Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ, cheering for your home team at the baseball stadium or heading to the amusement park for some thrills, no food steals the spotlight at every summer occasion quite like the hot dog. So it only makes sense that America’s favorite outdoor snack is celebrated smack dab in the middle of the sunny season! National Hot Dog Day is coming up on July 23, so grab a frank and enjoy these fun facts about hot dogs, courtesy of the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council:
- The exact history of the hot dog still remains unclear. It’s believed that the franks we know and love today were first made in Germany or Austria in the 15th century.
- Legend has it that hot dogs became popular in America when a German immigrant sold them from a cart in New York City’s Bowery District.
- The first Coney Island hot dog stand was opened in 1871 by Charles Feltman. As the frank became even more widely popular, it started being served at baseball parks in 1893.
- The name “hot dog” is said to have originated when a cartoonist who, wanting to create a cartoon about the “red-hot dachshund dogs” (as they were once called) sold at New York carts, was unable to spell the word “dachshund” and referred to them as “hot dogs” instead.
- In 2012, supermarket shoppers in the U.S. spent more than $1.7 billion on hot dogs. Baseball fans are expected to eat more than 20 million hot dogs during the 2013 season.
- New York- and Chicago-style hot dogs are the most popular hot dogs in the U.S., but other cities and states have their own varieties too. Other favorites include the Kansas City Dog, the Sonoran Dog, the Michigan Coney Island Dog, the Southern-style hot dog and the West Virginia Dog.
- The Chicago-style hot dog was discovered when rival Chicago vendors tried to compete against each other by adding more and more toppings to their hot dogs.
- Chicago-style hot dogs were once known as “Depression sandwiches” because they were cheap yet filling.
- Today’s Chicago-style hot dog is traditionally served on a steamed poppy seed bun and topped with mustard, raw onions, bright green relish, tomato slices, pickles, sport peppers and celery salt.
What’s your favorite summertime hot dog topping?