hot dog

6 Surprising Facts About Hot Dogs

If you ask kids what they know about this American classic, they are likely to provide a basic description of the food itself. Maybe they will tell you it's an oblong shaped pork product served in a bun. Perhaps they'll talk about preferring them grilled rather than boiled, but that the microwave is a good solution when short on time. Kids who like to read about hot dogs as much as they like to eat them will enjoy gobbling up all of this fun trivia. 


hot dogs


Interesting Facts About Hot Dogs

In most cases, the more knowledge you have about something, the better you can enjoy it. Unfortunately, that is probably not the case with hot dogs! This popular sandwich is made of emulsified meat trimmings from chicken, beef, and pork. This unappetizing mixture is then combined with preservatives, seasonings, and coloring and blended into a batter. Sugar is also tossed in to add a hint of sweetness to the meat. Sound a little gross? Well, at one point in the past, hot dogs were made primarily from animal intestines, making the present-day ingredient list sound a bit better. The good news is that for those who want to save the pigs and other animals, there are plenty of vegan options that taste (almost) as good as the real thing! Although eating hot dogs as part of a regular diet is probably not the best idea, indulging every once in a while at a summer barbecue or baseball game is hard to argue against. Here are some pretty interesting tidbits about the history, pop culture, and consumption of this popular food item.


hot dogs

Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating the most hot dogs.

Joey Chestnut originally earned a living in construction management. By 2010, he established himself as a world-renown professional food eater, a job that paid him handsomely enough to leave his 9 to 5.  Joey currently holds 55 national records, most notably the Nathan's hot dog contest in 2021. He set a new record by eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. He has also won 16 Yellow Mustard Belts for eating 62 hot dogs in buns. When interviewed about the toll on his body, Chestnut admits that he pays a fairly big price for eating so many hot dogs in a short period of time. He enters each contest after a period of fasting to give his stomach room to handle all the food. Post feeding frenzy, he enters a cleansing routine and, much like people who overeat on Thanksgiving, falls into a deep state of exhaustion.


hot dog

A New York City restaurant sells the most expensive hot dog in the world for $2,300.

The restaurant, 230 Fifth, has a menu that boasts about this outrageously priced item. While the hot dog itself is only 12 inches long, the ingredients that go into this dish are out of this world. It is made of Japanese wagyu beef, aged for 60 days and enhanced with black truffle.  The hot dog is topped with onions and sauerkraut that have been marinated in Dom Perignon champagne and century-old balsamic vinegar that runs upward of $400 a bottle. Caviar is another delicacy added to the mix. The condiments are not your ordinary pantry selections purchased with a coupon. The ketchup is infused with saffron, and the mustard is imported from France. Of course, the absurdly-priced pickles are topped off with a gold leaf. Patrons interested in ordering this from the menu must do so 48 hours in advance.


hot dog

The largest hot dog ever made was 718 feet long.

In 2017, the gigantic hot dog was laid out for spectators in Flensburg, Germany. After the hot dog was presented to the crowd, authorities cut it up and served it to anyone who wanted to taste a piece of history. To celebrate the 1996 Summer Olympics, a 1,996 foot long hot dog was manufactured. Despite it's length, this dog failed to meet the world record criteria. It was served with many small buns instead of a single one, a very specific requirement for record holders.


plate of hot dogs

Americans spend more than $8 billion on hot dogs a year.

Los Angeles consumes more frankfurters than any other city, including New York and Dallas. Estimates indicate people in Los Angeles eat 30 million pounds of hot dogs per year. It is estimated that 350 million pounds are purchased at the store annually, which equates to about 9 billion hot dogs! Further data indicates that, on average, Americans eat 70 hot dogs per year. Even those who skip the prepackaged dogs at the food store seem may have a hard time resisting their delicious aroma in other places. For instance, 15% of hot dogs are purchased from street vendors and another 9% at ballparks. 


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The biggest commercially sold hot dog weighs 7 pounds.

A company called Gorilla Tango Novelty Meats, based in Chicago, manufactured "The Big Hot Dog". Intended to be shared, this beast of a dog measures 16 inches long and 4 inches in diameter. While not unhappy about setting a record, the owner's real intent was to solve a problem with inconsistent grilling. Regular hot dogs, weighing a mere 2 ounces, roll all over the grill leaving some sides charred and others undercooked. The concept behind the behemoth dog was to create even grilling across all surfaces, and then slice and serve on burger buns.


hot dogs on grill


The muddled history of hot dogs and ballparks.

When people think of the most popular food served at baseball games, hot dogs top the list. They are an obvious fan favorite due to the ease of eating them while actively cheering on a team. Vendors can move quickly through the stands, tossing them wrapped in foil to hungry patrons. But how exactly did this food item become a staple at ballparks? Well, there are a few different accounts that are rumored to be true. The most common story involves a man named Harry M. Stevens, an entrepreneur who started his business selling scorecards at ballgames in Ohio. Eventually, he expanded into concessions, focusing on selling ice cream to hot fans. When temperatures dipped, he pivoted to sausages in Vienna rolls. Resembling a dachshund in a bun, a cartoonist had some fun and dubbed the name "hot dog". 


man holding hot dog


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