jalapenos is the top choice. In Atlanta, a dog that’s been “dragged through the garden” is topped with coleslaw.
There are also gourmet dogs, which feature anything from slow-roasted peppers and chilies to tomatoes and fresh herbs. Yes, even some higher-end restaurants feature highly detailed (and pricey) hot dogs.
There are lots of DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to making and eating the classic hot dog. Most important is that you’re to dress the hot dog, not the bun. That is, unless you’re rolling the dog in a slice of American cheese.
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, hot dogs are supposed to always be eaten with your hands, and should never be served on fancy dinnerware. The council also says that ketchup is a no-no for adults, and that one should consume a dog in no more than five bites (7 bites if it’s a footlong).
The way we see it, though, there really isn’t any wrong way to eat a frankfurter, er weiner, er barker. As is evidenced by our own Hot Dog Day celebration at the Retro Planet offices (see the pics below!).
How about you? What do you call a hot dog? Do you like them boiled, grilled, or what? And what’s your favorite way to dress the dog?
How do you celebrate the hot dog? Share in the comments below.