Monday, September 28, 2015

One of America's Favorites - Hot Dogs

A hot dog (also spelled hotdog) is a cooked sausage, traditionally grilled or steamed and served in a
A cooked hot dog on bun with mustard garnish
sliced bun as a sandwich. There are also Hot dog variants that include the corn dog and pigs in blankets. Typical hot dog garnishes include mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, cheese, chili, and sauerkraut.

The sausages were culturally imported from Germany and popularized in the United States, where they were a working class street food sold at hot dog stands that came to be associated with baseball and America. Hot dog preparation and condiment styles also vary regionally across the United States. The hot dog's cultural traditions include the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and Wienermobile.

Claims about hot dog invention are difficult to assess, as stories assert the creation of the sausage, the
Grilled hot dogs
placing of the sausage (or another kind of sausage) on bread or a bun as finger food, the popularization of the existing dish, or the application of the name "hot dog" to a sausage and bun combination most commonly used with ketchup or mustard and sometimes relish.

The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages similar to hot dogs originated. These sausages, Frankfurter Würstchen, were known since the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King. Wiener refers to Vienna, Austria, whose German name is "Wien", home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef (cf. Hamburger, whose name also derives from a German-speaking city). Johann Georg Lahner, a 18th/19th century butcher from the Franconian city of Coburg, is said to have brought the Frankfurter Würstchen to Vienna, where he added beef to the mixture and simply called it Frankfurter. Nowadays, in German speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen (Würstchen means "little sausage"), in differentiation to the original pork only mixture from Frankfurt. In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.

Around 1870, on Coney Island, German immigrant Charles Feltman began selling sausages in rolls.

Others are credited with first serving hot dogs on rolls. A Bavarian immigrant named Feuchtwanger allegedly pioneered the practice in the American midwest; there are several versions of the story with varying details. According to one account, Antonoine Feuchtwanger's wife proposed the use of a bun in 1880: Feuchtwanger sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, and provided gloves to his customers so that they could handle the sausages without burning their hands. Losing money when customers did not return the gloves, Feuchtwanger's wife suggested serving the food in a roll instead. In another version, Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger served sausages in rolls at the World's Fair–either the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago or the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis–again allegedly because the white gloves provided to customers to protect their hands were being kept as souvenirs.

The association between hot dogs and baseball began as early as 1893 with Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who owned not only the St. Louis Browns, but also an amusement park.

Another claim of inventing the hot dog is told by Harry M. Stevens, an American sports concessionaire whose vendors sold German sausages and rolls to spectators at the old New York Polo Grounds during the winter. He called them "Dachshund sandwiches", but a New York Post cartoonist "couldn't spell dachshund, so when he drew the cartoon, he called them hot dogs."

In 1916, a Polish American employee of Feltman's named Nathan Handwerker was encouraged by Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, both working as waiters/musicians, to go into business in competition with his former employer. Handwerker undercut Feltman's by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.

At an earlier time in food regulation, when the hot dog was suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon's smocks were seen eating at Nathan's Famous to reassure potential customers.

A "home-cooked" hot dog 

Common hot dog ingredients include:

* Meat trimmings and fat
* Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
* Preservatives (cure) - typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite
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. Hot dogs often have high sodium, fat and nitrite content, ingredients linked to health problems. Changes in meat technology and dietary preferences have led manufacturers to use turkey, chicken, vegetarian meat substitutes, and to lower the salt content.

If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, "wieners" tend to contain pork and are blander, while "franks" tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned.

Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are "skinless" as opposed to more expensive "natural casing" hot dogs.

Commercial preparation:
Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are "skinless" as opposed to more expensive "natural casing" hot dogs.

Natural casing hot dogs:
As with most sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing to be cooked. Traditional casing is made from the small intestines of sheep. The products are known as "natural casing" hot dogs or frankfurters. These hot dogs have firmer texture and a "snap" that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten.

Kosher casings are expensive in commercial quantities in the US, so kosher hot dogs are usually skinless or made with reconstituted collagen casings.

Skinless hot dogs:
"Skinless" hot dogs must use a casing in the cooking process when the product is manufactured, but the casing is usually a long tube of thin cellulose that is removed between cooking and packaging. This process was invented in Chicago in 1925 by Erwin O. Freund, founder of Visking which would later become Viskase Companies.

The first skinless hot dog casings were produced by Freund's new company under the name "Nojax", short for "no jackets" and sold to local Chicago sausage makers.

Skinless hot dogs vary in the texture of the product surface but have a softer "bite" than natural casing hot dogs. Skinless hot dogs are more uniform in shape and size than natural casing hot dogs and less expensive.

Home cooking hot dogs:
Hot dogs are prepared and eaten in a variety of ways. The wieners may be boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, broiled, baked, or microwaved. The cooked wiener may be served on a bun (usually topped with condiments), or it may be used as an ingredient in another dish. Various models of hot dog toasters exist that cook the hot dog and buns by toasting.

In the US, "hot dog" may refer to just the sausage or to the combination of a sausage in a bun. Many
A Detroit Coney Island hot dog with chili, onion, and mustard
nicknames for hot dogs have popped up over the years. A hot dog can often be seen under the names of frankfurter, frank, red hot, wiener, weenie, durger, coney, or just "dog".

Hot dog restaurants
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 dogs are also common on restaurants' children's menus.

Hot dogs may be served plain, but are commonly served with a variety of condiments, including ketchup, mustard, chile con carne, pickle relish, sauerkraut, onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and chili peppers.

In 2005, the US-based National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (part of the American Meat Institute) found mustard to be the most popular condiment, with 32% of respondents preferring it; 23% of Americans said they preferred ketchup; chili con carne came in third at 17%, followed by relish at 9% and onions at 7%. Southerners showed the strongest preference for chili, while Midwesterners showed the greatest affinity for ketchup.

Condiments vary across the country. All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs are topped with mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions, sport peppers, bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt, but they exclude ketchup.

Many variations are named after regions other than the one in which they are popular. Italian hot dogs popular in New Jersey include peppers, onions, and potatoes. Meaty Michigan hot dogs are popular in upstate New York (as are white hots), while beefy Coney Island hot dogs are popular in Michigan. In New York City, conventional hot dogs are available on Coney Island, as are bagel dogs. Hot wieners, or weenies, are a staple in Rhode Island where they are sold at restaurants with the misleading name "New York System." Texas hot dogs are spicy variants found in upstate New York and Pennsylvania (and as "all the way dogs" in New Jersey), but not Texas.

Some baseball parks have signature hot dogs, such as Fenway Franks at Fenway Park in Boston and Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Fenway signature is that the hot dog is boiled and grilled, and then served on a New England-style bun, covered with ketchup and relish. Often during Red Sox games, vendors traverse the stadium selling the hot dogs plain, giving customers the choice of adding the condiments.

In Canada
Skinner's Restaurant, in Lockport, Manitoba is reputed to be Canada's oldest hot dog outlet in continuous operation, founded in 1929, by Jim Skinner Sr. Hotdogs served at Skinners are European style footlongs with natural casings, manufactured by Winnipeg Old Country Sausage in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Half Moon Drive In, also in Lockport, Manitoba and located directly across the river from Skinners, was established in 1938 by brothers Peter and Louie Kosowicz. The original drive in consisted of three wooden buildings shaped like semicircles—one was for takeout, one was for dine-in, and the third was a dance hall and later an arcade. The Half Moon also serves European-style wieners manufactured by Winnipeg Old Country Sausage. One of the most popular items is the Moon Dog, consisting of cheese, bacon, fried onions, pickles and mustard, and the Half Moon serves about 2000 on an average summer weekend day.

Hot dogs outside North America
For a list of international differences in hot dogs, see Hot dog variations.
In most of the world, "hot dog" is recognized as a sausage in a bun, but the type varies considerably. The name is applied to something that would not be described as a hot dog in North America. For example, in New Zealand, it refers to a battered sausage, often on a stick (which is known as a corn dog in North America), and the version in a bun is called an "American hot dog".

The world's longest hot dog created was 197 ft, which rested within a 198 ft bun. The hot dog was
The world's longest hot dog, at 197 feet
prepared by Shizuoka Meat Producers for the All-Japan Bread Association, which baked the bun and coordinated the event, including official measurement for the world record. The hot dog and bun were the center of a media event in celebration of the Association's 50th anniversary on August 4, 2006, at the Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.

A hot dog prepared by head chef Joe Calderone in Manhattan sold for $69 during the National Hot Dog Day in 2010, making it the most expensive hot dog sold at the time. The hot dog was topped with truffle oil, duck foie gras, and truffle butter.

On May 31, 2012, Guinness World Records certified the world record for most expensive hot dog at $145.49. The “California Capitol City Dawg”, served at Capitol Dawg in Sacramento, California, features a grilled 18 in all-beef in natural casing frank from Chicago, served on a fresh baked herb and oil focaccia roll, spread with white truffle butter, then grilled. The record breaking hot dog is topped with a whole grain mustard from France, garlic & herb mayonnaise, sauteed chopped shallots, organic mixed baby greens, maple syrup marinated/fruitwood smoked uncured bacon from New Hampshire, chopped tomato, expensive moose cheese from Sweden, sweetened dried cranberries, basil olive oil/pear-cranberry-coconut balsamic vinaigrette, and ground peppercorn. Proceeds from the sale of each 3 lb super dog are donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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